AGR dues: DCC meeting today to discuss relief for telcos

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Published: February 28, 2020 6:30:47 AM

Apart from the deferment of AGR issues, the panel, which has members from Niti Aayog and finance ministry, will also discuss the matter of reducing levies on the sector.

However, officials in DoT were certain that for any kind of relief, operators must have to make some payments. However, officials in DoT were certain that for any kind of relief, operators must have to make some payments.

An inter-ministerial panel is scheduled to meet on Friday to deliberate on the relief measures for telecom sector. As per sources, one of the options that may be discussed during the meeting of Digital Communications Commission (DCC) is deferment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues in yearly installments.

The sources further said whatever decision will be taken has to be compliant with the Supreme Court. Another source added that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may request Supreme Court to grant more time to telecom operators to make AGR related payments.

However, officials in DoT were certain that for any kind of relief, operators must have to make some payments. The DoT is miffed with Vodafone Idea, which has so far paid only Rs 3,500 crore while asking for relief for the remaining dues. Vodafone Idea’s dues are to the tune of Rs 53,039 crore.

Bharti Airtel has deposited Rs 10,000 crore while assuring that more payments will be made soon after doing a self-assessment. Airtel’s dues stand at Rs 35,586 crore. Regarding Tata Teleservices, the DoT is going to issue a notice seeking explanation for their AGR calculations. Tatas have deposited Rs 2,197 crore claiming it to be full and final as against DoT calculated dues of Rs 13,823 crore.

Apart from the deferment of AGR issues, the panel, which has members from Niti Aayog and finance ministry, will also discuss the matter of reducing levies on the sector. Regarding setting up of a fund that can provide soft loans to telecom operators, the finance ministry has to take a call.

Earlier, any demands to cut the levies were turned down by the finance ministry as it was hampering its revenue proceeds. But now, given the stress in the sector and the necessity for relief has forced the ministry to do a rethink.

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