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KM Birla meets telecom minister Vaishnaw

Indian industrialist and chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla on Thursday met the telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and sought to nudge the government closer to converting license fee, spectrum dues of telecom major Vodafone Idea to government equity, sources told CNBC-TV18.

Earlier in September 2021, the government had cleared the conversion of outstanding govt dues into equity for telecom companies. In October last year, Vodafone Idea had clarified that no guidelines restricted the government from converting dues into equity Iof share price was below par value of Rs.10.

Government, however, remained firm on seeking further fund infusion by the promoter of the company stating that equity conversion will be considered post fund infusion. As per the information, no commitment is shared by Birla on further fund infusion.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) Finance Ministry as well as have cleared the conversion of dues into equity in May and July 2022. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has secured all necessary approvals for equity conversion, but the file is pending consideration at the department.

Since its merger, the telecom company has faced a cumulative loss of Rs 1.75 lakh crores and is in total debt of Rs 2.2 lakh crores. Its subscriber base went down from 422 million to 245 million, about 42 percent.

In contrast with its competitors — Airtel and Jio —The telecom company has also not announced any plans of rolling out 5G services in the country any time soon, while its competitors have started the rollout in several cities in phases. CNBCTV18

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