Editorial

Telecom deserves to shed legacy shackles

The government’s decision to give telecom operators (telcos) 16 years, as compared to the current 12, including a moratorium(रोक/प्रतिबंध) of two years, to pay the price they bid(आज्ञा देना/कहना) to secure spectrum(विस्तार/वर्णक्रम)assignments is welcome. So is the relaxation in how much of spectrum (35%, rather than 25% as of now), one operator can hold.All major operators — Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea Cellular — are expected to gain. However, these changes still fall The government’s decision to give telecom operators (telcos) 16 years, as compared to the current 12, including a moratorium
of two years, to pay the price they bid to secure spectrum assignments is welcome.So is the relaxation in how much of spectrum (35%, rather(अपेक्षा) than 25% as of now), one operator can hold. All major operators — Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea Cellular— are expected to gain. However, these changes still fall short of the rational(तर्कसंगत /समझदार) reduction(कमी/घटौती) in the government’s take from telecom, by bringing down steep, legacy(वसीयत सम्पदा/उत्तरदान) fees and multiple levies(वसूल करना/आरोपित राशि), that the sector needs.
The government has also done away with the cap of 50% on spectrum in any one band, and brought in a new cap of 50% for sub-1 MHz bands.These would facilitate mergers(मिलावट) while guarding against over concentration in the ownership of prime spectrum. Overall, these measures will ease the cash flow for operators and help consolidation(एकत्रीकरण/चकबंदी) of the sector through mergers and acquisitions(लाभ/प्रप्ति). The fact remains that unlike, say, a manufacturing or refining company, a telecom does not just pay tax on profits — it parts with steep revenue shares as licence fees and spectrum usage charges.This is a legacy from the time when telecom licences were issued with bundled chunks(हिस्सा/टुकड़ा) of spectrum for which no separate, upfront payments were made. After the government started auctioning the spectrum and separated(अलग/विभक्त किया हुआ) licences from spectrum, there is no rationale(तर्क/औचित्य) whatsoever for continuing with these steep levies. These should be scrapped, or lowered to a level that would cover expenses of the regulator.From the spread(वृद्धि/विस्तार) of low-cost voice and data networks, new economic activity and jobs spring up, generating jobs, income and taxes. See telecom as an enabler of growth that should flourish(विकास/सफल होना) rather than as a target for maximum milching.

Important Vocabulary
1.Bid(आज्ञा देना)
Synonyms: advance, offer, price, proposal, request
Antonyms: withdrawal, denial, refusal
2.Rational(तर्कसंगत
Synonyms: analytical, balanced, deliberate, enlightened, impartial
Antonyms: careless, confused, foolish, idiotic, logical
3.Levies(वसूल करना)
Synonyms:burden, duty, excise, fee, tariff
4.Acquisitions(लाभ/प्रप्ति)
Synonyms: addition, gain, procurement, purchase, recovery
Antonyms: loss, failure, forfeit, surrender, dearth
5.Chunks(हिस्सा)
Synonyms: block, dollop, hunk, lump, piece
Antonyms: whole
6.Flourish(विकास/सफल होना)
Synonyms: embellishment, ornamentation, quirk, twist, curl
7.Spread(वृद्धि
Synonyms: advance, advancement, dissemination, escalation, increase
Antonyms: halt, stop, abridgment, compression, decrease

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