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AITUC condemns deal between government and Vodafone Idea 

Our Bureau | Updated on: Jan 13, 2022
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AITUC termed the deal as an anti-people step

 

New Delhi, January 13 

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) on Thursday condemned the deal between government and Vodafone Idea (Vi) saying it is a criminal act on the part of the government, and demanded the government to withdraw it.  

“Government converting ₹16,000 crore interest dues from Vi into equity shares are shocking. AITUC condemns this deal as a criminal act on the part of the government. The government has no right to go about waiving off taxes like this when multitude of our people are reeling under pathetic living conditions,” it said in a statement. 

The trade union body said it was known that Vi owed the government ₹58,254 crore as adjusted gross revenue (AGR) alone, plus penal interest for late payment.

The operators (Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications) had gone to Supreme Court challenging the definition of AGR. The government’s position was ‘revenue’ included ‘all revenue’, whether telecom service related or otherwise. Supreme Court had upheld the government’s position on September 1, 2020, it said. 

“Then came the “big bang” reforms announcement by the government on September 1, 2021, allowing a moratorium on payment of AGR dues by the culprit telecom service providers (TSPs) of four years…Now comes the news of the government already buying equity shares of Vi worth ₹16,000 crore…why this largesse to these TSPs, when the government’s own BSNL and MTNL are starved to death?,” it questioned.

It asked the government why buy shares of a bankrupt company when the government swears by the philosophy “the government has no business to be in business”? 

“Why give up what is due to the government by way of taxes and then float the insidious scheme like the National Monetization Pipeline (NMP) allegedly to raise funds for new infrastructure? What if the corporates lapping up government assets coming out of the NMP turn around saying we cannot pay the agreed lease rent? Will the government then announce mother of all reforms?”, it added. 

Published on January 13, 2022

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