No Proposal To Waive Penalty, Interest On Telecom Firms’ Licence Fee Dues: Ravi Shankar Prasad
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. (Source: PTI)   

No Proposal To Waive Penalty, Interest On Telecom Firms’ Licence Fee Dues: Ravi Shankar Prasad

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There is no proposal before the government at present on waiver of penalties and interest on outstanding licence fee payments based on adjusted gross revenue, or on extending the timelines for telecom companies to pay up their statutory dues, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

"No such proposal is under consideration of the government as on date," Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

He was responding to specific questions on whether the government proposes to provide a waiver for penalties and interest on the non-payment of license fee on AGRs by telecom operators and also on whether it is considering extending the time limit for the payment of license fee, penalty, interest and other dues.

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The minister said the Committee of Secretaries under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary had held meetings to discuss the issues relating to the stress in the telecom sector.

The total debt of the telecom industry, service providers and tower companies combined, stood at Rs 7.87 lakh crore as on August 2017, he noted.

The provisional outstanding of the 16 telecom service providers on account of license fee stood at a cumulative Rs 92,642 crore, Prasad said, adding that the amounts are provisional and subject to revision in light of the Supreme Court ruling on AGR matter on Oct. 24.

As per the information provided by the minister, the licence fee dues of Vodafone Group (along with Idea Cellular) stood at Rs 28,309 crore, while that of Bharti Airtel Group of companies was at Rs 21,682 crore (and that of Telenor and Tata Group of companies at Rs 1,950 crore and Rs 9,987 crore respectively).

"The Government has directed the TSPs (telecom service providers) to make the payment in accordance with the order of the Supreme Court dated Oct. 24, 2019 and submit the requisite documents to ensure the compliance within the stipulated timeframe," the minister said.

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