Will speak to telcos on AGR dues, say SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar

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Published: February 15, 2020 5:00:47 AM

SBI’s total exposure to the telecom sector stands at Rs 37,793 crore, For it, the bank already made provision of around Rs 9,000 crore till the December quarter.

Rajnish Kumar, Supreme Court, AGR dues, Nasscom, telecom sector, Department of Telecommunications, vodafone ideaState Bank of India (SBI) chairman Rajnish Kumar on Friday said banks will speak to telecom companies about their exposure and hope they have some plans for it.

After the Supreme Court pulled up telecom companies and the government over non-payment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Rajnish Kumar on Friday said banks will speak to telecom companies about their exposure and hope they have some plans for it.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by the Nasscom in Mumbai, Kumar said, “Telecom companies have to talk to the government. We will talk to them and I am sure they will be having plans.” SBI has around Rs 14,000-crore non-fund-based exposure to telecom companies, which is mostly in the form of bank guarantees provided to these firms.

SBI’s total exposure to the telecom sector stands at Rs 37,793 crore, For it, the bank already made provision of around Rs 9,000 crore till the December quarter. “It is now for the telecom companies to decide on how will they find the money or what course of action will they take,” Kumar added. SBI has exposure of around Rs 20,000 to private telecom companies as on December 31, 2019.

Banks are fearing about their exposure to telecom turning non-performing assets after the Supreme Court on Friday asked telecom operators to explain why they shouldn’t be held in contempt for violating its order regarding the AGR and non-payment of dues despite breaching the deadline. The court pulled up Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for not paying their AGR dues to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The apex court also ordered the managing directors and top officials of the companies and the DoT to be present in the court on the day when the case would be heard again.

Only Reliance Jio has cleared its AGR dues of Rs 60 crore. Vodafone Idea owes over Rs 50,000 crore to DoT, while Bharti Airtel has to pay Rs 35,586 crore. Tata Teleservices has dues of Rs 14,000 crore.

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