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Telecom gear makers expect govt to clear BSNL, MTNL dues

New Delhi, May 16 (PTI) Domestic telecom gear makers expect the government to clear their dues pending with state-owned telecom firms and come out with provisions to push home grown equipment in the networks, industry body TEMA said in a statement on Saturday.

Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association - which represents indigenous companies like Vihaan Networks, and Tejas Networks, among others - also requested for clarity on the government push for procurement from domestic vendors through public tender of up to Rs 200 crore.

TEMA Chairman Emeritus NK Goyal said that it is beyond doubt that the COVID days have shown that the telecom sector has been at forefront for providing connectivity to all citizens in India.

The chairman expects that the next package from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may come for the telecom, electronics, and ICT sectors.

'This sector is looking forward for package tomorrow in terms of specific enforcement of indigenously designed development and manufactured equipment, keeping in view of 'Atma Nirbhar Bharat' mission of our Hon'ble PM,' Goyal said.

The association expects the government to act for clearing about Rs 20,000 vendor dues pending with BSNL and MTNL as well as other telecom public sector firms.

'Another issue facing the telecom, ICT sector is large amounts of pending payments from BSNL,MTNL and other telecom PSUs and we hope that soon there will be policy guidelines for release of all pending payments,' Goyal said.

The body suggested that the telecom sector also looks forward for some relief to telecom service providers in terms of adjusted gross revenue, spectrum charges, licence and other fees and incentives to private operators that can be used for procurement of indigenously designed developed and manufactured telecom equipment.

'Lastly, while we talk of latest technologies of 4G,5G or may be 6G, but let us also appreciate that substantial part of our India specially in hills, NE, LWE, Aspirational Districts, rural areas etc. still remains uncovered and we hope at least 2G for them urgently,' Goyal said.

TEMA lauded the government decision to increase FDI in defence sector from 49 to 74 per cent and other reforms announced for Make-in-India for the sector, and level playing field for private companies in satellite launches, space-based services and use of ISRO facilities to the private sector.

Indian space startup Pixxel said the government announcement to open up the space sector for private industry can go a long way in saving unnecessary costs and making the industry more competitive.

'This will also mean that a lot of space grade material manufacturing processes, that are not in the country right now such as multilayer thermal insulations, solar panels and batteries that were majorly procured from abroad will now see localisation due to the emergence of more domestic space firms,' Pixxel founder and CEO Awais Ahmed said.

He said that the announcement on future projects for planetary exploration is very important towards building India's very own Maxars, SpaceXs and Rocket Labs.

'On the whole, today's announcement is a great first step that needs to be followed up by an independent regulatory authority executing on the vision and making sure these landmark announcements are realised,' Ahmed said. PTI PRS BAL BAL