Relief Has To Be For Industry, Not For Any Individual Player: DoT Official

Any relief measure for telecom will have to be for the sector and not for any one player, a top DoT official said amid clamour from crisis-ridden Vodafone Idea for waivers. Such relief package, once finalised, will require the Cabinet approval, the source said adding that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) would also keep the Supreme Court informed about any measures that are formalised.

Vodafone Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nick Read is slated to meet Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday. Vodafone chief is also expected to meet Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during his upcoming visit.

Telecom companies have been desperately waiting for a bailout package from the government after a Supreme Court order put their statutory liabilities at Rs 1.47 lakh crore, and all eyes have been on DoT for the much-needed breather to fix the AGR imbroglio.

Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL), which is the most vulnerable of the lot and has paid only 7 per cent of its Rs 53,000 crore dues so far, recently told the government that it would not be able to pay the full liabilities unless state support is extended to survive the crisis.

VIL, where Vodafone holds 45 percent stake, had made a strong plea for setting off Rs 8,000 crore of GST credits, a three-year moratorium on payment of the remaining amount which should be staggered over 15 years at a simple interest rate of 6 percent, drastic cut in licence fee and fixing of a minimum price of calls and data.

―Money Control

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