Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) just had a round table on ease of doing business in telecom sector in the country. The association raised concerns over high levies and low return for telcos, reports ET Telecom.

In the discussion, telecom startups in the country also voiced their opinion and raised their issue before government representative demanding that they should be given opportunity to participate in public projects.

Telecom startups said that government needs to provide them a level playing field in public projects and lower levies for 'ease of doing business'.

They also sought permits in a time-bound manner, COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told reporters after the round table.

"They said that tender conditions ask for high turnover and experience which they are unable to meet," he added.

The COAI Director General said that startups also demanded that low cost finance be made available to them and the government help to ease financial compliance rules.

Besides, established players like Vodafone also raised concerns over high levies and low return for telcos.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Ramesh Abhishek represented the government at the meeting that was co-hosted by Invest India and India Mobile Congress.

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The COIA director general, Mathews, further said, "The draft of National Digital Communications Policy 2018 proposes to address most of the telecom operators issue to achieve US $100 billion investment but operators want to know by when will it be implemented."

Telecom secretary Sundararajan assured the telecom association that the issues of telecom sector will be addressed in time bound manner by 2022 as mentioned in the draft.

While, DIPP secretary said that the government is now strictly looking to push Indian companies under 'Make in India', 'Start-up India' and taking action on tenders that are leaving them unnoticed.

Both the secretaries said that all the issues that have been raised by companies will be looked at.

Constituted in 1995, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), is an industry association of mobile service providers, telecom equipment, internet and broadband services providers in India. Internet giant Facebook became an associate member of COAI, in August 2014.

Notably, draft policy branded as National Digital Communications Policy 2018 was unveiled by the government on 1st May. The draft policy, which is likely to launched next month, aims to attract $100 billion or about Rs 6.5 lakh crore investments in the digital communications sector by 2022 with the help of reforms.

Besides telecommunication, the new yet-to-be-launched telecom policy has tried to cover areas such as Internet of Things, M2M, Cloud Computing, 5G and electronics manufacturing. Not only that, the National Telecom Policy 2018 also includes guidelines for IPR, artificial intelligence, foreign investments, job creation and cyber and digital security.

Last September, the then Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha revealed that the National Telecom Policy 2018 is expected to provide affordable internet access to 1.3 billion Indians, which is precisely India’s total population.

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