After Supreme Court dismissed review petitions by various telecom compes challenging its judgement in the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) case, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Thursday said that the sector is again "deeply disappointed" as it is currently reeling under a debt of Rs 4 lakh crore.
"While we respect the Hon'ble Supreme Court's order dismissing the industry's review petition of AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) matter, the telecom sector is again deeply disappointed. The sector, which is currently reeling under a debt of Rs 4 lakh crore, is a key contributor to the Indian economy in terms of consumer benefit, employment, revenue generation and contributes 6.5 per cent to the GDP," said Rajan S Mathews, DG COAI, in a statement.
The Association said that the telecom sector is already facing heavy taxes and levies in the range of 29 per cent to 32 per cent, which are globally the highest.
"The Supreme Court's dismissal of the review petition is the last straw in contributing to financial distress and it remains to be seen whether the industry will be able to recover from this setback," it added.
The COAI further said that the apex court's order will add financial pressure on the sector will also adversely impact Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Digital India.
As per the top court's direction, the compes have to pay pending AGR dues to the Department of Telecommunications by January 23.
In a major setback to telecom compes, the Supreme Court had on October 24 last year, had rejected the Telecom compes appeal against the Centre's definition of AGR, and asked these Telecom compes -- Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and many others --to pay more than Rs 90,000 crores to the Centre by January 2020.
Telecom compes had then moved the apex court and filed a review petition seeking an open court hearing on the same.
( With inputs from ANI )