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Tuesday
October 2020
7:59 PM IST
News Headlines
ED grills Farooq Abdullah for six hours in JKCA graft case, People''s Alliance says it''s vendetta        NCW seeks explanation from Kamal Nath for his remarks against MP minister        Imran Khan incapable and clueless; betrayed people of Pakistan: Opposition leaders        Nawaz Sharif''s son-in-law arrested in Pakistan        Kerala''s Covid tally touches 3.33 lakh with 5,022 fresh cases        HC restrains Customs from arresting Sivasankar till Oct 23, suspended officer discharged from hospital        Buttler, bowlers guide RR to seven-wicket win over CSK        Punjab beat MI in second Super Over        Saina, Sindhu's biggest Graffiti in India unveiled        Trump leans into fear tactics in bid to win Midwest states        US polls: New Congress could have more Indian Americans to the House Advertisement        Active COVID-19 cases below 8 lakh for 2nd day in row; recovery rate 88.03 pc        Flood situation grim in parts of Telangana, Karnataka        Dalit woman gang-raped at gunpoint in UP        Army pressed into service in 4 flood-hit Karnataka dists; CM to undertake aerial survey        Pakistan pacer Umar Gul announces retirement from all forms of cricket        HDFC Bank Q2 net profit rises 16% to Rs 7,703 cr        Biden warns Trump wants to scrap health law        BJP govt has surrendered in front of criminals: Akhilesh        Rahul Gandhi, Capt Amarinder vow to force centre to revoke black farm laws        
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Business News
Vodafone-Idea to shut if no relief provided by govt: Kumar Mangalam Birla
 
New Delhi: Vodafone Idea Ltd, the India's third largest mobile service provider, will shutdown if the government does not provide relief on the liability it faces in past statutory dues following a Supreme Court order, its billionaire chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said on Friday.

"If we we are not getting anything then I think it is end of story for Vodafone Idea," Birla said at the HT Leadership Summit when asked about the future of Vodafone Idea in absence of a government relief on payment of Rs 53,038 crore dues.

Birla's Idea Cellular and British telecom giant Vodafone plc's India unit had merged last year to compete with the onslaught of free voice calling and dirt cheap data unleashed by richest Indian Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio.

In the process, it accumulated Rs 1.17 lakh crore debt and had just weeks back posted corporate India's biggest loss after it provisioned for the liability arising from the Supreme Court upholding the government's position on what base should statutory liabilities be calculated.

"It does not make sense to put good money after bad. That would be end of story for us. We will shut shop," he said in a response when asked if Vodafone Idea will put in more money.

Market leader Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and other telecom players have to pay as much as Rs 1.47 lakh crore in payment of telecom license fee and spectrum usage charge together with interest and penalty for past 14 years.

Both Airtel and Vodafone Idea have petitioned the government for relief in waiver of interest and penalty, which will halve the dues, and also filed a review petition in the Supreme Court.

Birla was however hopeful of a relief from the government not just for the telecom sector but the industry as a whole to pull out the economy from a six-year low GDP growth of 4.5 per cent.

"They (the government) have realised the fact that this (telecom) is a very critical sector. The whole digital india programme rests on this. This is a strategic sector," he said.

The government, he said, has publicly stated that it wants three players from the private sector and one player from the public sector.

"I think that we can expect much more stimulus from the government because it is required for the sector to survive. If we weren't getting anything then I think it is end of story for Vodafone Idea," he said.

The government had late last month deferred by two years the payment due to telecom companies for spectrum they bought in past auctions. This relief totalled Rs 44,000 crore for the industry but companies are expected to pay this due together with interest after the two year moratorium.

Asked about the specific relief sought, Birla said, "The big elephant in the room is AGR. Which is actually I think something which lies in the court of judiciary. I believe government can have a dialogue. This was a suit filed by the government against telecom service providers."

AGR refers to adjusted gross revenues, a percentage of which the telecom companies pay as statutory dues. The Supreme Court had upheld the government position that non-telecom revenues have to be included in the AGR for calculating dues.

"Since the government has won, it gives them headroom to talk to judiciary and try to find some of solution. I don't know which form or shape it takes," he added.


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KERALA NEWS
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INTERNATIONAL NEWS
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NATIONAL NEWS
ED grills Farooq Abdullah for six hours in JKCA graft case, People''s Alliance says it''s vendetta
 Srinagar: The Enforcement Directorate on Monday questioned National Conference president Farooq Abdu
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Active COVID-19 cases below 8 lakh for 2nd day in row; recovery rate 88.03 pc
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