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AGR issue: Government will give relief to all telecom firms, if any

Updated : February 19, 2020 09:47 AM IST

The government relief in the AGR (adjusted gross revenue) matter, if any, will be provided to all telecom companies and not just Vodafone-Idea, according to sources.

"At this point of time it’s not clear if they will look at it but if they were to give any relief, then it could be across the industry — for Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) as well," the sources said.

The telecom players have been awaiting further instructions from the government on if there is any kind of relief that will be provided either by way of a timeline of payments or by allowing the firms to pay only the principal amount.

According to the sources, the Department of Telecom is currently awaiting instructions from the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister's Office on the steps to be taken next.

The Supreme Court on Friday slammed the telecom companies, as well as the Department of Telecom (DoT) for the telcos failing to submit the AGR dues and also directed for contempt proceedings to be launched against the network operators.

Post the SC order, which gives clear directions for strict actions against the telecom companies, Bharti Airtel paid Rs 10,000 crore on Monday to DoT as part of the AGR dues while Vodafone-Idea paid Rs 2,500 crore and promised to pay another Rs 1,000 crore before the end of the week.

Vodafone-Idea is in a dire situation as it owes a larger amount to the telecom department compared to Bharti Airtel or Tata Teleservices. The company has to pay Rs 56,709 crore to the government in total. Bharti Airtel's dues are Rs 39,723 crore, out of which, Rs 10,000 crore has been paid.

The Supreme Court on January 17 had dismissed the petitions by the telecom firms to review its October verdict which rejected the telcos' definition of AGR and exposed them to a total payment of up to Rs 1.33 lakh crore.

Vodafone-Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla held a meeting with telecom secretary Anshu Prakash on Tuesday amid concerns that the Department of Telecom may take coercive action against the telecom companies for failing to pay AGR dues.
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