November 22, 2019

Government shall not waive the AGR dues of telecom companies post SC ruling: Ravi Shankar Prasad

[ by Kavita Krishnan ]


Union Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad has notified the Parliament that the Government is not considering any proposal to either waive penalties and interest on outstanding statutory dues of telcos following the recent Supreme Court verdict on Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) or extend the timelines to pay up the dues.

Following the judgment, telecom firms now owe Rs. 1.47 lakh crore in license fees (Rs. 92,642 crore) and spectrum usage charge (Rs. 55,054.51 crore). The Minister added that these are however provisional outstanding amounts and are subject to revision in light of the Supreme Court ruling on the AGR matter.

As per the information provided by the Minister, the license fee dues of Vodafone Group (along with Idea Cellular) stood at Rs. 28,309 crore, while that of Bharti Airtel Group of companies was at Rs. 21,682 crore (and that of Telenor and Tata Group of companies at Rs. 1,950 crore and Rs. 9,987 crore respectively).

On whether the telcos had urged the Government for a bail-out package, he said the Cellular Operators Association of India had submitted that in the absence of an immediate grant of relief by the Centre, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, will face ‘an unprecedented crisis’. However, one COAI member, Reliance Jio, has submitted a divergent opinion in the matter.

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