September 9, 2021 3:00:57 am
The Union Cabinet Wednesday did not discuss and consider the relief package for the telecom sector although it was scheduled for the same, sources in the know of the development said. The sources, however, did not confirm the reasons as to why the package was not taken up for discussion.
It may now be taken up for discussion and approval during one of the remaining Cabinet meetings this month, they said. The Cabinet usually meets on Wednesdays.
Shares of Vodafone Idea (Vi), which had been on a rise over the past few weeks, fell 1.8 per cent on the National Stock Exchange following the news, to close the day at Rs 8.10. Among the relief steps being discussed, there is the likelihood that a reduction in the spectrum usage charges (SUC) and licence fees could be cleared. Currently, telecom service providers pay 3-5 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) as SUC, while they pay around 8 per cent of the AGR as licence fee.
Apart from these, the payments for spectrum purchases, which had been deferred for up to two years (2020-21 and 2021-22) in 2019 is also likely to be extended for up to maximum period of five years, while the spectrum holding period, which is currently 20 years, maybe extended beyond that, according to officials.
Vi and Bharti Airtel have been seeking some sort of relief for the sector from the government in the form of reduction in the levies paid by telcos as well as some waiver on the reduction of the interest rates for dues to be paid to the DoT.
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