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Telecom industry looking for GST relaxations CapEx incentives in budget 2023

The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the annual budget for 2023 on 1 February and the telecom industry, riding high on the 5Gwave, is looking forward for some GST relaxations to the industry and other digital technology service providers. The telecom sector is one of the key sectors in development of any nation and plays a crucial role in implementation of key development schemes.

With the double down of 5G services implemented recently by the centre and the ongoing rivalry between the significant telecom operators like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, India is expecting to experience an unprecedented usher of the next digital revolution with the aim to accelerate their daily life chores digitally.

The industry players say that the sector is all set to cross the 10 lakh crore milestone in 2023. Sudhir Kunder, Country Director, DE-CIX India says that 2023 is a significant year for the sector, as it is on track to surpass the 10 lakh crores milestone.

Kunder emphasised on providing CapEx Incentives to the industry and using NextGen evolving technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning (ML). “Incentives for private firms to grow into urban and rural regions can also be beneficial,” he added.

He further said, “the Union government should initiate a comprehensive policy that assists in the integration of public and private fibre infrastructure into a single integrated service offering, allowing for faster serviceable area expansion and coverage.”

Angira Agrawal, Global SVP (GTM & Strategy), Exotel appreciated the government for the launching the 5G services, though, she added, “for the telco industries (and their consumers) to experience the real power of high-quality networks, there is a need of an equitably and competitive telco industry. Telco players need the ability to continually invest in expanding their networks, delivering quality that meets user needs, and enhancing user experience.”

Insisting telecom industry as a Capex intensive industry, Agrawal said that it is probably the highest taxed industry sector in India and the centre should evaluate how they support and enable the telco industry to deliver on this promise of a “Digital India”.

“They should not view the industry as a cash cow, but actively partner with them. This means looking at the levies in various forms, providing license fee cuts and input tax credit, and other active measures to encourage this. In addition, the government has a tough line to tread, by evaluating how they also support newer technologies in the VOIP and Satellite spaces,” she added.

Sanjeev Chhabra, MD & CEO Beetel hopes that the budget for 2023 will continue to prioritise the needs of the telecom industry and provide the necessary support and incentives for developing telecommunication infrastructure in India.

Chhabra also mentioned how the telecom industry is linked with other sectors and why investing in telecom infrastructure is crucial for the growth and advancement of any sector. “Last year, the government recognised the importance of reliable and sustainable power sources by allocating an additional 19,500 crores for the solar PLI scheme. However, with the rollout of 5G networks, the trend of solarising telecom towers is gaining momentum,” he said. BusinessWorld

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