No plan to waive dues for telcos post SC ruling on AGR: Prasad

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad  

The Centre on Wednesday told Parliament that it was 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 ₹1.47 lakh crore in licence fees (₹92,642 crore) and spectrum usage charge (₹55,054.51 crore), Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Lok Sabha. However, these are provisional outstanding amounts and are subject to revision in light of the Supreme Court ruling on the AGR matter, he added. On whether the government plans to provide a waiver for penalties and interest on the non-payment of licence fee on AGRs by telecom service providers and whether the government was considering extending the time limit for the payment of licence fee, penalty, interest and other dues, the Minister said, “No such proposal is under consideration of the government as on date.”

Asked if 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, two of the three operators, 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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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 11:24:14 AM |

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