Kumar Mangalam Birla, head of the Aditya Birla Group and chairman of Idea Cellular, has taken a massive pay cut, down to just 3.3 lakh in 2016-17 from a high of Rs 13.15 crore in 2015-16. This was revealed in the annual report published by Idea cellular. The pay was given to Birla for serving on Idea Cellular’s board. The company’s annual report states that Birla’s salary was just 0.42 percent or less than half of the average annual salary given to employees working at Idea Cellular. It has also been revealed that no commission has been given to the chairman or other non-executive directors for the year. 2016-17 has proved to be a tough year for Idea Cellular, as this is the first year that the company has reported an annual loss after it was listed on the stock exchange.
The troubles for Idea started after the launch of Reliance Jio, which is acting as a disruptive force in the telecom industry. All other telecom operators have been forced to slash rates to compete with the free voice plans offered by Jio. The price war has resulted in erosion of revenues, which is showing on the financial results of most telecom companies. Even top operator Bharti Airtel reported the smallest quarterly profit in the last four years. It may be recalled that Vodafone and Idea cellular have decided to merge to create the largest telecom company in India.