Telecom firms owe over Rs.92,000 Crores to Government of India

Government informs Supreme Court till date Telecom firms owe 92,000 crores

Government informs Supreme Court till date Telecom firms owe 92,000 crores
Government informs Supreme Court till date Telecom firms owe 92,000 crores

The Department of Telecom (DoT) on Monday informed the Supreme Court that leading private telecom firms like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and state-owned MTNL and BSNL have pending license fees outstanding of over Rs.92,000 crores till date.  DoT filed the affidavit of huge dues to the apex court in a case related to telecom firms and Telecom Tribunal.

Airtel owes Rs.21,682.13 crores as license fees to the Telecom Department.  Dues from Vodafone totaled Rs.19,823.71 crores while Anil Ambani’s defunct Reliance Communications owed a total of Rs. 16,456.47 crores, DoT said. The State-owned BSNL owed Rs.2,098.72 crores while MTNL owed Rs.2,537.48 crores to the public exchequer.  The total amount which has to be recovered from all the telecom firms accrues to Rs.92,641.61 crores as on date, said DoT.

Details of unpaid License fees by firms
Details of unpaid License fees by firms

As per the New Telecom Policy, telecom operators are required to share a percentage of their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) with the government as an annual License Fee (LF).  In addition, mobile telephone operators were also required to pay Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) for the use of radiofrequency spectrum allotted to them.

In 2016, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had caught six telecom companies for not paying and hushing up more than Rs.45000 crores to the public exchequer. The telecom firms’ fraud was caught by the auditing agency after inspecting their revenues during the period 2006 to 2010. After the 2G Scam, the CAG decided to audit the revenue of all telecom companies as they are mandated to share a portion of revenue to Government as per licensing agreement.  All Telecom companies approached Delhi High Court and Supreme Court to prevent CAG from auditing them and lost the case.

The  CAG report was tabled in the Parliament on March 11, 2016. Recommending the government to check the revenues of telecom companies from 1999, the CAG in its report exposed that from 2006 to 2010, six major operators had under- invoiced Rs.46045.75 crores resulting in a tax loss of Rs.12488.93 crores to the exchequer. The apex auditor caught Airtel, Tata, Reliance Communications, Idea, Vodafone and Aircel for hushing up their revenues to evade mandatory remitting of a portion of the revenue to the Government, which was collected from people.

Details of unpaid taxes by Telecom firms
Details of unpaid taxes by Telecom firms

The detailed audit report has devoted one chapter for each telecom company’s revenue during the four years and tax evasion. Among the total tax evasion of more than Rs.12488 crores, Reliance Communications evaded Rs.3728.54 crores and Tata evaded Rs.3215.39 crores. CAG found Airtel evaded Rs.2651.89 crores, followed by Vodafone (Rs.1665.39 crores), Idea (Rs.964.89 crores) and Aircel (Rs.262.83 crores).

These incidents clearly show that private majors are misers when it comes to paying tax to the Government, even after collecting the money from the public.

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  1. Sir, It shows how the private operators are looting the govt. and people. BSNL/MTNL owe only 5000 in total. It is a pity that GOVT is not suporting BSnl/MTNL. The PVT Operators owe banks of almost 5 lakh crores. Why Reliance is being allowed to offer cheap rates? infact let them clear the dues and then offer to the public cheap rates.

  2. # Dues to DOT ! It’s Public Money ! The Courts can SUO MOTO, initiate action. Even, any Indian Citizen can initiate action. I lack funds for the same. A PIL is a best option.

  3. # Shall / Can we call them, ” Shameless Rich. ” Govt. is struggling, to allocate for Welfare Measures. Health, & Education, have become Good Business. Will India remain a Welfare State, n it’s True Sense, or only on Paper?!

  4. And these entities are merrily, with impunity, fleecing the consumers/tax payers to enjoy their unwritten right to unjust enrichment? This goes to indisputably establish the fact that the stakeholders in the country–the taxpayers, the citizens–have absolutely no right at all in any respect and a class of people continues to enjoy total freedom to loot them inter alia by making profits on their hard earned incomes put in the custody od PSBs or handed over to the govt by way of taxes. This royal loot of the people is being allowed by a most indulgent system of govt without any reservation and restraint.

  5. Does FM aware about collection of dues from IT Dept. Or is it CAG role to bring it to Public domain.
    Something is wrong?

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