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    AGR crisis: Govt to decide on relief measures for telecom companies after March 17 SC hearing

    telecom | IST

    AGR crisis: Govt to decide on relief measures for telecom companies after March 17 SC hearing

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    The government will take a call on relief measures for the telecom sector only after the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for March 17.

    The government is likely to take a call on relief measures for the telecom sector only after the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for March 17.
    According to sources, the government, if decides to bring in any relief measure, it will not only for one telecom company and it will have to be approved by the Cabinet before it could be implemented.
    Meanwhile, the government is believed to have told telecom companies that partial payment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues can't be construed as compliance of the SC order.
    Nick Read, Vodafone Global CEO, will visit India on Friday. Read is likely to meet finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, home minister Amit Shah and telecom minister Ravishankar Prasad on same day.
    The relief measures will not come before the March 17 SC hearing, as DoT have to seek direction from the apex court, they said.
    Last week, Digital Communication met to discuss the issues related to AGR but it could not arrive at any conclusive decision.
    Meanwhile, telecom companies have sought support from the government to make payment of AGR dues. Telecom companies have sought a staggered payment mechanism, a moratorium of three years and low interest.
    They have also sought policy intervention like reduction in license fee, spectrum usage charges, immediate implementation of floor price of telecom services.
    As of now, Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 18,004 crore against statutory payment of Rs 39,723 crore, Tata group has paid Rs 4,193 crore against AGR dues of Rs 14,819 crore and Vodafone Idea has paid 3,500 crores as against DoT’s demand of Rs 56,709 crore.
    The Department of Telecommunication has written a letter to the telecom companies seeking an urgent submission of detailed bifurcation of payment made for proper reconciliation of the legitimate dues because of the amount paid on the basis of self-assessment.
    “As per February 14 SC order, partial payment can't be construed as compliance of SC order given on October 24 and February 14. Hereby companies are directed to submit payment details and also pay balance amount without further delay” said a source privy to the information.
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