Supreme Court saves telecom companies from bankruptcy, allocates 10 years to settle arrears

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Time to pay the outstanding spectrum and license fee (AGR).

 

Bankruptcy was hanging in the air. From there, the Supreme Court gave a big lifeline to the telecom companies. The apex court on Tuesday ruled that 10 years would be allotted for the payment of spectrum and license fees (AGR) of about Rs 1.6 lakh crore.

A division bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra directed that 10 per cent of the arrears due to coronavirus should be settled by next year. Telecom companies will be able to repay the remaining amount in multiple installments by March 31, 2031. However, those agencies that fail to comply with the directive will be punished for contempt of court.

It is to be noted that the Centre’s telecom office receives huge sums of money from major telecom companies including Vodafone Idea and Airtel. Vodafone Idea at one time owed Rs 58,254 crore for AGR. Of this, they have settled more than Rs 7,000 crore. On the other hand, Bharti Airtel had arrears of Rs 43,980 crore. They still have to pay Rs 25,976 crore.