Committees Current Affairs - 2019
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Acknowledging that country’s telecom industry was under financial stress, Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had constituted a committee chaired by Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan to spell out revival plans for Telecom sector.
About Aruna Sundararajan Committee
Background: As the Indian telecom sector is under stress for a long time Union Minister has decided to deal with this issue now on priority basis thus for this purpose he will be meeting all telcos ‘at the earliest’ to discuss various sectoral issues and also constituted Aruna Sundararajan Committee to look into entire issue of removing ambiguities in ease of doing business and also to revisit the whole issue of SUC.
Need: Reduction of levies and fees, such as licence fee, SUC and universal service levy, has been a long-standing demand of Telecom industry, along with review of definition of aggregated gross revenue and this will also be main focus areas of committe.
Purpose: To review levies, including spectrum usage charge (SUC), and promote Ease of Doing Business (EDB) in telecom sector.
The Committee headed by Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan would submit its report in 2 weeks’ time.
In case of any issues which require clarity, committee has been directed to seek views of Solicitor General.
Committee would also look into previous recommendations provided by sectoral regulator TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) on the issue.
The Government of India is also looking into revival plan for state-owned BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) and MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) on priority and the details for that are being worked out.
Union Government has constituted six-member committee to look at selling as many as 149 small and marginal oil and gas fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) to private and foreign companies to boost domestic output.
The committee will be headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and includes Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Oil Secretary M M Kutty, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker as members.
Constitution of this committee is follow up of October 2018meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review domestic production profile of oil and gas and the roadmap for cutting import dependence by 10% by 2022. In this meeting, Union Oil Ministry had made presentation showing that 149 smaller fields of ONGC, OIL and other explorers accounted for just 5% of domestic crude oil production. It was suggested at the meeting that these smaller fields could be given out to private and foreign firms, so that ONGC could concentrate on big ones where it could rope in technology partners through production enhancement contracts (PEC) or technical service arrangements. This was mainly large ONGC fields as contribute to 95% of its production and leave out the rest for private firms.