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Supreme Court’s AGR ruling | All’s well that ends well

The Supreme Court has chosen to tread the middle path between ensuring that telecom companies pay up, while also trying to accommodate their legitimate concerns

September 01, 2020 / 08:57 PM IST

The Supreme Court has chosen the middle path in its judgment on the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) issue. On Tuesday, the apex court allowed telecom operators 10 years to pay up dues related to AGR.

A three-judge apex court bench directed telecom operators to make 10 percent upfront payment of their AGR dues, and the timeline for staggered payments will start on 1 April 2021.

The news may not be good for Vodafone Idea Ltd, who along with Bharti Airtel had sought for 15 years to repay the amount. While Bharti Airtel may not be affected much by the judgement, Vodafone Idea with its stretched balance sheet may find it difficult to survive.

As per Bharti Airtel’s assessment, it owes Rs 13,004 crore to Department of Telecommunication (DoT) which it has already paid along with Rs 5,000 crore in ad-hoc payment. DoT, however, has assessed Bharti’s dues at Rs 43,780 crore.