By SM.17 Feb, 2020
The beleaguered telecom companies made part-payment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government after the telecom department began issuing orders to telecom companies to clear their dues immediately or face "necessary action." The telecom department started acting tough after a furious Supreme Court hauled up telecom companies and government last Friday over unpaid dues despite its orders and threatened them with contempt of court.
Bharti Airtel paid Rs 10,000 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Monday morning towards statutory dues. "Total amount of Rs 10,000 crore has been paid on behalf of Bharti Airtel, Bharti Hexacom, and Telenor," Bharti Airtel said.
"We are in the process of completing the self-assessment exercise expeditiously and will duly make the balance payment upon completion of the same, before the next date of hearing in the SC," Bharti Airtel added.
Vodafone Idea and Tata Group have made part payment of about Rs 2,500 crore and over Rs 2,190 crore, respectively, to the telecom department towards statutory dues, a government official said on Monday.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had refused to accept telecom firm Vodafone Idea"s proposal to pay Rs 2,500 crore by today and Rs 1,000 crore by Friday against adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues and that no coercive action be taken against it.
In October, the Supreme Court had upheld the telecom department"s demand that wireless carriers pay Rs 92,000 crore in overdue levies and interest, and had given the telecom operators three months" time to clear their dues with the telecom department.
In a major setback for mobile service providers, the Supreme Court had last month rejected telecom companies" plea seeking a review of its earlier order that allowed the government to collect dues worth Rs 92,000 crore from them.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Bengaluru, "The Department of Telecommunications is actively engaging with telecom companies after Supreme Court order. I will hear from the department what position it wants to take on matter."
According to last available estimates, Airtel owes nearly Rs 35,586 crore, including licence fee and spectrum usage charges, to the government.
Vodafone Idea is staring at dues worth Rs 53,000 crore, which includes up to Rs 24,729 crore of spectrum dues and another Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee. Tata Teleservices owes around Rs 13,800 crore, BSNL Rs 4,989 crore and MTNL Rs 3,122 crore.
Telecom providers in the country pay the telecom department 3-5 percent of their AGR in spectrum usage charges and 8 percent as licence fees.