‘IMG Report on Telcos’ Fin Health Likely in 20 Days’
Kolkata: The inter-ministerial panel looking into the financial health of stressed telecom operators will submit its report in 20 days, based on which, the government will take corrective steps, telecom minister Manoj Sinha said on Wednesday.
“The telecom industry is under financial stress and action will be taken based on the report of the inter-ministerial group (IMG),” Sinha told Lok Sabha during question hour. Back in June, the government’s inter-ministerial panel on financial health of the telecom industry had met all telecom companies in batches in the run-up to submitting its recommendations to the Centre.
The minister said the panel has been mandated to examine systemic issues affecting the viability and repayment capacity of the telecom industry, and suggest remedies. The panel, he said, would also look into policy reforms and strategic interventions for the sector.
A one-time poster child of India’s economic progress, the telecom industry with some .₹ 5 lakhcrore of debt has been in dire straits, battling a brutal price war and grappling with unsustainable levels of financial stress. Even the Reserve Bank of India had warned that banks must keep a close watch on such sectoral loans amid erosion of telco profitability.
In this context, Sinha told Lok Sabha that the sector regulator had also suggested that the telecom department coax the finance ministry to reduce the applicable goods & services tax (GST) for telecom services from 18% to 5% by declaring the industry a core infrastructure sector.