Carriers owe government nearly Rs 1.47 lakh crore: Telecom Ministry

Airtel and Vodafone Idea hold the majority of these liabilities, which the DoT has sought through a process started last week. For Airtel, dues are around Rs 35,586 cr - Rs 21,682 cr as LF and Rs 13,904 cr as SUC excluding Tata Tele and Telenor - ...

NEW DELHI: Indian carriers owe the government nearly Rs 1.47 lakh crore in license fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC), the communications ministry told the Parliament Wednesday. Of the total amount, license fee comes to Rs 92,642 crore as of July this year, while SUC comes to Rs 55,054 crore as of October end this year.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea hold the majority of the liabilities emanating from these dues, which the department of telecommunications has sought through a process started last week. For Bharti Airtel, dues are around Rs 35,586 crore – Rs 21,682 crore as LF and Rs 13,904 crore as SUC excluding Tata Teleservices and Telenor – while for Vodafone Idea they amount to Rs 53,038 crore, of which Rs 28,309 crore in LF and Rs 24,730 crore in SUC.

“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 communications ministry said in response to two questions in Lok Sabha, related to payment of dues and penalties.


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“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 added, indicating that the total dues could be higher than the Rs 1.47 lakh crore figure.

On the question of whether the government has proposed to provide a waiver for penalties and interest on the non-payment of license fee on AGRs by carriers and whether the government is considering to extend the time limit for the payment of license fee, penalty, interest and other dues, the ministry said: “No such proposal is under consideration of the government as on date.”

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A Committee of Secretaries under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary has held meetings to discuss the issues relating to the stress in the sector, the ministry said, adding that the debt of the industry including that of tower companies was Rs 7.8 lakh crore as of August 2017.
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