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Government Should Focus on the Sustainability of Telecom Sector: Sunil Mittal

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These days, the telecom sector is going through a difficult phase. The Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal expressed concern and asked the government to focus on the sustainability of the telecom sector, which is vital for India’s digital agenda, employment and taxes. Sunil said that the telecom sector is in crisis for the last three and a half years. This industry is of great importance to the digital agenda of government and the country. In such a situation, the government needs to see how this area can be strengthened.

Sunil Mittal on Wednesday met top officials in the Ministry of Finance, Delhi’s North Block. During this, he also met Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. However, it was not clear what issues were discussed in this meeting. Airtel chief Sunil Mittal’s statement comes at a time when telecom companies are struggling over the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) payments.

 

In several years old controversy, the government has been demanding AGR dues from telecom companies. The AGR is the usage and licensing fees charged by telecom companies by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) of the Ministry of Communications. It has two parts – spectrum usage charge and licensing fees, which are 3-5 percent and 8 percent respectively. Telecom companies owed more than 1.47 lakh crore. It includes arrears of 35,000 crores on Bharti Airtel. However, Airtel has paid Rs 10,000 crore. Regarding the AGR payment, Sunil Mittal said that the company is calculating the total liability.