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COAI seeks relief from the government

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has once again, on June 26 written to Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman seeking relief measures for the industry.

It has requested immediate refund of the unutilised input tax credit. COAI also said that if not the refund, the government should provide soft loan at MCLR rate to the companies, using the GST input credit as collateral.

“Given the adverse impact on the economy and operations of the digital communications industry due to Covid-19, we request that soft loans at a marginal cost lending rate (MCLR) be given to telecom companies using GST input credits as collateral and that the high burden of regulatory levies also be rationalised by reducing licence fee and SUC payouts immediately. Licence fee contribution should be immediately brought down from 8 per cent to 3 per cent. The effective rate of the SUC should be reduced by 3 per cent for all the TSPs,” wrote Rajan Mathews, director general, COAI.

The industry body has also sought exemption of the levy of GST on license fees, spectrum usage charges and payment of spectrum acquired in auctions.

“Exempt service tax on amount of LF/SUC payable by telecom operators in compliance with Supreme Court order,” it added.

COAI highlighted that it represents all leading telecom service providers, network equipment manufacturers, e-commerce, digital content providers, infrastructure providers and technology partners. All leading players in these sectors, including Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, Nokia, Ericsson, Sterlite, Indus, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Amazon, are members of COAI.

Earlier in March also, the association had written to the ministry seeking the relaxations.

-CT Bureau

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