NEW DELHII: The government asserted that the telecom sector’s prospects remain “robust” in the medium and long term due to a vibrant market and termed the current stress in the industry as a “temporary phenomenon”.
Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the government is fully cognisant of its role to provide an enabling environment and level playing field, but the market developments would require businesses to take their own decisions.
“As long as we respect the market, and rules of the market, and the government respects where we need to lay down the rules of the game, I think we have enough space for everyone to grow,” she said. The telecom sector has been under severe financial strain and the difficulties of operators compounded by the unrestrained tariff war. The sector has a cumulative debt of over Rs 4.6 lakh crore.
An inter-ministerial group (IMG) was constituted earlier this year to recommend measures to mitigate the financial woes and its report was placed before the Telecom Commission. The Telecom Commission, the apex body at the telecom department last week approved IMG’s recommendation on giving more time (16 years) to telecom companies to pay for the spectrum they bought in auctions, as against 10 years which is the current norm.