The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, to repay about Rs 1.43 lakh crore in combined dues they owe the government over 10 years , offering a reprieve to the sector weighed down by heavy debt and under intense regulatory and competitive pressure in recent years.The breather is short of the 15-20 years sought by the telcos, and which the court said was unreasonable, but came as a shot in the arm to the companies that missed a January deadline to repay their dues.The stock market rallied in response although Vodafone Idea shares took a beating on the perception that its problems were not over. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had proposed a 20-year window.A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra asked the managing directors (MDs) or chief executive officers (CEOs) of the companies to furnish undertakings or personal guarantees within four weeks for payment of dues.The court ruled “that, at the first instance, the respective Telecom Operators shall make the payment of 10% of the total dues as demanded by DoT by March 31, 2021.”“Telecom Service Providers have to make payment in yearly instalments commencing from April 1,… Read full this story
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