Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said that there is no proposal before the government at present on waiver of penalties and interest on outstanding licence fee payments based on adjusted gross revenue (AGR). There is also no proposal on extending the timelines for telcos to pay up their statutory dues, Prasad said in Parliament.
"No such proposal is under consideration of the government as on date," Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, reported news agency PTI.
While responding to specific questions related to unpaid statutory dues, the minister reportedly said the Committee of Secretaries under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary had held meetings to discuss the issues relating to the stress in the telecom sector.
"The Supreme Court upheld the definition of 'Gross Revenue' and 'Adjusted Gross Revenue' as enumerated in the License Agreement. The Court has directed to make the payments of due amounts within three months and report the compliance," the minister said in response to two questions in Lok Sabha, related to payment of dues and penalties.
"These amounts (license fee) are provisional and subject to revision in light of the Hon'ble Supreme Court judgment dated 24.10.2019," the ministry said.
The minister added that the Indian telecom operators owe the government nearly Rs 1.47 lakh crore in license fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC). Of this, license fee amounts to Rs 92,642 crore as of July this year, while SUC stood at Rs 55,054 crore as of October end this year.
Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the House that Vodafone Idea has an outstanding dues of 53,038 crore, of which Rs 28,309 crore in LF and Rs 24,730 crore in SUC. Bharti Airtel dues are nearly Rs 35,586 crore (Rs 21,682 crore as LF and Rs 13,904 crore as SUC). The licence fee dues of Telenor and Tata Group of companies stood at Rs 1,950 crore and Rs 9,987 crore, respectively.
The Supreme Court had on October 24 upheld Department of Telecommunications' (DoT) demand that non-telecom revenues should be part of the annual Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR). As a result, telcos have no option but to pay Rs 92,642 crore to the government as statutory dues over the next three months.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar with PTI inputs