In a major relief to telecom operators, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a moratorium of two years for spectrum payments. The move to defer payments for 2020-21 and 2021-22 will give Rs. 42,000 crore relief to Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio. The move was approved by the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
The development has come hours after Union Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Parliament that it was not considering any proposal to waive penalties and interest on outstanding licence fee dues of telcos neither it will extend the timeline to pay up their statutory dues.
The minister was replying to specific questions asked by parliamentarians on whether the Modi government proposes to provide a waiver for penalties and interest on the non-payment of license fee on adjusted gross revenue (AGRs) by telecom operators and also on whether it is considering extending the time limit for the payment of license fee, penalty, interest and other dues.
Prasad said that the provisional outstanding of the 16 telecom service providers on account of license fee stood at a cumulative Rs 92,642 crore and added that this amount was subject to revision in light of the Supreme Court's October 24 ruling on AGR case.