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BIF welcomes TRAI recommendations on telecom equipment manufacturing

The Broadband India Forum (BIF) has welcomed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) Recommendations for the Promotion of Networking and Telecom Equipment Manufacturing (NATEM). In a statement, the BIF said these recommendations were made after a comprehensive assessment of India’s potential in the Telecom Equipment Manufacturing sector and propose to transition the country from a high import-dependent state to a global manufacturing hub.

BIF President TV Ramachandran highlighted specific recommendations, including the revision of the PMA-PMI Policy Guidelines to align them with market realities, the introduction of additional financial and fiscal incentives, and the simplification of procedures. He also mentioned the potential applicability of some provisions to the Satcom industry.
“TRAI must be lauded for the measures that they have recommended to make India a Global Manufacturing Hub with a focus on exports besides local manufacturing of Networking and Telecom equipment,” he said.

Key features of TRAI’s Recommendations:
1. Expansion of Coverage: The inclusion of VSAT Terminals and IoT devices under NATEM Policies and benefits.

2. Funding Support: A proposal for a new NATEDF fund, akin to the MeitY-led EDF, to facilitate Project and Contract Financing for domestic manufacturing beyond the existing Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme.

3. Telecom Equipment Development: A recommendation for establishing a Telecom Equipment Development Board (TEDB) under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). TEDB’s role would involve expediting decisions related to incentives for the design, development, and manufacturing of telecommunication equipment, as well as promoting innovation, research and development, testing certification, and manufacturing in the telecom sector.

4. Financial Scheme: The suggestion of a financial scheme similar to the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) to partially fund the capital expenses of NATEM manufacturing facilities.

5. Initial Capex Support: Financial support for capital expenditures during the initial five years, up to 25 percent of the installed capacity.

6. Tax Relief: Tax relief for companies driven by intellectual property rights (IPR).

7. Startup Ecosystem: Funding support for fostering the startup ecosystem.

8. Standardisation Efforts: Financial support for standardisation-related work for startups and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) participating in international Standards Setting Organisations (SSOs).

9. Skill Development: Initiatives for creating awareness and promoting skill development at the graduation level, jointly undertaken by DoT, Telecom Centres of Excellence (TCOEs), and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

10. Lowered Investment Thresholds: Reduced investment thresholds (Rs. 10 crore) for medium-sized enterprises in the telecom sector.

11. LSP Incentives: Annual Ap-GR reduction for Licensed Service Providers (LSPs) using NATEM.

12. Complaint Handling: The establishment of an online portal for the efficient receipt, handling, and resolution of complaints.

13. Cluster Support: Incentive structures to encourage Telecom Product Development Clusters (TPDCs).

14. Export Promotion: Special benefits for exporters of indigenous equipment.

The Broadband India Forum (BIF) operates as an independent policy forum and knowledge-based think-tank dedicated to advancing the broadband ecosystem in India. CNBC TV18

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