Budget 2019: Telecom industry missed out in the Budget, COAI hopes sector will be included in post Budget review
DG, COAI, said stressed that the sector has been “significant engine for GDP growth, rural inclusion, women empowerment and affordable communication services and ubiquitous connectivity”.
“…the industry hoped the Union Budget would provide relief from the high taxes and fee on the industry. Given the importance of the industry in driving inclusive growth, we remain optimistic the government will provide the much needed financial relief and impetus to the industry in post budget review,” said Rajan S Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)-which represents the three private operators-Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio.
The director general stressed that the sector has been “significant engine for GDP growth, rural inclusion, women empowerment and affordable communication services and ubiquitous connectivity”.
The industry may be especially disappointed since few days ago Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had sought a relief package for the industry under a debt of Rs 7 lakh crore via reduction in license fees and other measures. The minister asked for an immediate refund of Rs 30,000 crore blocked and delayed GST input credits owed to the mobile operators by the government.
“We laud the government for a progressive and forward looking budget that has provided the building blocks for a $5 trillion economy,” added Mathews. Besides highlighting reforms in other areas, Mathews lauded the government that its budget focused on evolving technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Robotics etc and acknowledged their critical role in the Indian economy in the coming years. “We are hopeful that the government will also roll out specific measures to harness these technologies of the future so that digital India reaches every segment of the economy,” he said.
The government expects a 28% increase in non-auction revenue at Rs 50,519.8 crore in the fiscal year 2019-20 from the telecom sector against the revenue of Rs 39,245 crore earned for the current fiscal year ended March 31, according to budget documents.
The government earns revenue in the form of mainly licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC) from telecom operators, which is calculated based on the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of telcos.