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In the past two weeks, India’s beleaguered telecom operator Vodafone Idea (Vi) seems to have got a little more breathing space. The Government of India has cleared the long-talked-about plan to convert Rs 16,000 crore interest from the deferred adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues into equity. This would make the Union government the biggest shareholder in Vi — holding about 33 per cent of the telecom firm.
Though the scheme to allow interest on AGR dues to be converted into equity was announced quite a while ago — and Vi had shown interest — the government was going slow. It wanted a firm commitment from at least one of the company’s two promoters — Vodafone Plc or the Aditya Birla group to fresh capital infusion. The Aditya Birla group has promised to put in money and the government therefore greenlighted the conversion. As the telecom minister pointed out, the government wanted three good players in the sector and not a two-hor
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