DoT Interpretation of AGR Dues Payment Timeline Different from Airtel and Vodafone Idea

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Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has approached the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for seeking his opinion on the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues payment timeline. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) have said that they have already paid more than 10% advance on the dues as per the Supreme Court’s (SC) order. But according to an ET Telecom report, DoT believes otherwise. Thus the government body is out seeking professional legal opinion on the matter to rule out any confusions relating to the payment timeline of AGR dues that exist between the telcos. More details on the story ahead.

DoT Says Telcos Need to Pay 10% Advance Before March 31, 2021, Telcos Say, Already Paid

Bharti Airtel and Vi had AGR dues of over Rs 43,980 crore and Rs 58,254 crore respectively. Out of which, Airtel has paid Rs 18,004 crore, and Vi has paid Rs 7,854 crore already. Thus the telcos have told DoT that they have paid more than the 10% advance due before March 31, 2021.

But DoT is under the impression that according to the SC order, the telcos needed to pay the 10% advance on the remaining amount due and not on the total amount due this year. But the telcos have refrained from accepting this definition of the order from DoT and have said they are only liable to pay the next instalment on March 31, 2022.

DoT said that the SC was aware of the payments that the telcos have already made on their AGR dues. Thus the order meant for the telcos to pay 10% advance on the remaining dues and the rest of the amount would be distributed in the next 10 years.

Since the telcos and DoT couldn’t come to a consensus, the government body has sought for a professional legal opinion from Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on the same. The SC had asked the telcos to pay the 10% amount in the current financial year (FY). But leaving the amount paid by Vi in July this year, the telcos made most of the payments in the previous FY.

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