Relief package to telecom firms kept under wraps
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The Union Cabinet on Friday approved a relief package for the stressed telecom sector but the package was kept under wraps for disclosing it only on Tuesday before the Supreme Court.

Sources said the government does not want another knock on its knuckles from the Supreme Court that pulled it up on February 14 and summoned on Tuesday a low-rank officer ordering no action against the telecom companies in defiance of the Court's order in October to recover from them the "adjusted gross revenue" (AGR) dues of Rs 1.47 lakh crore. The telcos were also pulled up for not sticking to the court's deadline of January 23 to make the payments.

Details of the Cabinet decisions are given in the press briefing but not a word came out in one addressed by I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the relief or revival package that was eagerly awaited by Vodafone Idea which is under serious financial crisis.

Sources say the package stipulates relief in payment of the AGR dues by spreading it over eight to ten years and provide a new floor pricing.

The telecom operators are keeping fingers crossed on how the Supreme Court sees the relief package in its hearing on Tuesday. They have already notified the government that the mobile services in India will collapse if the Supreme Court insists on contempt as threatened in the last hearing for non-payment of dues despite its directive.

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