Vodafone Idea writes to DoT, seeks staggered payment, lower taxes

Aashish Aryan
Vodafone Idea AGR payment, Vodafone Idea DOT Supreme court, indian express news

The company, which had a revenue of Rs 36,858 crore in FY19 , is seeking refund of over Rs 8,000 crore.

Facing an adjusted gross revenue (AGR) payout of more than Rs 53,000 crore, Vodafone Idea Wednesday wrote to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) seeking certain relief measures such as lower tariff and refund of goods and services tax (GST) dues worth nearly Rs 8,000 crore, sources aware of the development told The Indian Express.

The telco has sought certain measures such as lower tax and spectrum usage charges, as well as expedited payment of its GST refund of the last financial year.

The company, which had a revenue of Rs 36,858 crore in FY19 , is seeking refund of over Rs 8,000 crore.

In its letter to the DoT, the company also sought a payment schedule for staggered payment of AGR dues, and an extended moratorium on payment of licence fees, the sources said.

Vodafone Idea has so far paid Rs 3,500 crore, half of its self-calculated principal AGR dues, and is looking at other avenues to raise funds for full and final payment. It has also been under the scrutiny of rating agencies, which believe that the telco does not have the ability to pay the required AGR dues by March 17.

Talks of the company’s bank guarantees being encashed by the DoT, in case it fails to make the payments, have also been doing the rounds.

The company’s Mumbai-based chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla had over four days last week met various DoT officials, including Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash.

Earlier, he had also met Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Following the Supreme Court’s February 14, 2020, rap during the hearing on a modification plea filed by telecom and non-telecom companies, Vodafone Idea had said it was ready to clear the AGR dues it owed to the DoT.

In a filing with exchanges on February 15, the company had said that though it would pay the amount so assessed by it within “the next few days”, the continuance of the company as a going concern was dependent on the outcome of its modification plea for the order, which had asked the companies to pay the AGR dues within three months.