Modi government allowed telecom companies to recover Rs 34,824 crore from consumers: Congress

The Uncut

New Delhi. The Congress on Friday attacked the Central Government after three major telecom companies increased tariff rates, and quipped that this is a “prasad” of the “crony capitalism” of the third term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to the people.

Party general secretary Randeep Surjewala questioned why the Modi government allowed the recovery of Rs 34,824 crore from the pockets of 109 crore cell phone consumers? Recently, three major telecom companies Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea announced price hike after a gap of two and a half years. The largest company Reliance Jio was the first to take this step.

Surjewala told reporters, “There are only three cell phone operators in the Indian cell phone market. Reliance Jio has 48 crore users, Airtel has 39 crore users and Vodafone Idea has 22 crore 37 lakh users. According to a TRAI report, cell phone companies earn 152.55 paise per month from each of their cell phone users.” He said, “On June 27, Reliance Jio increased its rates from 12 percent to 27 percent. On June 8, Airtel increased its rates from 11 percent to 21 percent. On June 29, Vodafone Idea also increased its rates from 10 percent to 24 percent.” Surjewala said that it is clear that all three companies discussed each other and announced the increase in cell phone tariff in just 72 hours.

He said, “If we look at the average of cell phone companies, we will find that there has been an increase of Rs 30.51 on each user of Reliance Jio. That means an additional Rs 17,568 crore will be recovered annually. There has been an increase of Rs 22.88 on Airtel customers. This will be Rs 10,704 crore annually. There has been an increase of Rs 24.40 on Vodafone customers, that means an additional Rs 6,552 crore will be recovered annually.”

He asked, “Did the Modi government do any investigation before imposing a burden of about Rs 35 thousand crore on 109 crore cellphone consumers? Did the Modi government do any study of the impact of spectrum purchase through auction? Surjewala said, “How is it possible that all cell phone companies increase their tariff by 15-20 percent, while their investment, customer base etc. are all different. He said that Prime Minister Modi should answer this to the country.

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