The inter-ministerial group looking into telcos’ financial stress is expected to submit its report by tomorrow, a top government official said. The Telecom Commission will consider the panel’s report in its meeting on September 8, DoT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.
The IMG was constituted earlier this year to suggest measures to mitigate financial difficulties of telecom sector, which is reeling under Rs 4.6 lakh crore of cumulative debt and is facing severe pressure on revenue and profitability.
“I am sure the IMG is proposing some relief … We expect their report to be submitted today or tomorrow,” Sundararajan told reporters on the sidelines of an event by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) here.
Once submitted, the IMG report will be placed before the Telecom Commission for its consideration, the Telecom Secretary said further.
“The Telecom Commission will take it up in coming days…The next meeting of the Telecom Commission is on September 8,” she added.
The inter-ministerial group is learnt to be favouring increasing the timeline for deferred spectrum payment for telcos, and shifting from PLR to MCLR for interest and penalty payments with regard to licence fee and spectrum usage charges. Currently, a portion of spectrum auction amount is taken as upfront payment by the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the balance after a two-year moratorium is paid out every year in 10 instalments.
There are indications that the telcos could be given 16 years instead of 10 years for such deferred spectrum payment. The IMG which comprises senior officials from ministries of finance and communications has, over the last three months, been deliberating on various steps that can be taken to address the financial woes of the industry.