Govt not included AGR dues payment in Budget 2020-21: DEA Secretary

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The government has not included AGR dues payment in the Budget 2020-21, Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty said on Monday.

It is pertinent to mention here that 15 entities owe the government about Rs 1.47 trillion in past dues -- Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee and another Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges.

"AGR dues payment has not been taken into account in the Budget," Chakraborty said at a post Budget event in Ficci.

Sources, meanwhile, said that past AGR or statutory dues payments have not been included as the matter is in the court. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Tata Teleservices have jointly filed a modification application in the Supreme Court seeking more time to pay their statutory dues.

They indicated that spectrum auction component may have been included in the receipts although the same could not be confirmed.

The government on Saturday increased the revenue estimate from the debt-ridden telecom sector by over two-folds to Rs 1.33 trillion for 2020-21. The government, in the receipt budget, has pegged a revenue collection of Rs 1,33,027.2 crore for financial year 2020-21 under communications head.

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

The Supreme Court, in October last year, had upheld the government's position on including revenue from non-core businesses in calculating the annual Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) of telecom companies, a share of which is paid as licence and spectrum fee to the exchequer.

In the case of Bharti Airtel, the liabilities add up to nearly Rs 35,586 crore, of which Rs 21,682 crore is licence fee and another Rs 13,904.01 crore is spectrum usage charge dues (not including the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices).

Airtel, which recently raised $3 billion through Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) and convertible bonds route, is scheduled to announce its third quarter results on Tuesday.

Vodafone Idea, which is staring at unpaid statutory dues of Rs 53,038 crore, including Rs 24,729 crore of spectrum dues and Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee, has already warned of shutdown if no relief is given.

Most of the remaining liability is with state-owned BSNL/MTNL and some of the shut/bankrupt telecom companies.



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