Fee and penalty alleviation in draught legislation

The proposed telecom bill would give stressed telecom operators a leg up on their responsibilities . The Centre would be able to waive various fees, even indefinitely .

The proposed telecom bill would give stressed telecom operators a leg up on their responsibilities, by providing the Centre with the ability to waive various fees, even indefinitely, in order to protect the interests of consumers, ensuring competition, availability, and continued provision of telecommunication services, or the availability of telecommunication network or telecommunication infrastructure, or any other circumstance of public interest or national security.If the facts are correct, the draft bill states that any fee, including entry, license, registration, or any other fee or charges, interest, additional fees, or penalties levied by a licensee, registered entity, assignee, or a group thereof, may be waived in part or complete.The proposed bill, which is intended to replace the ancient Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, also promises unprecedented support to struggling businesses who are facing difficult times due to exceptional factors, such as financial challenges, consumer preference, maintaining market share, or continuing provision of telecommunication services.The proposed legislation has been released for public inspection.

According to the proposed legislation, the failing business may still be allowed to operate if it continues to provide telecommunication services or operate the telecommunication network or utilise the assigned spectrum, or if it does not default in the payment of any licence or assignment fees, charges, or other amounts payable.If the insolvent entity fails to meet the terms, the spectrum assigned to it will be reverted to the government, which may choose to allow it to continue to use the spectrum, as long as the money is placed in a separate designated account, with the licence fee and fees applicable being paid first in priority during the period.