Overall there were no major announcements in the Union Budget for the telecom sector apart from the proposed allocation of 100 billion for BharatNet Project. The budgetary allocation toward the sector has increased by around 45 percent. Further, with the spectrum scarcity removed, mobile broadband and Digital India will receive a major fillip.

Specifically:

  • lThe budgetary allocation to the department of telecommunications (DoT) has been increased to 26,690 crore in 2017-18 from 18,410 crore in 2016-17.
  • lThe government has proposed an allocation of 10,000 crore for BharatNet Project in 2017-18. By April 2018, high-speed broadband connectivity on optical fiber will be available in more than 150,000 gram panchayats, with Wi-Fi hot spots and access to digital services at low tariffs. A DigiGaon initiative will be launched to provide telemedicine, education, and skills through digital technology.
  • lExemption from basic customs duty available on co-polymer-coated MS tapes/stainless steel tapes for manufacture of specified telecommunication-grade optical fiber or optical fiber cables is withdrawn – now to be levied at the rate of 10 percent.

 

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