Supreme Court Approves Government Plea; Orders Telcos To Pay AGR Amount

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In another setback for telecom operators, the Supreme Court (SC) has approved the government appeal of recovering adjusted gross revenue amounts from Airtel, Vodafone, and Reliance Communications. According to the PTI report, SC has dismissed all the submissions made by telecom operators, and now they have to pay Rs. 92,000 crore as a penalty to DOT.

 
Supreme Court Orders Telcos To Clear Dues Worth Rs. 92,000 Crore

"We have held that the definition of AGR will prevail," Justice Vineet Saran and S Ravindra Bhat, was quoted by PTI. Furthermore, SC clears that there is no need for further legal procedures on the issue. To recall, this year in July the government informed the SC that there are dues of Rs. 92,000 crore on telecom operators.

The report states that DOT has also filed an affidavit in the court. As per the submitted affidavit, Airtel has to pay a debt of Rs. 21,682.13 crore as a license fee to the DOT. Vodafone has to pay Rs. 19,823.71 crore, while Reliance Communications have to pay Rs 16,456.47 crore.

In fact, both BSNL and MTNL owe Rs. 2,098.72 and 2,537.48 crore, respectively. For the unaware, the AGR has two parts, i.e spectrum usage charges, and licensing fees. And, it has been calculated on the revenue of the telecom operators.

Meanwhile, industry body COAI expresses its deep disappointment on judgment and intimated the telecom industry is already under debt of Rs. 4 lakh crore and this will definitely impact governments' plans for Digital India. Likewise, both Vodafone and Airtel informed that it will have damaging implications on the telecom industry.

"The Supreme Court's judgment is the last straw in contributing to financial distress and it remains to be seen whether the industry will be able to recover from this setback. The immense financial pressure on the sector will also adversely impact 'Digital India' rollout," Rajan S. Mathews, director-general of COAI, told the news agency.

 
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