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Concerns of telecom sector not addressed in Budget: COAI

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) The Budget proposals fell short of fulfilling the telecom sector’s expectations of a reduction in the burden of levies and some Goods and Services Tax (GST) relief, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has said.

“We are a bit disappointed that concerns of the telecom sector, which is the backbone of digital India, remained unaddressed,” S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI, said in a statement.

“We were expecting a reduction in the burden of levies, such as LF (Licence Fees) and SUC (spectrum usage charges) on the telecom sector.”

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The comments come ahead of the next round of spectrum auctions from March 1.

“The government has also not considered the request of the industry to exempt the GST from the payment of govt levies such as LF, SUC and spectrum instalments, etc.,” Kochhar said.

“As the telecom operators are going to launch 5G services in the country, it is imperative that 5G enabled telecom equipment is available to them at a reasonable price,” he said.

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget in Parliament on Monday.

Wile 5G roll out is now a priority for the government, the financial strength of most Indian telecom service providers to invest in the new ecosystem is a matter of concern.

“There was the need for a reduction in customs duties on telecom equipment. It would have been a much awaited relief if the government provided the right incentives to the sector,” Kochhar said.

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–IANS

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