Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh D Ambani on Wednesday said the latest reforms and relief measures will enable the telecom sector to achieve goals set under the Digital India mission.
The Cabinet has announced several reforms for the telecom sector, including redefining adjusted gross revenue (AGR) that will now include revenues earned only from telecom services. The government calculates various levies on AGR.
"The telecom sector is one of the prime movers of the economy and the key enabler for making India a Digital Society, I welcome the Government of India's announcement of reforms and relief measures that will enable the industry to achieve the goals of Digital India. I thank Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) for this bold initiative," Ambani said.
RIL's telecom arm Jio said the government's telecom sector reforms will encourage it to bring newer and greater benefits to the customers.
Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that as part of the reforms in the telecom sector, the Cabinet has allowed a four-year moratorium on all dues that telecom operators have to pay to the government, including annual payments of dues arising out of the AGR judgment and spectrum purchased in past auctions excluding the March 2021 auction.
The government has given the option to telecom operators to pay the interest amount arising due to deferment of payment by way of equity.
The minister said 100 per cent FDI (foreign direct investment) in telecom via the automatic route was approved by the Cabinet.
Earlier, automatic investment routes were limited to 49 per cent level and approval from concerned authorities was required for foreign investment beyond the 49 per cent level.
The Cabinet has approved the allocation of spectrum through an auction for a period of 30 years compared to the 20-year period prevalent at present.
Telecom operators will also be allowed to surrender spectrum that will be acquired in future auctions after 10 years of the lock-in period.
There will be no spectrum usage charges levied for spectrum acquired in future auctions.
"We look forward to working with the Government of India and other industry players in reaching all the goals and milestones of the Digital India vision, so that we can collectively make every sector of the economy productive and enhance the ease of living for every Indian," Jio said.
Photograph: PTI Photo