Govt gets Rs 25,900 cr in AGR dues, asks telcos to make full payment; says no plan to set up anti-trust laws to curb cartelisation in telecom sector
The minister said the government has 'again' directed the operators to make full payments of the AGR dues in a letter dated 4 March 2020.
The government has directed all TSPs to make the payments in accordance with the order of the Supreme Court in October last year
Dhotre informed the House that so far, Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 18,004 crore and Vodafone Idea has shelled out Rs 3,500 crore
The minister said COAI has sought government intervention to avert an unprecedented impact on the financial health of its member companies
New Delhi: The government has received part payment of about Rs 25,900 crore from telecom operators towards statutory dues and has again directed telcos to make full payments, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.
"The Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) have made some payments in compliance with the Supreme Court order dated 24 October 2019," Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
The minister said the government has "again" directed the operators to make full payments of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues in a letter dated 4 March 2020.
"The government has directed all TSPs to make the payments in accordance with the order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court dated 24.10.2019 vide letters dated 13.11.2019, 20.01.2020 and 14.02.2020," he said.
Dhotre informed the House that so far, Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 18,004 crore and Vodafone Idea has shelled out Rs 3,500 crore.
Tata Teleservices has paid about Rs 4,197 crore, while Rs 3.9 crore has been received from Reliance Communications. Reliance Jio has paid about Rs 195 crore.
To another question on whether the government has any plans to set up new anti-trust laws to prevent monopolisation and/or cartelisation in the telecom sector, Dhotre said, "No such proposal is under consideration."
To a separate question on financial distress in the telecom sector, he said Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has sought government intervention to avert an unprecedented impact on the financial health of its member companies.
"The government has offered a moratorium to the TSPs to defer payment of the spectrum auction instalments dues for 2020-21 and 2021-22, either for one or both years," he said.
A potential investment by Google into cash-strapped Vodafone Idea (VIL), if materialises, will be a strategic positive for the Indian telecom operator, but a five percent stake would be still be inadequate to solve the telcos' debt problems, analysts said on Friday
DoT's suggestion to give telcos 20 years for AGR payment to help resurrect financially stressed sector: COAI
The DoT has raised total demand of around Rs 53,000 core for AGR liability of VIL which included interest, penalty and interest on delay in payment of the amount
Airtel, Voda Idea, Tata Tele likely to pay AGR dues today; DoT unlikely to give more extension to telcos: Report
As per the last available estimates, Airtel owes nearly Rs 35,586 crore, including licence fee and spectrum usage charges, to the government.