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DoT to do reassessment based on AGR docs given by telcos; issue revised demand notices

New Delhi: The telecom department will carry out reassessments on the basis of documents submitted by telcos on self-assessment of AGR dues as per licence agreement, and issue revised demand notices, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) have been directed to make payments on the basis of self assessment and submit requisite documents for compliance, Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

"Following this, Department of Telecom (DoT) will carry out reassessments on the basis of documents submitted by TSPs in accordance with the licence agreement and issue revised demand notices," he said. Dhotre was replying to a question on whether DoT is yet to work out final figures of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) liabilities towards the service providers due to variation detected in accounting practices, and steps that the government has taken to rework the dues.

To another question on whether the government is considering to work on relief package for TSPs and if a Committee of Secretaries has been constituted in this regard, the minister said, "no such proposal is under consideration by the government."

On another AGR-related query, Dhotre said after the Supreme Court judgment of October 24, 2019, the dues were crystallised and telcos have made some payments (totalling Rs 25,901 crore).

DoT has also directed the operators to make remaining payments through letters on 13.11.2019, 20.01.2020, 14.02.2020 and 04.03.2020, he said.

Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, replying to a question on industry's demand to raise telecom tariffs, said a few major private TSPs have represented to the government regarding the financial stress in the telecom sector.

"They have also represented to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The tariff regulation is under the purview of TRAI. Presently, the fixing of tariffs is under forbearance and TSPs decide their respective tariffs," he said.

Prasad further said besides the telcos, Cellular Operators' Association of India has sought the intervention of the telecom regulator regarding the measures to increase revenue of the telecom sector.

TRAI has issued a consultation paper on 'Tariff issues of Telecom Services' on December 2019.

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