Letters to the editor dated September 2, 2020

Apropos the editorial ‘Lifeline to telcos’ (September 2). The apex court verdict should put to rest the long-drawn dispute between the Department of Telecommunications and the telecom companies. The court has directed the latter to pay up 10 per cent of the adjusted gross revenues by March 31, 2021, followed by the balance amount due to the DoT in 10 annual installments, until March 2031.

The dispute was over the very definition of AGR. To help the companies tide over the problem of ‘the huge fixed license fee and the spectrum usage charges’, the government gave them the option of a ‘revenue sharing model’, whereby they were required to share a percentage of their AGR with the DoT. While the DoT’s interpretation included AGR in all revenues before discounts from both telecom and non-telecom services, the telecom companies insisted that it should only comprise revenue from core services, excluding other income like dividend, interest income and profit/loss on sale of assets/investments. However, with the dispute being sub-judice since 2003, it is not clear why the telcos did not make adequate annual provisions in their books on the contingent liability. In financial disputes, companies should follow prudent accounting practices, while remaining optimistic of a favorable outcome.


This is with reference to ‘Some gaps in the Sterlite judgment’ (September 2). Even assuming that the Sterlite copper smelter plant was guilty of environmental violations, shouldn’t the quantum of punishment to the defaulter be bound to its adverse impact on the non-defaulters and future prospects?

The closure of the plant since May 2018 has resulted in the loss of jobs of about 20,000 employees, stopped supply to about 800 small and medium units and seen a continual loss of production.

It would be preferable if the plant was reopened after some time, and the company ordered to pay up for the exemplary financial damages.


This refers to ‘Will India lose Bangladesh as an ally?’ (September 2). The government should take all precautions/steps to curb the growing influence of China on Bangladesh. Having good relations with our neighbour is of utmost importance for many reasons. India and Bangladesh share similar cultures, economic conditions and strategic threats. Hence both nations should work together for mutual well-being. One of the most important sectors that will benefit from good bilateral relations is tourism. The five States bordering Bangladesh are rich in scenic beauty and can be developed as great tourist centres if there is peace in the region. Second, peace in the region will also boost export of products produced in these States thus creating employment opportunities. Further, like India, Bangladesh is also a developing economy and shares common economic challenges and needs. With peace on the border areas, Indian investors will find opportunities to invest in Bangladesh and vice versa.


This refers to ‘Remote work pays’ (September 2). Remote working was in existence even before Covid-19, but since few companies offered this option, it never came into limelight. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘work from home’ has become the norm. And gradually, companies have started realising that this could be the way forward. With studies also pointing to the benefits of remote working, there is no reason why Indian Inc should not make this a part of its future work environment and ecosystem. Besides getting access to a wider pool of talent, it may also lead to more women entering the workforce.


Apropos ‘The lure of surveilliance’ (September 2). Indeed, the RBI’s move to use big data analytics to track tax defaulters warrants concerns about the privacy of data. Countries practicing such tracking find the misuse of such data to be a major issue.The tracking of such data will not only hurt the privacy of such people but also attract hackers. The RBI could concentrate more on resolving the NPA crisis and leave the job of dealing the tax defaulters to the Finance Ministry.


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