India Markets open in 1 hr 56 mins

AGR issue: COAI ignores member Jio's protest; seeks waiver

New Delhi: Ignoring its member Reliance Jio's contentions, telecom industry association COAI has shot off an 'addendum' to its earlier demands and has now sought a complete waiver of statutory dues that its other members such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea owe to the government following the Supreme Court ruling.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) director-general Rajan S Mathews on October 31 shot of a second letter in as many as days to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad seeking waiver of the "entire" amount of Rs 1.42 lakh crore due to its principal members Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Ltd and other telecom operators "given the poor financial state of the sector."

The Supreme Court on October 24 upheld the government's position on including revenue from non-telecommunication businesses in calculating the annual gross revenues of telecom companies, a share of which is paid as licence and spectrum fee to the exchequer. It directed the telcos to pay the principal due together with interest and penalties within three months.

"However, if such a step (complete waiver of all dues) is not possible, we request that the government waive off the interest, penalty and interest on penalty.

Since the disputed payments go back to accumulation over the past 14 years, we request that the principal repayment of past dues be done over a period of 10 years, with a two-year moratorium," he wrote.