Man takes the phone to talk. After some time, the company for which it was advertised, he again told – Man talks for progress. And there was another sahib, who told everyone where and how they could progress, a small mobile route. People caught the talk. Not only progress, but mobiles have also been made weapons for entertainment, politics and all their calculations. But there was some pang in it. And the result of that is that the telecom sector, which is responsible for the progress of people across the country, is swinging between life and death in a way. Over 20 telecom companies in the country have closed down in the last 20 years.
The special thing is that business continued to grow during this period. At present, Idea-Vodafone has around 30 crore connections and Airtel has around 28 crore connections. Both together account for over 60 per cent of India’s telecom business. But both of these are in deficit. In the last quarter, Indian Airtel has lost about one thousand crore rupees and Idea-Vodafone has lost about six and a half thousand rupees. This is a trade deficit. One big reason for this is the third big player present in this business – Reliance Jio. For the last one and a half years, this company has added a lot of customers by sharing Jio’s SIM, Jio’s connection and data or call plan very cheaply from others. And in the face of competition, both these companies standing in front also reached this situation by reducing the rate. Reliance Jio is now the only telecom company in the country, which is running in profit.
It is said that when trouble comes, it does not come alone. If we go back a bit, then the story starts from there, which is said to be the biggest scam of the previous government, that is, 2-G spectrum scam. The CAG, the largest auditor of the Government of India, had busted that the then Telecom Minister A Raja arbitrarily distributed the rights of spectrum for mobile telephony and caused a loss of one lakh seventy six thousand crores to the exchequer. It was a huge amount, and if a competent officer like Vinod Rai was opinionated, then the whole country took it seriously. The ruckus, the politics that took place and the result, it is in front of everyone today.
But it has now been almost fully revealed that the big loss that was estimated was not right. Most scholars are unanimous. But now it is too late. Most of the companies whose licenses were in question are closed, the owners of some have gone to jail and their other businesses have also been destroyed. The biggest problem has been that apprehensions have arisen in the minds of big companies all over the world that investing money in India is a big risk job. Vodafone still showed courage, and similarly Airtel’s foreign partner Singapore Telecom, That is, Singtel also did not lose faith in India. Probably because a lot of these companies were at stake here. Due to this belief, last year, about 25 thousand crore rupees were invested by Idea-Vodafone in its rights issue. He had an idea that by March 21, the company may have to spend around thirty thousand crore more. But this account got disturbed by the order of the Supreme Court. The companies were ordered to pay around Rs 1.40 lakh crore in total.
Actually, there is agreement between the communication department and mobile or telecom companies that companies will continue to give a part of their earnings to the government or to the communication department. This does not burden them with simultaneous payment and if the business becomes fast enough, then the government would not suffer. But there was a fight on how to calculate the earnings? The government added that any company that earns a telecom license will have to pay a share of the entire revenue, while the companies argue that only the share of revenue from the telecom business should be shared. The result of this arithmetic is that government companies such as Oil India, Power Grid and Gas Authority have also got a total liability of about three lakh crore rupees, while they either do not earn or are not earning from telecom. This part is being sought from them only because they have a telecom license, Which he had taken in the hope that maybe in future, he should make any such arrangement, which can earn. The case of these companies is in the TDSAT and the Supreme Court has given relief to them. The question is arising that can the Communications Department ask for this share even in the entire earnings of Reliance Industries?
Airtel has also started filling money. But this is a big problem especially for Idea-Vodafone. He has to pay about fifty thousand thousand rupees to the government. It is reported that this amount may increase further, because the government officials have not added the accounts of the liability after 2017. If the company is not able to fill this amount, it will stop, but the government will also sink such a huge amount. The same company has taken a loan of about fifty thousand crore rupees from many banks, including State Bank, if the company went bankrupt, its recovery too difficult.
Here, we have to keep in mind that the formula for revenue share was made in 1999, while the spectrum is being auctioned since 2010. So this math is in the circle of questions. The government has already given a package of Rs 70 thousand crore to BSNL. Then why shouldn’t he find a way to relieve Idea-Vodafone? Especially when there is a huge loss of government and customers in the closure of this company.