Nirmala Sitharaman responds to Vodafone CEO exit threat; wants telecom companies in India to do this

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Updated: Nov 15, 2019 7:45 PM

Days after Vodafone CEO’s exit threat, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the government doesn’t want any telecom company to shut its operations in India.

CBIC, CBDT, DIN, Document Identification NumberOn Thursday, both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel posted huge losses in Q2FY20. While Vodafone Idea recorded a loss of Rs 50,921 crore, Bharti Airtel’s loss figure for the quarter stood at Rs 23,045 crore.

Days after Vodafone CEO’s exit threat, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the government doesn’t want any telecom company to shut its operations in India. The government is actively participating in all discussions related to the telecom sector, CNBC TV-18 reported citing Nirmala Sitharaman as saying. It comes after Bloomberg reported Vodafone Idea CEO Nick Read as saying that the company may shut down unless the government gives some relaxation to the company on its demands for paying mobile spectrum fees. However, he later apologised to the government saying that his earlier remarks were misquoted by the media.

On Thursday, both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel posted huge losses in Q2FY20. While Vodafone Idea recorded a loss of Rs 50,921 crore, Bharti Airtel’s loss figure for the quarter stood at Rs 23,045 crore. The telcos made provisions for their liabilities arising from the Supreme Court order in their latest quarter results. Vodafone Idea reported the highest ever quarterly loss for any corporate in India.

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On slowing growth, Nirmala Sitharaman further said that it’s too early to say if the growth has bottomed out or not. Global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service recently cut India’s credit rating outlook and growth projections going ahead. On the falling Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection, the finance  minister said that the government expects the collection to improve in the month of November. The GST collection by the central and state governments fell 5.3% year-on-year to Rs 95,380 crore in October, but saw a 3.8% improvement over September collections, the finance ministry said.

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