AGR row: DoT to reassess dues based on documents provided by telecom companies

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Published: March 13, 2020 12:01:07 AM

According to minister of state for communications Sanjay Dhotre, telecom firms have been directed to make payments on the basis of self assessment and submit requisite documents for compliance.

AGR, DoT, telecom companies, Sanjay Dhotre, Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, Anshu Prakash, Vodafone IdeaAs per the government, telecom firms owe Rs 1.47 lakh crore in AGR dues, and till now nearly Rs 25,900 crore has been received by the DoT.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will do reassessment of AGR dues based on self-assessment documents submitted by telecom operators and send revised demand notices based on that.

According to minister of state for communications Sanjay Dhotre, telecom firms have been directed to make payments on the basis of self assessment and submit requisite documents for compliance. “Following this, DoT will carry out reassessments on the basis of the documents submitted… and issue revised demand notices,” Dhotre said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

This is the first time the DoT has said it will do reassessment of dues based on the documents submitted by telecom operators. As of now, the DoT has pegged the AGR dues owed by all telecom operators at Rs 1.47 lakh crore, of which Rs 1.02 lakh crore is owed by three firms – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices.

Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal, who met telecom secretary Anshu Prakash on Wednesday in connection with the AGR dues, reiterated that the company had fully paid its dues. He said apart from the payment, Airtel has also submitted supporting documents regarding self assessment.

While the DoT had said Bharti Airtel owed Rs 35,586 crore in AGR dues, the telco has assessed its dues at Rs 13,004 crore. It has, however, paid the DoT an extra Rs 5,000 crore on top of this to account for any other contingencies and possible errors in its calculations or the DoT disallowing some of the expenses it has claimed.

Vodafone Idea was said to owe Rs 53,039 crore while its own assessment puts the figure at Rs 21,533 crore. In the case of Tata Teleservices, while the DoT estimated its dues at Rs 13,823 crore, the company has put it at Rs 2,197 crore. Tatas, however, have paid extra Rs 2,000 crore to cover differences arising out of reconciliation exercise of DoT.

Vodafone Idea has so far paid just Rs 3,500 crore, and has made it clear it cannot pay the balance unless there is a rescue package from the government. The DoT, however, informed Parliament in a written reply that no relief package is under consideration.

The DoT on March 4 had asked all companies to pay the remaining dues and submit self-assessment documents. The need for issuance of notices arose because the self-assessment amount arrived at by companies is way lower than calculations done by the DoT.

As per the government, telecom firms owe Rs 1.47 lakh crore in AGR dues, and till now nearly Rs 25,900 crore has been received by the DoT.

It must be mentioned that companies have to pay the AGR dues in compliance with the October 24 order of Supreme Court. The apex court is scheduled to hear the matter on March 17. The MDs of the companies will have to appear to show compliance or face contempt proceedings.

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