Amid the financial woes of the telecom sector and the slow growth rate of the Indian Economy the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, addressed the issue by saying that the government’s intent is to ensure that no company shuts operations due to financial unsustainability. “We want no company to shut their operations. We want everyone to flourish,” she said.

During a press meet Sitharaman said that the government intends to address the concerns of the crisis-ridden telecom companies which are facing billions of dollars of fresh statutory liability following a recent Supreme Court ruling.

“I want no company to shut operations. I want everyone to be up and running. We want the economy to have good number of companies in business and flourish in their business.”

“Not just telecom sector, my wish is all companies in all sector(s) be able to do business, service their market customer and survive. So with that approach, the finance ministry has always been talking and in telecom too that’s the approach we have taken,”  she said.

Sitharaman was answering a query on Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel reporting major losses in the September quarter because of statutory dues incurred due to a recent Supreme Court ruling.

Telecom major Vodafone Idea (VIL) had said its ability to continue will dependent on obtaining relief from the Centre and after he top court ruling , needs legal remedy on the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) issue.

The Supreme Court last month ruled in favour of the government and directed telecom companies to pay as much as Rs 1.42 lakh crore in past statutory dues to the government.

Days after the Supreme Court verdict, the government had set up a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) under the Cabinet Secretary to suggest measures to mitigate financial

Sitharaman said “it is the intention” to address concerns of all those who have approached the government with serious concerns post the court’s decision.
“We are also conscious that there is a Supreme Court order that the government has won and therefore, the department concerned has to take a call that would be a collective call, taking into account… understanding implication for the sector and finances of the government,” she said.

Regarding CoS, Sithraman  said “it is yet to take a call”. Sitharaman also said that no bank has approached the finance ministry raising concern over their exposure to the telecom sector.

Vodafone Idea Ltd posted a loss of Rs 50,921 crore the highest-ever quarterly loss by any corporate in India, mainly on account of provisioning for paying the statutory dues.The company is in the process of filing a review petition on the AGR matter.

Telecom major Bharti Airtel too reported a loss to the tune of Rs 23,045 crore for the September quarter.

(With agency inputs)