AGR dues: No resolution on aid to telcos at Digital Communications Fee meet

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New Delhi: The essential assembly of Digital Communications Fee (DCC) on Friday couldn’t arrive at a call on aid to the distressed telecom sector as authorities officers stated extra particulars are required for reconciliation of information on statutory dues.

In a day of hectic parleys at DoT, Vodafone Concept (VIL) CEO and MD Ravinder Takkar additionally met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash however refused to touch upon the main points of his dialogue.

Telecom corporations have been desparately ready for a bailout bundle from the federal government after a Supreme Court docket order put their statutory liabilities at Rs 1.47 lakh crore, and all eyes have been on the DCC meet for the much-needed breather to repair the AGR imbroglio.

In reality, simply days forward of the Friday assembly of DCC, Vodafone Concept – which is essentially the most susceptible of the lot – informed the federal government that it could not have the ability to pay the Supreme Court docket mandated Rs 53,000 crore dues until state assist is prolonged to outlive the disaster.

VIL had made a robust plea for setting off Rs 8,000 crore of GST credit, a three-year moratorium on fee of the remaining quantity which ought to be staggered over 15 years at a easy rate of interest of 6 per cent, drastic lower in licence charge and fixing of a minimal worth of calls and information.

Whereas telecom division officers insisted that DCC assembly on Friday didn’t deal with AGR points however fairly on challenge implementation for PPP on Bharat Internet challenge, a supply current on the assembly stated no resolution on telecom aid was taken on the assembly though dialogue did happen.

DCC, the best decision-making physique of the federal government on telecom, mentioned the problem and checked out choices on the assembly which lasted two hours. Additional discussions are wanted, and the DCC is prone to meet once more within the coming days however no date has been mounted for the subsequent assembly, they stated.

The telecom division is awaiting extra particulars required for reconciliation of AGR information, sources added. “A lot of discussion would be needed, AGR related data needs to be assessed,” the supply stated.

The DCC consists of CEO of NITI Aayog, and secretaries of Ministries of Electronics and IT, DoT, Division of Financial Affairs, and Division for Promotion of Business and Inside Commerce, moreover different senior officers of the telecom division.

 AGR dues: No decision on relief to telcos at Digital Communications Commission meet

Representational picture. Reuters

VIL, which had final week paid Rs 3,500 crore to the federal government – nonetheless solely seven per cent of its complete dues – in a latest letter to the Division of Telecommunications (DoT) stated it’s “not in a sound financial state” to settle the legal responsibility and sought “urgent support from the government”.

The Mobile Operators’ Affiliation of India (COAI), in a separate, virtually related letter, additionally urged the federal government for simpler phrases for fee of dues by telcos together with loans at decrease charges to settle legal responsibility, as additionally an pressing implementation of flooring costs for name and information.

The embattled trade is aggressively pitching for lower in licence charge to a few per cent from the present eight per cent, and has additionally sought discount in spectrum utilization costs (SUC) to bail out of what it describes as an unprecedented disaster.

Blaming the below-cost pricing of telecom companies, compelled by aggressive pressures as being the basis trigger of monetary stress, VIL has sought speedy implementation of flooring worth in tariffs.

It stated a flooring worth must be instantly made efficient, say from 1 April, 2020 to make sure that the sector is absolutely sustainable and ready to pay deferred spectrum and AGR dues and nonetheless make investments to create world-class community and companies.

The corporate argued that the introduction of flooring worth will allow income of the telecom sector to just about double from the present degree of Rs 1.75 lakh crore.

VIL Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has, previously, made it amply clear that the corporate will fold whether it is pressured to make fee of over Rs 53,000 crore dues.

Birla has held a number of rounds of discussions with the finance minister and the telecom minister over the previous few days to discover choices to maintain the corporate afloat.

In all, as many as 15 entities owe the federal government Rs 1.47 lakh crore — Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence charge and one other Rs 55,054 crore in excellent spectrum utilization costs.

These dues arose after Supreme Court docket, in October final 12 months, upheld the federal government’s place on together with income from non-core companies in calculating the annual Adjusted Gross Income (AGR) of telecom corporations, a share of which is paid as licence and spectrum charge to the exchequer.

The Supreme Court docket earlier this month rejected a plea by cell carriers corresponding to Bharti Airtel and VIL for extension within the fee schedule and requested them to deposit an estimated Rs 1.47 lakh crore in previous dues for spectrum and licences.

Airtel has to this point paid Rs 10,000 crore in opposition to DoT estimated dues of over Rs 35,000 crore, whereas Tata Teleservices has paid Rs 2,197 crore as full and closing settlement for all its dues.

In the meantime, the federal government can also be asking telecom corporations together with Vodafone Concept, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices to submit supporting paperwork on AGR self-assessment, that shaped the premise of their statutory dues calculation. The train will assist the DoT look at the AGR calculations being made by the telecom gamers.

As soon as substantiating paperwork are filed by the businesses, the telecom division will provoke random check checks on the AGR calculation in a time-bound method. The ‘check verify’ will probably be achieved for anybody 12 months (of telcos’ dues) to look at the deviation between telecom corporations’ evaluation and the federal government calculation of AGR liabilities.

As it’s, DoT officers have made it clear that any aid prolonged to corporations like VIL can be contingent upon them making extra funds. Within the case of Tata Teleservices, officers keep that the division isn’t happy with the Tatas’ calculation of its general liabilities (Rs 2,197 crore in opposition to the federal government’s preliminary evaluation of about Rs 14,000 crore) and will probably be sending a discover to the corporate.

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