Tele equipment cos seek PM intervention

New Delhi: After service providers, telecom equipment makers have sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s intervention to protect the domestic industry from European and Chinese imports, demanding a level playing field.

"We are not asking anything out of context from the Prime Minister or which is outside the National Telecom Policies of 1994 or 1999 or the recommendations made in the draft Policy 2011," Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA) Director General Ashok K Aggarwal said in a letter to Singh.

Last week, according to sources in the Department of Telecom (DoT), Vice President of European Commission Neelie Kroes had met Communications Minister Kapil Sibal to discuss issues related to telecom equipment manufacturers in Europe.

The indigenous telecom equipment market is worth Rs 1,000 crore, but the size of imported gear is Rs 50,000 crore.

TEMA`s letter to the Prime Minister comes on the heels of three leading telecom firms seeking his intervention to resolve the dispute over 3G roaming pact, which has been termed as clear violation of licence norms by both DoT and sector regulator Trai.

TEMA has suggested the adoption of six points, which include identification of clear milestones and implementation plans for the telecom manufacturing sector, setting up of a `Nodal Expert Council` for monitoring the implementation of NTP-2011 and mandating preferential treatment to Indian products.

Besides, it has sought R&D cess on all service providers, incentives to them on meeting targets for purchasing domestic products and compliance with national standards as well as certification of all telecom equipment.

Remodelling the tax structure so as to dispense with the financial disadvantage for home grown telecom equipment manufacturer, the letter added.

Earlier this year, while unveiling the draft of New National Telecom Policy-2011, Sibal had proposed an ambitious target of meeting 80 per cent of requirement locally by 2020.

The domestic demand is estimated to be of the order of Rs 2,50,000 crore by the end of 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017).

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had also proposed that mobile phone companies be mandated to source 80 per cent of their network equipment and related infrastructure from domestic manufacturers by 2020.