Government Well Aware Of Implications If Telecom Industry Is Left Without Relief: COAI
New Delhi: Industry body COAI said on Friday that the government is well aware of the implications of leaving the stressed telecommunications sector without an aid package as it urged policymakers to use available “tools,quot; to find appropriate solutions expeditiously.
“The industry urgently needs relief measures and we urge the government to find appropriate solutions expeditiously and resolve the issue,” said Director General of the Association of Cellular Operators of India (COAI), Rajan Mathews.
On Wednesday, the trial court rejected telecom companies’ self-assessed adjusted gross income (AGR) quotas and ordered them to pay the principal along with interest and penalties.
He declared that non-payment of quotas would amount to contempt of court.
“The government can exercise the available tools and move forward on that basis,” Mathews said.
Telecommunications companies such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata are in trouble, as their combined self-assessment of government quotas is Rs 82.300 crore below what the telecoms department calculated after the Supreme Court decision about AGR.
The higher court lashed out at telecommunications companies for trying to reopen the quotas owed to the government through the self-assessment exercise.
A bank of justices Arun Mishra, S A Nazeer and M R Shah declined to accept the Center’s request to allow telecom companies to pay AGR fees in 20 years, saying the request will be withdrawn after two weeks.
“The 20-year term is not reasonable. Telecommunications companies have to pay all the fees mentioned in the judgment,” the bank said, adding that it had paid all AGR fees after listening to the telcos and the government had fought tooth and nail for interest and penalties
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), according to its own submission to the higher court that was recently seeking relief on payment tenure, has put the quotas of the three companies – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Group – at Rs 1.19 lakh crore.
The estimated quotas by DoT for Bharti Airtel and Telnor stood at Rs 43.98 billion, while that of Vodafone Idea was Rs 58.254 billion, and the group of companies Tata at Rs 16.798 billion outlined under “Total DoT demand which incorporates CAG and special audit in October 2019 “.
Against this, the Bharti group has calculated their shares at Rs 13,004 crore, Vodafone Idea at Rs 21,533 crore and the Tata group of companies at Rs 2,197 crore.
In total, the AGR quotas calculated by the government for 16 entities add up to Rs 1.69 lakh crore, while the self-assessment of the telecommunications companies places their quotas at just Rs 37.176 crore.
These fees arose after the Supreme Court, in October last year, confirmed the government’s position on the inclusion of non-core business income in the calculation of the annual AGR of telecommunications companies, a part of which is paid as spectrum license and fee to the treasury.
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