DoT still working on final calculation of pending AGR dues

The Department of Telecom is still working on final adjusted gross revenue dues that service providers have to pay as it has detected variation in accounting practices adopted by different circle offices, according to official sources.

The licence finance wing of the telecom department (DoT) on February 3 issued a letter with guidelines to all Controller General of Communication Accounts to reconcile AGR dues and asked them to give 15 days time to operators for the submission of appeals and documents related to deductions they make in the final payment, sources said.

The letter was a follow up to a previous note sent by the licence finance wing on December 4 and a follow-up on December 13 to the circles for re-verification of debit voucher reports (DVR).

"The department has been facing a challenge in carrying out the revised assessments due to various issues related to DVRs. Telecom operators, including Airtel and Vodafone Idea, have challenged many DVRs.

"Also, circle offices have not adopted uniform practice in accounting. The DoT has asked them to re-verify DVRs at the earliest in the light of Supreme Court judgement," an official source said.

Telecom operators have been submitting two separate audited details of deduction towards interconnection usage charges and roaming fee to the DoT. In one set, deductions have been claimed by telecom operators on a paid basis while on an accrual basis on the other.

"DoT noticed that many Controllers of Communication Accounts have been cherry picking the figures claimed by telecom operators in their final DVRs. In some cases, DoT guidelines regarding deduction verification issued in 2014, 2015 and 2016 have not been followed. There have been cases where one CCA has allowed one kind of deduction and another has disallowed," the source said.

According to estimates prepared by the DoT, Airtel owes nearly Rs 35,586 crore, including licence fee and spectrum usage charges, to the government.

Vodafone Idea is staring at dues worth Rs 53,000 crore, which includes up to Rs 24,729 crore of spectrum dues and another Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee. Tata Teleservices owes around Rs 13,800 crore, BSNL Rs 4,989 crore and MTNL Rs 3,122 crore.