Department of Telecom files affidavit before Supreme Court on AGR payments

The has filed an affidavit before on the status of statutory dues paid by telecom operators, a government official said on Tuesday.

Telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, had to pay 10 per cent of their (AGR) dues demanded by the DoT by March 31, 2021 as per directions.

“DoT has filed an affidavit before on the status of AGR payments,” the official, who did not wished to be named, told PTI.

The apex court had asked telcos to make 10 per cent of the upfront payment of their dues by March 31 to the DoT while the remaining amount is to be paid over a ten-year period starting April 1, 2021.

However, there is some ambiguity over the court order as telcos maintain that they have already paid more than the 10 per cent of their AGR dues while DoT opined that the operators will have to pay 10 per cent of the total dues by March 31, 2021, irrespective of what they have already paid.

The ambiguity has befuddled the industry calculation with many of the telcos reaching out to their legal counsels to make sense of the court’s order in this regard.

As per the government calculations, total AGR liability of Bharti Airtel is Rs 43,980 crore, Vodafone Idea is Rs 58,254 crore, Tata group is Rs 16,798 crore, BSNL is Rs 5,835.85 crore and MTNL is Rs 4,352.09 crore.

Bharti Airtel has paid the government Rs 18,004 crore, VIL (Rs 7,854 crore), Tatas (Rs 4,197 crore) and Reliance Jio has cleared its entire dues with payment of Rs 194.79 crore.

Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications owes Rs 25,194.58 crore, Aircel (Rs 12,389 crore) and Videocon Telecommunications (Rs 1,376 crore) but these are under liquidation process. like Loop Telecom, Etisalat DB and S Tel, which jointly owe the government Rs 604 crore, have shut down their India operations.

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