AGR dues paid by telcos to reflect in FY20 revenue receipts: Report

On Tuesday the three telecom operators — Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea paid Rs 6,095 crore in total from past spectrum auction dues

Government will account the paid AGR revenues, which is so far Rs 25,896 crore, as revenue receipts in the current fiscal that will help the Finance Ministry tide over the tax revenue shortfall expected in FY20 to some extent, sources said.

The AGR amount may also go up till the end of this fiscal (March 31, 2020).

Though officials said the amount was not much to have any bearing on the fiscal position.

Government had not accounted for this figure in the 2020-21 Budget as it was in dispute but since this part amount has been received in the current fiscal, it will be on a revenue receipt as these are actual receipts, and any futuristic projections from sub judice cases cannot be done.

Then there is the Rs 6,095 crore spectrum auction dues from past auctions paid by the telcos on Tuesday that is already accounted for as the non-tax revenue, so it will not have any bearing on the fiscal positions, said sources.

For FY20, the fiscal deficit is already pegged higher at 3.8 per cent. The non tax revenue stands at Rs 2,52,083 crore in the April-Jan period. Fiscal deficit has touched 128.5 per cent of budget estimate by January-end.

Revenue receipts during April-January were at Rs 12.5 trillion or 67.6 per cent of the Revised Estimate (RE) for 2019-20. The government data said that total expenditure at January-end was Rs 22.68 trillion or 84.1 per cent of RE, higher than 81.5 per cent in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.

The RE has pegged the target for collection of direct taxes for the current fiscal, which ends on March 31, at Rs 11.70 trillion.

On Tuesday MoS Anurag Thakur told Rajya Sabha that the government has collected Rs 7.52 trillion direct tax from April 2019 to January 2020. On Tuesday the three telecom operators -- Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea paid Rs 6,095 crore in total from past spectrum auction dues.

Separately Tata Teleservices paid Rs 2,000 crore as reconciliation amount towards AGR which took the total AGR dues so far paid by the telcos to Rs 25,896 crore.

Last month Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty had said that the government has not included AGR dues payment in the Budget 2020-21. "AGR dues payment has not been taken into account in the Budget," Chakraborty said at a post Budget event in FICCI.

Any statutory dues payments like AGR are not included as the matter is in court, officials said.

The Finance Ministry expects a revenue of Rs 58,686.64 crore under communications head in the current fiscal year revising the budgeted amount of Rs 50,519.8 in 2019-20.

The government increased the revenue estimate in Budget from the debt-ridden telecom sector by over two times to Rs 1.33 trillion for 2020-21, which mainly relate to the license fees from telecom operators and receipts on account of spectrum usage charges, the budget document explained.


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