02 July 2019


TRAI calls for zero telecom equipment imports by 2022

By Aspire IAS

1) TRAI calls for zero telecom equipment imports by 2022

Theme: Indigenous telecommunication equipment manufacturing

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has called for imposition of import duties on telecom products outside the ambit of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA-1) and incentivising their local design and manufacturing with an aim to eliminate India’s dependence on imported telecom gear by 2022.

  • Suggesting that India aim at net zero imports of telecommunications equipment by 2022, the TRAI recommended the setting up of a ?1,000 crore fund for promoting research and innovation in the sector.
  • The regulator has suggested that the progress of indigenous telecommunication equipment manufacturing be monitored by Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
  • It is planned to have a dedicated unit in DoT to be made responsible for the facilitation and monitoring of telecommunication equipment design, development, and manufacturing in the country.
  • It was proposed to create a Telecom Research and Development Fund (TRDF), with initial corpus of ?1,000 crore for promoting research, innovation, standardization, design, testing, certification and manufacturing indigenous telecom equipment.
  • Subsequently, Telecom Entrepreneurship Promotion Fund(TEPF) and Telecom Manufacturing Promotion Fund(TMPF) need to be set up.
  • To address security concerns, TRAI had suggested that the telecom service providers be incentivised for deploying indigenous telecom products beyond the quantities to be mandated under the preferential market access policy.
  • India as a signatory to the World Trade Organisation’s ITA-1 has a zero-duty commitment on 217-odd electronic items in the list. But it is under no obligation to allow duty-free imports of ICT items outside the ITA-1.


  • Local manufacturing of network equipment will reduce imports and create self-reliance and job opportunities.
  • Currently, India imports 90% of its requirements. If the recommendations are to be implemented, it would enable Indian telecom equipment manufacturing sector to transition from an import-dependent sector to a global hub of indigenous manufacturing.

2) E-way bill made mandatory for inter-State goods movement

Theme: e-Way bill system:

Concerned at the loss of revenue, the Kerala State government has decided to tighten the e-way bill norms and make it mandatory for inter-State goods movement. The government is said to be losing over Rs. 400 crore because of tax evasion, mainly because the e-way bill system has not been fully operational.


  • It is touted as an anti-evasion measure that would help boost tax collections by clamping down on trade that currently happens on a cash basis.
  • The State has also had to take a beating because of the recent decision of the GST Council to cut tax rates for a horde of goods, mainly durables, which would affect a consumer State such as Kerala.
  • The State is worried since the projected revenue has not come in from its IGST share.
  • It is in this context that the government has decided to set up 190 inspection squads. The squads would be deployed in specified places along the State borders. Mobile squads would be in operation.

e-Way Bill :

eWay Bill is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the eWay Bill Portal. Transport of goods of more than Rs. 50,000 (Single Invoice/bill/delivery challan) in value in a vehicle cannot be made by a registered person without an eway bill. When an eway bill is generated a unique eway bill number (EBN) is allocated and is available to the supplier, recipient, and the transporter.