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Govt serious about addressing concerns of crisis-ridden telecom sector, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman

"I want no company to shut operations. I want everyone to be up and running. We want the economy to have good number of companies in business and flourish in their business." said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 16, 2019  | 14:01 IST
Govt serious about addressing concerns of crisis-ridden telecom sector, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman
The Supreme Court last month ruled in favour of the government and directed telecom companies to pay as much as Rs 1.42 lakh crore in past statutory dues to the government

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday (November 15) said the government intends to address the concerns of the crisis-ridden telecom companies which are facing billions of dollars of fresh statutory liability following a recent Supreme Court ruling.

"I want no company to shut operations. I want everyone to be up and running. We want the economy to have good number of companies in business and flourish in their business." said Sitharaman

"Not just telecom sector, my wish is all companies in all sector(s) be able to do business, service their market customer and survive. So with that approach, the finance ministry has always been talking and in telecom too that's the approach we have taken," the minister said in reply to a query regarding stress in the telecom sector.

While announcing its financial results on November 14, telecom major Vodafone Idea (VIL) had said its ability to continue as a going concern is dependent on obtaining relief from the government and positive outcome of the legal remedy post the apex court ruling on the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) issue.

Also Read: About 40,000 telecom jobs at risk after SC verdict puts Rs 92,600 crore burden on sector

The Supreme Court last month ruled in favour of the government and directed telecom companies to pay as much as Rs 1.42 lakh crore in past statutory dues to the government.

Days after the Supreme Court verdict, the government had set up a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) under the Cabinet Secretary to suggest measures to mitigate financial stress in the sector.

Also Read: FM Nirmala Sitharaman seeks suggestions on direct, indirect taxes for Budget 2020

Sitharaman said "it is the intention" to address concerns of all those who have approached the government with serious concerns post the court's decision.

"We are also conscious that there is a Supreme Court order that the government has won and therefore, the department concerned has to take a call that would be a collective call, taking into account... understanding implication for the sector and finances of the government," she said.

Also Read: Wipro enters into 5G collaboration with Telecom Infra Project

Regarding CoS, the minister said "it is yet to take a call".

Sitharaman also said that no bank has approached the finance ministry raising concern over their exposure to the telecom sector.

VIL posted a loss of Rs 50,921 crore -- the highest-ever quarterly loss by any corporate in India, mainly on account of provisioning for paying the statutory dues.

VIL said it is in the process of filing a review petition on the AGR matter.

Telecom major Bharti Airtel too reported a loss to the tune of Rs 23,045 crore for the September quarter.

Also Read: India to spend $1.4 trillion on infra in next 5 years: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

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