Telecom Sector

AGR Dues: Telcos Get 10 Years’ Time for Payment, 10 Percent to be Paid by March 2021

The Supreme Court of India has allowed telcos to pay AGR dues within 10 years, while NCLT can decide on the sale of spectrum

The Supreme Court has allowed telecom companies, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea, ten years’ time to pay AGR dues. The Department of Telecommunication (DOT) had filed a plea in the top court to allow telcos pay their adjusted gross revenue in twenty years. However, the Apex Court clarified that no revaluation with regards to AGR dues will be allowed. Telcos, who seem to have been given this relaxation due to COVID-19, need to deposit the first installment of 10 percent of their dues by 31 March 2021.

SC also added that in case there is any default in making payment of annual installments, the offence would be considered punishable by court and interest would become payable as per agreement along with the penalty. Furthermore, the adjusting bank guarantees provided by the telcos need to be kept functional until payments have been made. Other payments need to be paid before the first week of February every year, said the court.

In the meanwhile, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) will be allowed to decide on the sale of spectrum. The Supreme Court Bench that announced the decision in this regard comprised of Justices A Abdul Nazeer, Arun Mishra and MR Shah.

The demands being made by the government in terms of AGR dues are Rs 370 billion from Bharti Airtel, Rs 440 billion from Vodafone, and Rs 130 billion from Tata. However, Reliance Jio is at the safest position in this crisis by having made its full payment of Rs 195 billion by the court-ordered 23 January deadline.

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