Department of Telecom moves Supreme Court seeking clarity on AGR dues timeline, says report


MUMBAI: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has moved the Supreme Court seeking clarification on whether telcos need to pay their first installment of the adjusted gross revenue dues by March 2021 or March 2022, a TV report said Wednesday.

The AGR tussle took a new turn when SC ruled on September 1, 2020, that the operators must pay 10% of their AGR dues as demanded by DoT by March 31, 2021, and the remainder in equal instalments every financial year up to March 31, 2031.

The DoT believes the telcos must pay another installment of their dues by March 2021.

The affected operators –

and – however say they have already paid their 10% and their next turn for installment should come from March 2022 and not 2021.

If confirmed, the latest move by DoT comes at a time when telcos – Bharti Airtel , Vodafone Idea (Vi) and

(TTSL) have also moved the apex court to highlight alleged errors in the telecom department’s AGR calculations.

Vi has appealed to the court to modify or clarify its order to allow the government to consider the telco’s submissions on the calculation errors and rectify them accordingly. Vi has to pay Rs 58,400 crore in AGR dues, of which it has paid Rs 7,854 crore. The telco had self-assessed its dues at Rs 21,533 crore, which the Supreme Court had rejected.
Airtel has sought modification, clarification or recall of “mistaken orders” that allowed the government to demand Rs 43,980 crore as AGR dues against the telco’s calculation of Rs 13,004 crore.

Both telcos highlighted the manifold increase in AGR dues as a result of these arithmetical errors.

TTSL told the court that the demands of the Department of Telecommunications exceeded its deemed revenue and added up to more than the book balance.

The telco has AGR dues of Rs 16,798 crore and it has paid Rs 4,197 crore so far.

For the two loss-making operators, a reduction in their dues is crucial since they need to buy spectrum in an auction slated for March and expand their 4G networks to take on market leader Reliance Jio.

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