The Universal Service Support Policy came into effect from 1.4.2002. The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act 2003 giving statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was passed by both Houses of Parliament in December 2003. Deemed to have come into effect from 1st April 2002, the Fund is to be utilized exclusively for meeting the Universal Service Obligation and the balance to the credit of the Fund will not lapse at the end of the financial year. Credits to the Fund shall be through Parliamentary approvals. The Rules for administration of the Fund have also been notified on 26.3.2004 .
The Universal Service Obligation Fund is headed by the Administrator, USF. The Administrator is empowered to formulate procedures for implementation of the USO and disbursement of funds from the USOF. His office functions as an Attached office of the Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications & IT.
The Universal Service Levy is presently 5% of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) of all telecom service providers except the pure value added service providers like Internet, Voice Mail, E-Mail service providers etc.
Role of the CCA & Background
The implementation of Universal Service Support Policy involves financial support from Universal Service Obligation Fund to meet the net cost of providing the specified Universal Service Obligation. This covers both public access as well as provision of household telephones in rural and remote areas. The Controller of Communication Accounts is responsible for:
- Verification of the claims and release of payments.
- Inspection and monitoring, for establishing the veracity of claims.
- Proper accounting of all transactions relating to the USF Fund
- CCAs submit detailed returns and reports to USF Administration at DOT HQ regarding receipt of claims from Service Providers, settlement of claims, requisition of funds, disbursement of subsidy and monitoring status and reports in the prescribed formats and as per schedule prescribed by DOT HQ.
The work relating to USF commenced in the CCA Offices w.e.f the Claims for the Quarter ending 31.12.03. Initially vide letter No: 30-15/2002-USF (VolII) dated 5.2.04 disbursement of Subsidy towards
- Operation and Maintenance of Village Public Telephones (VPTs) and
- Replacement of MARR VPTs (VPTs to be replaced w.e.f 1.7.03) was transferred to CCA Offices. This included the work of monitoring of information furnished in the claims.
- Subsequently the work relating to disbursement of Subsidy towards (3)Replacement of MARR VPTs replaced between 1.4.02 and 30-11-04, (4) Replacement of MARR, VPTs replaced after 01-12-04 as well as ,(5) Provision of Rural Community Phones and (6) Rural Household Dels installed between 01-04-02 to 31-03-05 in specified SDCAs, (7)RDELs installed between 01-04-2005 to 31-03-2007 in specified SDCAs and (8) RDELs installed after 01-04-2007 to 31-03-2009 (referred as RDEL Extension), Broadband and Kiosks, wi-fi hotspots were also entrusted to this office