December 7, 2019 | 2:23 PM IST
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Centre defers payments by 2 years for telcos giving relief of Rs 42k cr

In a major relief for the financially ailing telecom companies, the Cabinet on Wednesday handed Rs 42,000 crore by postponing spectrum dues by mobile operators for the next two years. The relief for fiscal 2020-21 and 2021-22 was handed by a recommendation by a committee of Secretaries. The announcement about the same was made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The extension on dues will give Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio the much-needed cash in hand till they make the next spectrum payment to the government in fiscal 2022-23.
The FM while making the announcement said, “In view of the current financial stress faced by major telecom service providers and in pursuant of the recommendations by the Committee of Secretaries (CoS), it is decided to defer receipts of spectrum auction instalments due from the TSPs (telecom service providers) for the years 2020-21 and 2021-2022.”

The minister added, “These deferred amounts will be equally spread over the remaining instalments to be paid by the telecom companies without any increase in the existing time period specified for making the instalment payments.
Despite the suspension in dues, the telecom companies will have to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) based on the Supreme Court’s judgement on October 24.  Relief in the matter can only be given by the top court. Meanwhile, the centre has also asked operators to make cooperative efforts to relieve stress.

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