IMG on telcos to submit report today

By: | Published: August 31, 2017 5:15 AM

The much-awaited report by the inter-ministerial group (IMG) that was set up to suggest measures to deal with the financial stress faced by the telecom operators is expected to be submitted by Thursday.

IMG, Inter ministerial group, telecom operatorsThe much-awaited report by the inter-ministerial group (IMG) that was set up to suggest measures to deal with the financial stress faced by the telecom operators is expected to be submitted by Thursday. (Image: IE)

The much-awaited report by the inter-ministerial group (IMG) that was set up to suggest measures to deal with the financial stress faced by the telecom operators is expected to be submitted by Thursday. “The IMG has almost finalised its report and I am sure they have suggested some relief measures. We expect them to submit the report by today or tomorrow,” telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters on Wednesday.
The report by the government-appointed panel will be placed before the telecom commission (TC), which will deliberate on it on September 8, she added.

According to sources, the IMG has almost finalised its recommendations with consensus favouring only extension in the deferred payment period for spectrum bought in auctions from the current 10 years to 16 years. However, there won’t be any extension in the two-year moratorium operators get after paying a portion of the amount upfront. The move would bring cash flow relief to the operators. The telecom industry’s total debt stands at around Rs 4.60 lakh crore. It has bought spectrum since 2010 worth Rs 3.45 lakh crore for which an upfront payment of Rs 1.90 lakh crore has been made and the balance Rs 3.08 lakh crore needs to be paid up to 2028-29. If the deferred payment period is increased, this amount would be paid over a longer tenure.

The other measure on which the IMG reached a consensus was that if there’s any delay in payments by operators of licence fee or spectrum usage charges etc, the interest will be charged on the basis of MCLR instead of PLR. Also no major change in policy is expected to be recommended by the IMG by way of reducing the licence fee or spectrum usage charge, on which the entire industry was united in its presentation before the panel. Sources said that the members of the finance ministry in the panel were opposed to any such measure which impacts government revenues.

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