TRAI move

| Updated on December 31, 2018 Published on December 31, 2018

The edit, ‘User friendly’ (December 31), rightly mentions the positive step undertaken by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on broadcast and cable tariffs. For a long time, consumers have been grappling with higher tariffs and broadcast companies have been benefiting from the same. The most important aspect is that the move will bring down the overall payout for most consumers and also ensure transparency in the way broadcasters charge for channels. The only missing part in the regulation is interoperability of set-top boxes.

The key issue now is whether the government will take steps in this direction, as introducing interoperability would truly break the shackles on TV viewers that tie them to specific platforms.

Sreenivasan Prabhu


TRAI has mandated that distributors charge the subscribers only for the channels they actually watch (pay as you watch) along with a maximum monthly rental of ₹130 for viewing 100 more standard definition (free) channels. It is a move to protect the consumers' right and welfare. Many private distributors (cable operators) in rural areas, who hitherto used to collect a blanket charge from the subscribers irrespective of the channels they view, have to now abide by the TRAI’s order. The subscribers in rural areas mainly watch a handful of channels (most of them are free-to-air channels), but pay more than what they actually want to.

TRAI's move would be more user-friendly if it also does the following: Instead of allowing the broadcasters to price their channels, TRAI should fix a cap for all pay channels based on the strength of their viewership. The regulator must ensure that there is no partnership of any kind between the TV channels and the DTH players. This would solve the problems of channel-blockouts.

As the prices for channels are not inclusive of GST, the same would be passed on to the subscribers by the broadcasters. So, the government may reduce the GST (from 18 per cent to, say, 12 or 5 per cent) so as to reduce the payment burden of the subscribers to some extent.

S Lakshminarayanan

Cuddalore, TN


BJP must act fast

Two decisions taken by the BJP-led government over the past four-and-a-half years have been transformative: GST and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. With the streamlining of producers, the hiccups in the implementation of GST should disappear in 2019. With an eye on the general elections, it appears that the government will probably fix a single tax rate for all goods and services.

The government has also begun to remit farmers’ loans, cut fuel price and prosecute criminals in UP. The BJP needs to fulfil all its promises fast, as its boat is all but capsizing.

Najmul Huda


Share, with a difference

The regulatory proposal to relaunch differential voting right (DVR) shares, should be welcomed on grounds of higher dividend returns to shareholders and the potential flexibility on offer to enterprises. Besides keeping the risk of diluted promoter-holdings at bay, the initiative would also render a diligent corporate governance and a balanced capital structure to start-ups/new -age tech-intensive firms. Moreover, an equity capital structure with DVRs usually allows a business to grow progressively, as promoters are able to implement complex business strategies or mixed corporate actions without having to worry about control or consent of retail shareholders, who stand to benefit from regular paybacks.

Further, the IBC regulations do not guarantee a sustainable business growth. With real-time public disclosures emerging as the new norm, unsecured shareholder investments at higher valuations stand to be de-prioritised. In a market where healthy competition for distressed assets is developing, investment in DVR instruments with limited voting rights, at a relatively lower valuation, may not be a bad option.

Girish Lalwani

New Delhi


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Published on December 31, 2018
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