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Inter-ministerial group formed to examine problems faced by the telecom sector

Inter-ministerial group formed to examine problems faced by the telecom sector

Commuters with their smartphones in a Mumbai local. Image: Reuters

By IANS / 19 Jun 2017, 19:01

The government is hopeful that within three months the picture will be clear about what needs to be done to revive the health of telecom sector in India. “We have given three months’ times (to the inter-ministerial group). I think within three months we will get a pretty clear picture of what the industry requires and what the government needs to do. Let this exercise get complete,” Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told BTVi in an interview.

The task of the inter-ministerial group (IMG) is to examine systemic issues affecting viability and repayment capacity of the telecom sector and furnish recommendations for resolution of stressed assets. It is expected to submit its recommendations within three months. The group, comprising officials from the finance and telecom ministries, was set up after concerns about the financial stress in the industry.

“Government has already set up an inter-ministerial committee which is having detailed hearings with every section of the stakeholders. We are asking them to give their inputs. We have asked banks to give their inputs so that we can understand what these issues are, we can understand the gravity of these issues and whether the government needs to step in,” she added.

Telecom companies Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea cellular, Reliance Jio, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Telenor, BSNL and MTNL have all met the IMG and discussed the state of the sector. Sundararajan said the telecom sector in India had gone through ups and downs.

“We went from a situation where we had a monopoly operator from the government, then a set of players came in and then that set of players was enlarged. Then, we had a situation where because of the intense competition, we actually had large number of players, now it is going through a phase of consolidation,” she added.

(Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd)

Related: #Bharti Airtel #BSNL #Idea Cellular #India #MTNL #Reliance Communications #Reliance Jio #Tata Teleservices #telecom #Telenor #TRAI #Vodafone India

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