The government is in an advanced stage of finalising the draft national telecom policy (NTP) 2018, following which it will be put before the public for comments, likely in a week’s time.
Moneycontrol reported that at the Annual General Meeting of US industry body Amcham, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan informed that the direction of the new policy, which is likely to be early as on May 1, will be reform-oriented.
She further said that it will be investor friendly and bring down the cost of compliances and that the proposed NTP 2018 will be placed for public comments for 15-20 days.
After the public comments, the Department of Telecom (DoT) will start inter-ministerial consultation on the policy and thereafter approach the Cabinet for final approval, she said.
The NTP 2018 is expected to present a growth road map of the Indian telecom sector, which is reeling under debt of around Rs 7.8 lakh crore, for a period of next five years. Telecom operators have demanded that the government lower spectrum usage charges, licence fees and other levies on the sector to make business viable.
Indian Express reported that the government’s view is that while the telecom sector has played a commending role in connecting over a billion people and making available basic services like digital payments, NTP 2018 should play a key role in expanding these efforts beyond cities to over 6 lakh villages, while at the same time ensuring that they are within reach of the common man.
Trai has already given its recommendations to the DoT on the policy, emphasising that the present method of calculating licence fee (LF) and spectrum usage charge (SUC) is around 20 years old. It has suggested review and rationalisation of both these levies.