It has become a routine for the private telecom companies to continuously violate rules, regulations and licence conditions to garner big profits. From the latter part of the 1990, when the private companies have been allowed to provide telecom services, these violations also started. This is despite the large concessions and benefits allowed to them by the government, to increase the teledensity in the country.
But even after these violations are exposed, the government machinery moves very slowly resulting in either that necessary actions are not followed to penalise them or they are taken very late and the offenders go scot free.
The latest example is the case of Airtel whic has cheated the government from paying the comparatively higher taxes for roaming and STD/SLD calls by converting them as local calls and paying the lower taxes. This relates to the period 2003 to 2005 with regard to 13 circles. Though the cheating was found out and notice issued, nothing was done.
At last now, the DOT is proposing a penalty of Rs. 650 crore to be paid by the Airtel. But whether it will be approved by the government / Minister is one question. There is no doubt that Airtel may approach court. Again the decision will not be implemented. And at last some understanding will be reached by reducing the penalty.Vodafone ( Hutch period) also is involved in similar cheating.
Another example is the Income Tax of Rs.14,000 crore to be paid by Vodafone. it is pending for many years. The government earlier stated that they will take a tough stand. But now, the same government is in a move to reach a consensus, which will mean, reducing the tax amount substantially and help the company.
These vacillations of the government are not a coincidence. In fact, it is part of the neo-liberal policy being persued by it. These wrong policies should be thoroughly exposed and defeated.