The move comes after operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices said they are doing self assessments and will deposit AGR dues based on the calculations.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will ask mobile operators to submit supporting documents along with self-assessment calculations related to adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, so that the amount can be rechecked by it. In case of any variance, the operators will be asked to explain. The move comes after operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices said they are doing self assessments and will deposit AGR dues based on the calculations.
Vodafone Idea, which has dues worth Rs 53,039 crore, has so far paid Rs 3,500 crore. Tata Teleservices, which has dues worth Rs 13,823 crore, has made a payment of Rs 2,197 crore. Company sources have maintained that this is the amount due from them as per their calculations and they do not have anything more to pay.
Bharti Airtel, which has total dues of Rs 35,586 crore according to the DoT, has already paid Rs 10,000 crore, while it is doing calculations for the remaining amount.
As per sources, though the government has asked for supporting documents, it has not given any deadline to submit the dues. In case mobile operators deposit the amount a few days before March 17, the DoT won’t have enough time to verify or recheck calculations. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the AGR matter on March 17.
Sources said the operators have sought 7-10 days to make more payments. The government cannot do much in terms of relief on the AGR issue as it has to comply with the SC order. But, it will strike a balance between compliance with the SC order, telecom sector’s health and the consumer interest.
So far, out of total Rs 1.47 lakh-crore of AGR dues, of which Rs 1.02 lakh crore is due from three functional companies – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices – the government has received close to Rs 16,000 crore.
As is known, Bharti Enterprise Chairman Sunil Mittal and Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla had met finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week. While Birla did not comment about the meeting, Mittal said that he discussed the overall health of the telecom sector and nothing pertaining to the AGR issue.