Indian Govt Seeks SC Nod For Telcos to Pay AGR Dues Over 20 Years

The latest twist in the story comes right before the Supreme Court is going to hear the matter this week.

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Tech News
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The telecom sector is facing crunch times ahead of the crucial SC hearing this week.
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In a relief for telecom operators, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking an approval for a 20-year window for payment of around Rs 1.47 lakh crore Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues.

DoT has said that the interest on the principal and penalty not be charged beyond judgment date, while dues payable to the government be protected by levy of 8 percent interest on staggered payments.

The Department also sought the apex court's nod for a formula arrived at for recovery of dues from telecom companies after detailed deliberation by government and cabinet. The development comes a day before, the Supreme Court is likely to hear the matter on adjusted gross revenues.

However, analysts said that the scheme with 8 percent interest would be not be viable for Vodafone Idea which is financially much more stressed than the other players.

Vodafone Idea has said that it has cleared the principal amount towards AGR dues as it paid Rs 3,354 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Monday.

In a regulatory filing, the telecom operator had earlier paid a sum of Rs 2,500 crore on 17 February 2020 and a further sum of Rs 1,000 crore on 20 February towards the AGR liability.

"The company has today paid a further amount of Rs 3,354 crore to the DoT, being the balance part of the principal amount towards AGR liability. Thus the company has paid the full principal amount of Rs 6,854 crore towards the AGR dues," it said.

According to Vodafone Idea’s own assessment, its AGR dues stand at Rs 21,533 crore and the principal amount out of the total dues is Rs 6,854 crore.

However, according to the DoT's estimate, the company's overall dues stand at Rs 53,000 crore. The other major player Bharti Airtel has already said that it has paid its full AGR dues of about Rs 13,000 crore.

After meeting Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash here on 11 March, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel said that as per the government's direction the company has paid the full amount.

He said that the full AGR dues is about Rs 13,000 crore, and Rs 5,000 crore is extra, adding that the company has also submitted its self-assessment document.

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