DoT exempts three PSUs from paying ₹2.3-lakh cr AGR dues

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

GAIL (India) Ltd, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) have been exempted from paying adjusted gross revenue-related dues. The dues were raised by the Department of Telecommunications.

The estimated dues from the three public sector undertaking (PSU) companies stood at around ₹2.3-lakh crore. The DoT had sought ₹1.83-lakh crore from GAIL; ₹48,489 crore from OIL; and ₹40,000 crore from PowerGrid.

The three firms have notified the stock exchanges that these demands have been withdrawn.

AGR-related dues against companies had piled up after the Supreme Court allowed the DoT to recover them in an October 24, 2019 order. It was ruled that revenues accrued by utilising bid-out telecom spectrum should be calculated while assessing the governments’ take.

The ruling was aimed primarily at telecom companies. But the DoT expanded its ambit and raised demands from other non-core telecommunication companies.

The Supreme Court, on June 11, struck down these demands raised by the DoT on public sector companies. The apex court termed the demand being raised on these PSUs as being “totally impermissible”.

DoT demand contested

The PSUs had contested the DoT’s demand, saying telecom was not their core business and income from these licences formed a meagre part of their total revenue. So, estimating the amount of money the government should get as part of spectrum utilisation proceeds on total revenue accrued by a company was not tenable for them.

Meanwhile, telecom companies have been pleading with the Supreme Court to grant them a 20-year time-frame to pay their AGR dues without any additional bank guarantee or personal guarantees. The SC had asked them to come up with a payment proposal and send it to the DoT.

The DoT had sought time from the apex court to respond to the affidavits filed by telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, on payment of AGR dues by them.

The Supreme Court has also directed the operators to file audited balance sheets of the past 10 years and come up with payment proposals. It has asked DoT to consider these proposals. The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for the third week of July.

Published on July 16, 2020
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