Polit Bureau Statement of March 28, 1999 On Telecom Policy of Govt of India

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns the measures initiated by the BJP-led Central government with respect to the telecom sector of the country.

The new telecom policy and the meek acceptance of the thrust of the tariff proposals of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) by the Central government sounds an ominous signal for the telecom sector in the country and constitute a huge bonanza for the private corporates both domestic and foreign.

The new tariffs which has been notified by the TRAI and subsequently accepted by the government will put heavy burdens on the majority of urban and rural telephone users and signals a shift away from the principle of cross subsidisation which has marked the tariff regimes in the development phase of the telecom networks, the world over. The proposals are in direct opposition to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications. The new measures will also lead to a weakening and eventual sickness of the DoT. The DoT will surely suffer major revenue losses and these steps will put the entire Ninth Plan projections for telecom sector expansion into disarray. The events of the last few days show once again that the decisions of the present government are vulnerable to corporate pressures.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M), therefore, urges the Central government to put a stop to these new measures and urges upon the people to oppose and protest these decisions.