Telecom department mulls plan to reduce litigations with telcos

The telecom department plans include unifying levies, settling some cases and being lenient on minor infringements, in order to reduce disputes.

With as much as Rs 80,000 crore stuck in litigation, the telecom department mulls framing plans, so that disputes with operators are minimised, said people with knowledge of the matter told ET.
 
These litigations have been a cause of delay in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and also deterring overseas investors to invest in telcos. 
 
The telecom department plans include unifying levies, settling some cases and being lenient on minor infringements, in order to reduce disputes.
 
The government officials told ET that the proposal will be sent to the law ministry for approval, after which the communications ministry will take a final call. 
 
“We do not want the government to lose out on dues that the operators owe us,” an official was quoted as saying.
 
“The telcos have a different point of view and this has led to a large amount of Rs 75,000 crore - Rs 80,000 crore, including penalties and interest, that’s stuck in legal battles.”
 
The Department of Telecom is likely to integrate telecom levies into one charge, in sync with goods and services tax (GST).
 
Most of the disputes relate to multiple levies under different heads such as licence fees, spectrum usage charges (SUC) and one-time spectrum fee (OTSC). 
 
Source: ET

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