‘Ambiguity in policy to be blamed for SC order on AGR’

Policymakers are to be blamed for the Supreme Court’s order on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and they have to step in now to correct the situation, according to T.V. Ramachandran, president, Broadband India Forum.

Last week, the Supreme Court had upheld the government’s broader definition of revenue on which it calculated levies on telecom operators, resulting in a ₹92,000-crore blow to the industry.

“[The] Supreme Court has gone by the rule of law. In my opinion, it has looked at the contract, words of the contract and said ‘okay’; strictly speaking, as per the definition of AGR given by Department of Telecommunications (DoT), they are right and operators are wrong,” Mr. Ramachandran said.

“There is ambiguity in the policy which was written. Even government bodies like BSNL, MTNL are affected along with the private operators. [Reliance] Jio is not affected, since it happened prior to 2016. So, 100% of [the] industry is affected,” he pointed out.

Mr. Ramachandran said the government has to step in to correct the situation.

He also said that the verdict was one more challenge with regards to the implementation of 5G. However, Mr. Ramachandran said, the 5G trials must get going.

He would not agree with the view that the technology would be stalled due to the Supreme Court verdict.

“I am not saying that we have to make massive investments right now. You must make suitable investment to facilitate the trials. Otherwise, we will lose further time,” he said.

Mr. Ramachandran also urged the government to start work on 6G, into which countries such as China, Korea and Finland have already started research.

“Don’t worry about 5G. We will do thorough trials and make a good entry into 5G. If you don’t start on 6G now, you cannot influence the standards. If you don’t influence the standards, you have no play in the manufacturing, when the 6G manufacturing starts,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 4:07:08 PM |

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