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Union Cabinet approves nine structural reforms, five process reforms in telecom sector

NEW DELHI: Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved nine structural reforms and five process reforms in the telecom sector.

Briefing media about the reforms, Union Minister for Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw said these reforms will change the framework of the entire telecom sector. "They will deepen and broaden the industry," he said.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a bold decision over AGR (adjusted gross revenue) today. A decision has been taken to rationalise the definition of AGR. All non-telecom revenue will be taken out of AGR," the minister informed.

He further informed the cabinet meeting, it was decided that penalty on payment of licence fees, spectrum user charges and all kinds of charges have been completely scrapped.

"There was a regime of heavy interest, penalty and interest on penalty on payment of licence fees, spectrum user charges and all kinds of charges. It has been rationalised today. Annual compounding (of interest) will be done instead of monthly compounding," said the minister.

"A reasonable interest rate of Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) plus 2 per cent interest rate has been offered and the penalty has been completely scrapped," he added.

Vaishnaw said the move will pave way for large-scale investments in the telecom sector.

"Investment means employment - more the investment, more the employment," he stated.

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