Indian telecom operators owe the government nearly Rs. 1.47 lakh crores in licence fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC) and there is no consideration for a waiver, the Communications Ministry told Parliament on Wednesday.
Of the total amount, the licence fee comes to Rs. 92,642 crores as of July this year, while SUC comes to Rs. 55,054 crore as of October-end this year.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea hold the majority of the dues. For Bharti Airtel, dues are around Rs. 35,586 crores — Rs. 21,682 crores as LF and Rs 13,904 crores as SUC excluding Tata Teleservices and Telenor — while for Vodafone Idea they amount to Rs 53,038 crores, of which Rs. 28,309 crores is LF and Rs. 24,730 crores in SUC.
“The Supreme Court upheld the definition of ‘gross revenue’ and ‘adjusted gross revenue’ as enumerated in the Licence Agreement. The court has directed to make the payments of due amounts within three months and report the compliance,” the ministry said in response to two questions in Lok Sabha, related to payment of dues and penalties.
“These amounts (licence fee) are provisional and subject to revision in light of the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment dated 24.10.2019,” the ministry added, indicating that the total dues could be higher than the Rs. 1.47 lakh crores figure.
On the question of whether the government has proposed to provide a waiver for penalties and interest on the non-payment of license fee on AGRs by carriers and whether the government is considering to extend the time limit for the payment of licence fee, penalty, interest and other dues, the ministry said: “No such proposal is under consideration of the government as on date.”