Airtel doles out bonus but defers hikes as it awaits AGR verdict

Mumbai: Bharti Airtel has rolled out efficiency bonuses for its workers however has held again the hikes and can take a name when the enterprise turns round sustainably and there may be extra readability on the affect of statutory dues on the corporate’s financials, an individual conversant in the matter stated.

Competitor Vodafone Idea can be unlikely to roll out hikes or bonuses this 12 months, having highlighted its monetary stress in the Supreme Court not too long ago, stated one other individual. Reliance Jio is anticipated to roll out bonuses in August, and might even see an increment given to its prime performers in a while within the 12 months.

“The (Airtel) bonuses were announced on Thursday but employees were told unofficially that a call will be taken on their increments towards the last quarter of the (calendar) year,” the individual stated.

Airtel’s hikes for its 15,872 workers hinges on the federal government and Supreme Court’s resolution on whether or not they settle for the deferred cost plans of adjusted gross income (AGR) dues. Telcos, together with Airtel, have sought 20 years to pay again their AGR dues. The subsequent SC listening to within the matter is within the third week of July, by when the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and telcos have to agree on a funds roadmap.

Airtel, which didn’t reply to ET’s equerries, has thus far paid the telecom division Rs 18,000 crore of its Rs 44,000 crore of AGR dues.

The telco is the primary amongst the trio—Vodafone Idea, Airtel and Reliance Jio—to roll out bonuses. According to trade executives, the telecom sector, regardless of being amongst the sectors least affected by the continuing Covid disaster, remains to be struggling from years of intense competitors coupled with debt of Rs 7 lakh crore, and can stay tight fisted for the following few quarters.

Vodafone Idea and Jio didn’t reply to ET’s queries.

For its January-March quarter, Airtel reported a consolidated web lack of Rs 5,237 crore, primarily due to a one-time cost, which contains primarily of a cost on account of reassessment of regulatory value primarily based on a latest judgment on one-time spectrum cost (OTSC) associated issues, write-downs on 3G gear, in addition to increased finance prices. The India mobile providers enterprise although continued to recuperate, with common income per person (ARPU) rising sequentially for the fourth quarter, helped by increased knowledge utilization and tariff hikes.

Cash strapped Vodafone Idea, on its half, is unlikely to roll out hikes or bonuses for this fiscal 12 months for its 11,000 workers. VIL, essentially the most affected by the AGR disaster, can be awaiting the ultimate SC name on the problem. It has thus far paid solely Rs 6,854 crore out of estimated dues of Rs 58,254 crore.

“We don’t have enough money to even pay our employees and meet our expenses,” the corporate’s authorized consultant instructed the apex court docket earlier this month, throughout a listening to of the AGR case.

This time final 12 months, VIL—which was created in August 2018 after the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular—gave its workers a increase after stringent value reducing measures.

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Tarun Banerjee

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