After implementation of the neo-liberal policy and reforms for more than two decades, a situation has come that the corporates are in a commanding position to place demands to the government and get most of them achieved within no time. In the telecom sector, this is more so.
The COAI, the Association of GSM operators, have put its demand that the FDI in telecom sector should be increased from the present 74% to 100% to get more foreign investments. Within no time, the Department of Disinvestment, Finance Minister, Commerce Minister, Communications Minister – all have echoed that the FDI should be increased to 100%. Department of Disinvestment has even prepared a Cabinet Note and circulated to the concerned ministries for approval before submitting to Cabinet. How quick the mechanism works when it is the demand of the corporates?
Another demand put by the GSM body is that the tax dispute of Vodafone should be settled. Of course, Finance minister P.Chidambaram has already announced that instead of compelling the Vodafone to pay the due tax to the government, a conciliation process will be started. It means that the government has already taken the soft line that the Vodafone need not pay fully. To what extent relaxation can be given and tax reduced is the only point to be known.
The government / TRAI wanted that the roaming charges should be waived altogether to get benefit to the customers. The private operators protested. Now the TRAI has agreed that roaming charges will continue of course with 30% reduction.
COAI has argued that it is not possible to agree with the government decision to provide location-based services in all geographies and also maintaining CDRs for all subscribers. There is no doubt that this may also be agreed to by the Government. Now a position has reached that the corporates demand and the government willingly succumbs, even if it is against the financial interest of the government.
But what about the demands being raised by the workers? It is even difficult to meet the Minister or higher officers. It requires months for any discussion and sometimes strike for an effective decision.
Of course what the higher ups will get from the workers except sincere and dedicated work! They very well know that the workers have no role in the ‘three times increase’ of their wealth.