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Govt has received Rs 25,900 crore in AGR dues: Lok Sabha

A telecom tower

The government has received around Rs 25,900 crore from telecom service providers as part of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, Minister of State for the Communications Ministry, Sanjay Dhotre informed Lok Sabha on March 11. Telecom operators owe the government a total of Rs 92,640 crore following the Supreme Court judgement in October 2019 ordering them to include non-core income for calculation of AGR.

Dhotre said that in a letter dated March 4, the government had directed the operators to make full payments. Bharti Airtel has so far paid around Rs 18,004 crore (which also includes payment for Bharti Hexacom), Vodafone Idea has paid Rs 3,500 crore, Reliance Jio has paid around Rs 195 crore, Reliance Communications has paid close to Rs 4 crore, and Tata Teleservices has paid about Rs 4,197 crore.

Last month, the Supreme Court rejected a plea filed by telcos that sought more time to settle AGR dues, and ordered them to pay their outstanding dues by March 17. It has also directed the top brass of the company to be present at the next hearing on March 17, in case the respective companies fail to pay AGR dues by then. Following SC’s order, the Cellular Operators Association of India wrote to the Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, demanding a moratorium of 3 years for paying AGR dues, setting up of floor price for tariffs, and reducing licence fee to “make the telecom sector sustainable”.

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