BENGALURU: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the Telecom department has been actively engaging with telecom companies over the issue of statutory dues and she would wait to hear its decision.

Post the court’s latest verdict, it will only be proper to wait and hear from the department concerned, she told reporters here when asked whether the government was mulling relief for the telecom companies after the recent Supreme Court orders directing them to clear the dues.

“The department has been actively engaging with telecom companies, immediately after the orders and subsequently also after the review so the department is fully in touch with the companies and I will wait to hear from the department or on behalf of the government from the department, so that we know what is the position that the department wants to take on the matter,” the Finance Minister said.

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea by telecom firms including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Ltd for extension in the payment schedule and asked them to deposit an estimated Rs 1.47 lakh crore in past dues for spectrum and licenses by March 17.

Some telecom firms have said they were already struggling with mounting losses and debt and the additional liability has raised concerns of them defaulting on existing loans.


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