Indian government keen to enhance digital governance

The transition to high speed 5G telephony is about to begin with the auction of spectrum which the government has permitted upto 72000 MHz of mobile airwaves.



Reuters file photo
Reuters file photo

By H. P. Ranina

Published: Sun 3 Jul 2022, 3:37 PM

Last updated: Sun 3 Jul 2022, 3:40 PM

Is there any prospect of 5G telephony coming to India in the near future? Some issues were raised in this regard earlier.

The transition to high speed 5G telephony is about to begin with the auction of spectrum which the government has permitted upto 72000 MHz of mobile airwaves. This is the largest quantity which is being sold which will add new frequencies and bands in line with international trends.

The auction is scheduled for July 26 and the reserve price fixed is around ₹4.3 trillion. This will introduce a new generation of mobile telephony which will be needed for machine to machine (M2M) communications, smart factories, autonomous driving, remote surgeries, as well as internet of things (IoT). It will also bring tremendous benefit to the agriculture and education sectors. The Indian Government is keen on enhancing digital governance. Rules and guidelines are being framed which would be applicable to those who are successful in the auction. The successful bidders will be given the option to surrender the spectrum after ten years with no future liabilities. No spectrum user charges are proposed to be levied on airwaves acquired in this auction.

Some of my friends had recently booked airline tickets and made hotel reservations on certain websites. After paying the money they found that their tickets were cancelled and hotel bookings were not made. Are such frauds taking place increasingly in India?

Unfortunately with the growth in the travel and hospitality industry due to pent up demand, ‘holiday frauds’ are increasing not only in India but globally. According to an American credit rating agency, the percentage of suspected digital frauds in the travel and leisure industry has increased 68 per cent globally. The fraudsters register themselves on certain websites and contact prospective customers, offering huge discounts on airfare and hotel charges. After receiving the money from customers, the fraudsters disappear and disconnect their mobile phones. These persons operate on fake travel websites and clone popular apps. Many of these criminals are using stolen or hacked credit card details to buy airline tickets which are first sent to the gullible customers and then cancelled. It is therefore advisable to buy airline tickets directly from the airline itself and from websites with secure payment systems. The cyber crime branch of the police is continuously tracking down such fraudsters but customers themselves need to take precautions by booking preferably on official websites of airlines and hotels.

Can Indian mutual fund companies invest in international markets? I am under the impression that they are not permitted to do so.

Your impression is correct. In January this year, after the limit of $7 billion was crossed, the regulator, Securities & Exchange Board of India, directed Indian fund houses to stop investing in stocks and bonds listed on international exchanges. However, the recent sell off in stock markets globally has brought down the value of international stocks and bonds. This in turn reduced the aggregate value of investments made abroad by all the Indian fund houses. In view of this development, SEBI has recently allowed mutual fund companies to once again invest in international markets. This is subject to the aggregate limit of $7 billion for the entire industry. In short, with the drop in value, SEBI has permitted Indian mutual fund houses to invest upto the unutilised limit. Exchange traded funds have an additional limit of $1billion.It may be noted that these limits fixed by SEBI are in conformity with the investment limits set for mutual funds by the Reserve Bank of India under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

H. P. Ranina is a practising lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.


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