NITI Aayog chief executive officer (CEO), Amitabh Kant has extended his support for fixing minimum rates for mobile calls and data. As per Kant, there is no other option due to heavy debt of the telecom sector and unsustainable fall in prices.

Kant’s stand comes days after NITI Aayog had showed discomfort in submitting its official response to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on fixing floor price for phone calls and data prices to bail out telecom companies.

In a letter dated March 4, to TRAI, Kant said, “We would like to strongly emphasise that floor prices are the need of the hour to enable continuation of a multiplicity of firms that is critical for healthy competition. Given the heavy debt burden being faced by the sector and the recent fall in prices to unsustainable levels, there is no option available but to set floor prices.”

However, Kant said review of the floor price may be done once the sector fully revives.

Although Kant extended strong support for setting up floor price, he said it is not a long-term solution.

At present, telecom companies are free to decide on call and data rates. However, regulatory intervention has been sought by them citing intense competition.