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Aruna Sundararajan is now permanent Telecom Secretary

Aruna Sundararajan, who was appointed as temporary secretary for Telecom (DoT) in May, will continue holding the post permanently, while her earlier job as the Secretary for The Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) will now be handed over to Ajay Prakash Sawhney, a government notification said yesterday.

The government has rejigged the position of Secretary for Telecom for the second in the last two months. Sundararajan had replaced temporary Secretary PK Pujari who was appointed to the post in March. Purjari’s appointment came after the earlier permanent Secretary J.D Deepak was removed from the post in the same month. Deepak’s removal from DoT came after he wrote a letter to the telecom regulator TRAI asking it to restrict the period of promotional packs offered by telcos, which is currently has a maximum validity of 90 days.

Deepak added that Jio’s free offers have cost the government money and that it has affected the telecom industry. He had also suggested creating a new telecom policy replacing the existing policies that were last updated in 2012, according to this Mint report. Deepak’s concerns weren’t unheard: an inter-ministerial group met with telecom operators recently, and a suggestion was made to fix minimum prices for tariff/recharge packs by incumbent telcos.

Apart from this, Aruna Sundararajan’s appointment also comes at a time when the telecom industry is going through financial stress, rising debt and exits. Sundararajan’s biggest task will be to examine these claims and offers special tax rebates, reduction in spectrum fees, and other government levies, as requested by telcos themselves.

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