New Delhi: Industry body COAI has written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking urgent relief measures, including lowering of levies with immediate effect, for the telecom operators on account of the "adverse impact" of COVID-19.
The industry association said that despite the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus pandemic across the country, operators are playing a "critical role" in addressing the challenges faced by individuals, corporates, governance services, emergency and utility services.
COAI asserted that ensuring continuity of these services is of utmost importance in these challenging times.
In a letter dated March 28 to the finance minister, the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) made a plea for rationalisation of "high burden of the regulatory levies" on the telecom service providers with immediate effect.
The industry body whose members include Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea has sought cut in spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) by 3 per cent for all the operators. It further said licence fee contribution (USOF contribution) should be immediately brought down to 3 per cent from 8 per cent.
It also urged the government to exempt the levy of GST on licence fees, Spectrum Usage Charges and payment of spectrum acquired in auctions.
"Considering the sensitivity of this matter, we are hopeful that our submissions will merit your consideration and urgent support," COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said in the letter.
COAI said there has been a "severe disruptive impact" on the global supply chain, demand and supply elements as well as cash flows of the companies due to the slowing economic activities....