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If Vodafone Idea disconnects, India picks up the bill

With 13,000 direct employees and loans from banks of about $3.8 billion, Vodafone Idea's potential exit would send shockwaves through India's economy, which is already growing at its slowest pace in 11 years.

February 24, 2020 / 02:12 PM IST

India faces a multi-billion-dollar hit to its economy and a tarnished reputation as a place for multinationals to invest unless it can keep Vodafone Idea in business.

Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between Britain's Vodafone Group Plc and India's Idea Cellular, is the most vulnerable of the mobile carriers ordered on Friday to immediately pay billions in unpaid government dues and interest following a Supreme Court ruling.

It has said it cannot immediately pay the $3.9 billion it owes and its ability to survive was contingent on the government agreeing a flexible payment schedule.

With 13,000 direct employees and loans from banks of about $3.8 billion, Vodafone Idea's potential exit would send shockwaves through India's economy, which is already growing at its slowest pace in 11 years.