The Telecom Industry in India has been facing massive financial distress as the telco giants are suffering to pay their AGR dues. Earlier, the government directed all the telcos to pay their AGR dues without any future delays. Telecom operators such as Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and other stressed telcos have just paid Rs 26,000 crore towards AGR payments in the form of ad-hoc payment and buffer amount. However, the current total AGR dues of Telcos stands at Rs 1.47 lakh crore which needs to be clear before the final hearing scheduled on March 17 by the Supreme Court. To help the distressed telcos and maintain the backbone of the telecom industry, the government is planning to roll out a relief package which will offer staggered payment mechanism for default AGR dues along with relief measure in license fees which would revive the telecom industry from financial burden and liabilities.
Rescue Package will Relief the Stressed Telcos
As per a Times Now report, Union Cabinet might approve the rescue package for stressed telcos which would include a staggered payment schedule. Also, a whiffle payment schedule will help the telco giants to clear off their AGR dues without any added hassle. However, telcos might need to pay interest on the whiffle payment mechanism.
As of license fees, the government might follow the recommendations by Trai and lower the interest rate, which currently stands at 8%. The government might also work on the self-assessed amount by telcos as there is a massive three times difference between the AGR dues mentioned by DoT and telco giants.
Telcos Self-assessed Dues Creates Tension for the Government
As per DoT, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have to pay Rs 53,000 crore and Rs 35,000 crore respectively towards AGR dues. However, as per the self-estimation, Vodafone Idea has marked that their self-assessed AGR dues stand at Rs 23,000 crore out of which Rs 7,000 crore is the principal amount. Whereas, Bharti Airtel has marked that their self-assessed AGR dues will not cross Rs 18,000 crore. Till date, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have paid Rs 3,500 crore and 18,004 crores to DoT towards AGR dues.