At the time of corporatisation, Govt. assured that BSNL will have to pay Licence Fee, but the same will be reimbursed to the latter. What was the basis on which this reimbursement was decided by the government?
As per procedure, it may be necessary that Licence should be taken for providing the telecom services, after private companies also were allowed to provide services. As long as Govt. /DOT alone was the telecom service provider, it was not necessary. The licence is intended to regulate and control the services by the private operators, since the government has its mechanism for its departments.
But why the government takes Licence Fee from its own companies? BSNL is not working to amass wealth or maximise profit, but is functioning for implementing the policy decisions of the government in the telecom sector for universal service as also for security of the country and its people. How can such a PSU be equated with the private telecom companies whose main aim is to increase their profit, evade the taxes as much as possible and even cheat the government and also public through fraudulent methods. A large number of cases have already been exposed. Whether it is non-payment of huge income tax by Vodafone, cheating in providing roaming services without licence for the particular circle or providing SLD / ISD services by the Reliance, Idea and Airtel or cheating by converting the SED/ISD/STD calls in to local calls for avoiding higher taxes – it has been a continued process of avoiding tax and licence fee. Whether one such instance can be shown on the part of BSNL or for that matter MTNL, the two government companies?
Due to certain policy decisions, these PSUs have been formed. If they had continued as government services, there would not have any necessity to pay the Licence Fee. The correct policy should be that the government telecom company need not pay Licence Fee, tax etc. When there is profit, dividend can be paid and for the first six-seven years when there was profit, the dividend and taxes have also been paid.
BSNL is in loss now for the last four years. It was the cancellation of the mobile equipment and non-procurement of other equipment also that was the main reason for the present situation.
Taking all the above issues in to consideration, no Licence Fee should be charged from the BSNL and MTNL, at least till the present crisis is over. The government can stop the system of Licence Fee for BSNL and MTNL or at least waive the same till the financial crisis is over.
The Forum of BSNL Unions / Associations have demanded the cancellation of Licence Fee for BSNL and it wants the GoM of Revival of BSNL to take the positive decision in this matter.