Government nets Rs 32k crore from telcos since SC rebuke

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NEW DELHI: The crisis in the telecom sector is turning into quite a windfall for the exchequer, with the government netting nearly Rs 32,000 crore, including Rs 6,046 crore as statutory spectrum payments, in just 18 days after the February 14 reprimand by the Supreme Court over the payment of AGR (adjusted gross revenue) dues. Of this, Rs 8,046 crore came in this week, with the Tata group submitting Rs 2,000 crore towards the AGR demand on Monday, with Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio paying Rs 6,046 crore towards their statutory spectrum payout on Tuesday.

Against the Rs 1.47-lakh-crore AGR dues raised by the telecom department and thereafter ordered by the top court, the government has received nearly Rs 26,000 crore, leaving scope for more to be paid before the next date of hearing in the Supreme Court on March 17.
The government has budgeted for Rs 59,000 crore from the sector, including revenue from licence fee and spectrum charges. This year, the Centre will get additional funds as AGR. Telecom ministry officials said they expect companies to pay in line with demands raised on them, instead of giving out lower self-assessed numbers. Airtel and Tata have made it clear that money they have paid is above their own estimates .

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