No immediate relief likely for telcos if they don’t pay more dues

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on February 27, 2020

The adjusted gross revenue (AGR) issue in the telecom sector is heating up with some top officials in the Department of Telecom (DoT) feeling that no immediate relief must be handed out to operators unless they pay more dues.

The officials said the companies have, so far, paid only a meagre amount as AGR dues.

“There is no possibility of any relief package at least from my point of view. They (the companies) are playing with us (government) after paying a little amount...they are trying to manipulate the situation. They have to pay some more amount then ask for relief,” a senior official said when asked about the possibility of a relief package for telcos.


The official said DoT will issue notices to Tata Teleservices (TTSL) over the next few days demanding payment of balance AGR dues. The company has paid ₹2,197 crore as per its self-assessment of AGR dues and has said that was all it had to pay. However, the DoT has pegged TTSL dues at ₹14,819 crore. Similarly, Vodafone Idea has paid ₹3,500 crore till now out of the total dues of ₹53,000 crore and Airtel ₹10,000 crore out of the total of ₹35,000 crore.

The Supreme Court is set to hear the modification pleas filed by these companies on March 17 and the latter are expected to pay some more dues before that.

Meanwhile, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) is likely to discuss all the issues, including relief measures for AGR-hit telcos, in its meeting on Friday.

Among the options the Commission is likely to be deliberate upon is allowing staggered payments of statutory dues, a senior official said. However, he also said the relief for companies like Vodafone-Idea would be contingent upon it making additional payments as the amount received so far from the company is only seven per cent of DoT’s calculated AGR dues.

Published on February 27, 2020

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