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|August 26, 1997||
DoT asked to reduce leased line tariffThe commerce secretary has advised the Department of Telecommunications to look into ways to reduce tariffs on domestic leased lines of 64 kbps. These lines are used by software exporters.
A decision on the recommendation is expected soon from the prime minister's office.
The current leased line charge on the Delhi-Bombay-Delhi circuit is about Rs 1.8 million per year. The commerce secretary suggested at a meeting with DoT that this rate be reduced by half to about Rs 900,000.
The recommendation follows a finding of an independent report that domestic leased line (T1, E1) charges are at least three times more expensive than those in most other countries.
A high-level meeting was called recently by Commerce Secretary P P Prabhu to discuss the problem of high telecom tariffs for software exports, specifically leased line tariffs.
The meeting was attended by A V Gokak, secretary, DoT; Shyamal Ghosh, secretary, DoE; B K Syngal, chairman, VSNL; R H Naqvi, executive director, ESC; and Dewang Mehta, executive director, Nasscom.
When queried on whether such reductions in tariff will affect cross-subsidy for local calls, sources pointed out that the reduction is for leased lines carrying data, not voice, and these tariffs are not used to subsidise local calls.
The meeting was a follow-up to a petition made to Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral by the software industry some time back.
In this regard, the Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council had prepared a background paper comparing leased lines rates in India and in other countries. This paper was discussed at the meeting.
Deliberations on the paper led to the conclusion that the figures ESC had quoted for international half-circuit leased lines were not well founded. VSNL hotly contested this claim and came up with figures affirming that India has probably the lowest rates for international leased lines.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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