AGR: Nobody wants to kill telecom sector, says SBI's Rajnish Kumar

Rajnish Kumar, chairman, SBI

With the telecom firms staring at a massive Rs 1.47 trillion of AGR dues, SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar on Monday said "nobody wants to kill the sector".

The state-owned bank is yet to hear from the government on the issue, he said, when asked if it has sought views from bankers.

"Nobody wants to kill the sector, let me be very clear," Kumar said, when asked about the problems being faced by the telecom industry.

It can be noted that earlier this month, Kumar had said that State Bank of India has a loan outstanding of Rs 29,000 crore to the telecom sector and another Rs 14,000 crore in bank guarantees, which can get invoked in case of a non-payment of dues by the telcos.

There has been a flurry of meetings in the national capital between senior official of the telecom firms and the government over the past week.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court has asked the telecom firms to deposit an estimated Rs 1.47 trillion in past dues for spectrum and licences by March 17.

Payment of the dues is being seen as an existential threat for some players, especially Vodafone Idea, which has to pay RS 53,000 crore.

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