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AGR dues: Bharti Airtel pays ₹3,004 crore as final settlement

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on February 29, 2020 Published on February 29, 2020

The company has also deposited ₹5,000 crore as an ad-hoc payment

Bharti Airtel on Saturday said that it has paid ₹8,004 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) towards the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.

However, the company said that it owes only ₹3,004 crore towards the AGR dues, as per its assessment, and the rest ₹5,000 crore are additional ad-hoc payment.

According to the DoT, Airtel has AGR dues of around ₹35,000 crore including penalty and interests, out of which it has paid ₹10,000 crore on February 17.

 

"The company has paid an additional amount of ₹3,004 crore towards the full and final amounts due over and above the ad-hoc amount of ₹10,000 crore paid on February 17 on behalf of the Bharti Group of Companies (Bharti Airtel, Bahrti Hexacom and Telenor India)," Airtel said in a stock filing.

 

"In addition to the aforesaid amounts paid basis our self-assessment, we have also deposited an additional amount of ₹5,000 crore, as an ad-hoc payment (subject to subsequent refund/ adjustment) to cover differences, if any, arising from the reconciliation exercise with the DoT," the company added.

The company said it has now complied with AGR Judgment and the directions in the order of the Supreme Court dated October 24 , 2019.

 

Apart from Airtel, Tata Teleservices (TTL) also says that the amount it has paid to DoT (₹2,197 crore) is full and final as per its self-assessment. However, as per DoT's calculations, the company's dues are pegged at ₹14,819 crore.

Similarly, Vodafone-Idea has a total dues of around ₹53,000 crore, from which it has paid only ₹3,500 crore to the DoT and has been threatening to shut shop if the government does not give some relief package at the earliest.

No Government support

However, according to government sources, no immediate relief package is expected anytime soon and no decision was also taken in the latest meeting of the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) meeting on Friday. In fact, the DCC did not discuss about AGR in the meeting, as per sources in the know and had focussed around other projects.

Recently, industry body Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), also wrote to the Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash that the operators require “urgent support from the government to address the current health of the telecom sector”.

 

It suggested some relaxation of AGR dues and requested the DoT to allow set-off of GST credits lying with the government. Further, after the GST set-off, the payment of balance amount of interest, penalty and interest on penalty may be allowed in a staggered manner, it said.

Meanwhile, the latest move by Airtel may pressurise Vodafone-Idea to immediately plan something towards its dues as the government is also unlikely to provide any remedy at the earliest.

 

The DoT is also on the verge of sending another notice to TTSL on its dues, questioning on its self-assessment as the amount it has paid till now (₹2,197 crore) is not tallying with the DoT's calculations.

Published on February 29, 2020
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