Is it time for a Vajpayee moment in Indian telecom?
SummaryThe government should accept special zero-coupon bonds for AGR dues to lighten the burden of struggling telecom companies
The ubiquity of mobile phones in India, combined with low monthly charges, has empowered citizens as well as enterprises. The rapid growth of online payments over the past few years is a case in point. It would not have been likely without widespread access to mobile phones that can use digital public goods such as the United Payments Interface. The online education—however imperfect—provided to millions of children during the pandemic would not have been possible without mobile communications. The need to maintain a robust telecom sector is important for country-wide access to citizens and for accelerating economic growth. The ongoing financial strain in the telecom sector thus requires policy attention.