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Telecom Commission seeks clarification of IMG recommendations

The Telecom Commission on Friday sought clarification and more details on the recommendations of the inter-ministerial group (IMG) on deferred spectrum payment liability as well as shifting from pending lending rate (PLR) to marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) regime for calculation of interest on delayed payment of licence fees and spectrum usage changes, according to official sources.

The task of the IMG was to examine systemic issues affecting viability and repayment capacity in the telecom sector and furnish recommendations for resolution of stressed assets.

According to a source, the Telecom Commission would meet in another fortnight and the clarifications would be tabled during that meeting.

Broadly, the panel has given in-principle approval for all the recommendations given by the IMG.

Apart from the IMG report, the commission on Friday took up four oher items — implementation of Bharat Net Phase II, mobile services in the north-east India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations on free data, and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Telecom Skill Award.

“Six states — Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh — would take up state-led model of Bharat Net. They had submitted detailed project reports earlier, which were approved,” the source said.

The total cost of Bharat Net Phase II is Rs 18,792 crore. The cost of implementing it in six states would be around Rs 7,000 crore.

For mobile towers’ coverage of uncovered areas under the Universal Service Obligation Fund, around 4,177 towers will be installed for covering 4,502 villages at a cost of Rs 3,100 crore. After this project, only two states will remain uncovered under this project — Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

Regarding the TRAI’s recommendations regarding data usage made in Decemebr 2016, the Telecom Commission has decided to refer it back to the TRAI, according to the source.

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