Govt collects nearly Rs15,700 cr in AGR dues from telcos
24 February 2020
The central government has so far collected only about Rs15,697 crore of the total Rs92,000 crore dues that owe it by way of the share of average gross revenue that telecom companies owe it, despite warnings by the telecom department and a deadline set by the Supreme Court .
While Bharti Airtel paid Rs10,000 crore on Monday, Vodafone Idea paid Rs2,500 crore the same day and another Rs1,000 crore on Thursday. Tata Teleservices has paid Rs2,197 crore.
Reports citing official sources said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will issue fresh notices to Vodafone Idea for paying their remaining AGR dues.
Vodafone Idea owes Rs53,000 crore in AGR dues and Airtel has Rs35,00 crore dues.
DoT will send notice to Tata Teleservices to submit its remaining dues.
The government has so far resisted from encashing bank guarantees, but may do so in an eventuality, reports citing official sources said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Bharti Airtel Sunil Mittal and chairman of Vodafone Idea Kumarmangalam Birla have separately met officials of the telecom department as well as finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman to present their case and seek more time for payment of dues.
Vodafone Idea has reported a loss of Rs6,453 crore for the October-December quarter. The company said it is assessing the amount that it will be able to pay to the government towards the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues and the payment will be made in the next few days. The company, however, expressed concerns regarding its ability to continue its business.
It said, as disclosed in its statement for the December quarter, its ability to continue as a going concern is essentially dependent on a positive outcome of the application for modification of the supplementary order.
The statement from the company came after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) asked telecom operators to make immediate payments regarding the AGR dues, after the Supreme Court directive for non-compliance of its October 24, 2019, order. While hearing the modification petitions of the companies, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, the Supreme Court has shattered all hopes of any relief towards payments while coming down heavily on DoT for not recovering the dues.