Money & Banking

Not approached by any telco to finance AGR dues, says SBI chairman

PTI Mumbai | Updated on February 14, 2020

It is incumbent on the telcos to find money and will be safe to presume that they would have made some arrangements for it by now, SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar said on Friday.

He also said that the bank will be passing on all the benefits of the cash reserve ratio (CRR) reliefs on small ticket loans to the borrowers and a decision on the same will be done before April 1.

The comments on telecom companies come on a day when the Supreme Court made it clear that they will have to cough up the ₹1.47-lakh crore in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues and also questioned why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against those who are coming in way of implementing its order.

“It is now for the telecom companies to decide how will they find the money or what course of action they will take,” Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of the annual NTLF here.

“They (telcos) would have made their arrangements is what I presume,” Kumar said, adding that it has not been approached by any of the telecom company. The payments to be made by the companies include ₹53,000 crore by Vodafone Idea, ₹35,500 crore by Bharti Airtel and ₹14,000 crore by the now defunct Tata Teleservices.

Kumar said the bank has a ₹29,000-crore exposure to the telecom sector and another up to ₹14,000-crore in non-fund based exposure which will devolve only if there is a non-payment of dues.

Its gross non-performing assets include ₹9,000 crore from the telecom sector, he said, adding that it has been provided for in full and the bank has decided not to set aside money against standard assets there.

On the CRR benefit pass through, he said the next review of the external benchmark-linked rates is scheduled to take place in April 1, but an announcement will be made before that as well.

Published on February 14, 2020

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