Deloitte India makes presentation to telecom department on AGR dues

Deloitte India on Tuesday made a presentation to the department of telecommunications (DoT) on liabilities and solutions on the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. The consultancy firm briefed the Centre on the possible solutions to the AGR payment issue.

When asked about the contents of the presentation, a DoT official said, “We had not asked for the presentation, they had come to us with their solution.”

Meanwhile, amid the ongoing AGR crisis, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran met communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday. The ministry, however, maintained that it would issue notice to the company for non-payment of full dues. Another DoT official said, “We are not convinced by their self-assessment of the AGR dues and will again send a notice.”

Emerging from the meeting, which lasted for over 30 minutes, Chandrasekaran declined to comment on the details of his discussion. The crucial meeting comes at a time when the government is looking to issue detailed notice to Tatas for paying only Rs 2,197 crore as full and final settlement against the government's calculation of Rs 14,000 crore. A notice will be sent to the company in a day or two, questioning the company’s AGR calculation.

In all, 15 entities owe the government Rs 1.47 trillion in unpaid statutory dues – Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee and another Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges. 

Of the estimated dues that include interest and penalty for late payments, Airtel and Vodafone Idea account for about 60 per cent. These dues arose after the Supreme Court, in October last year, upheld the government’s position, including revenue from non-core businesses in calculating the annual AGR of telecom companies. 

A share of this is paid as licence and spectrum fee to the exchequer. The Supreme Court rejected a plea by mobile carriers such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea earlier this month seeking an extension in the payment schedule and asked the companies to deposit their past dues for spectrum and licences.

Vodafone Idea, which is confronted with Rs 53,000 crore in statutory dues as per DoT's calculation, has so far paid only seven per cent of those dues in two tranches. Airtel paid Rs 10,000 crore out of its DoT estimated liability of over Rs 35,000 crore.  Airtel, on February 17, had said the company “is in the process of completing the self-assessment exercise expeditiously and will make the balance payment upon completion, before the next date of hearing in the Supreme Court.”

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