Saturday, December 1, 2012

UPA Government's Honesty

Pic : courtesy - The Free Press Journal

Recently the UPA govt has proved its honesty by auctioning the 2G spectrum.It could get only around 9400 crores in the auction whereas the CAG Vinod Rai gave a report with a presumptive loss of around 1.76 lakh crore.How harsh and unfortunate was Vinod Rai?Because of his report the entire nation was angry on this issue and everyone were mocking Raja and the Congress govt.

Some months ago,even our IT minister Kapil Sibal claimed '0' loss in spectrum allocation.Actually he was wrong.He could have even gone one step further and said,the then UPA govt(in 2008),received profits in spectrum allocation.We all know Kapil Sibal is an intelligent man.And here comes another 'brainy guy' Mr.Digvijaya Singh.

"The CAG should reconsider how far its estimate was right with regard to the report, which it had earlier given and the losses that it had computed (in spectrum allocation two years ago)," Singh said.This he said,a day after the recent spectrum auction. - source.

And we have the grand old politician of India - 'Kalaignar' Mr.M.Karunanidhi.He questions,'did Raja commit any mistake in spectrum allocation?' - full article.Dravidar Kazhagam leader Mr.Veeramani is campaigning about the spectrum allocation in support of former telecom minister Mr.Raja.

It's a real pleasure to see these many intelligent and honest people in India and that too in politics.So what for we are still waiting?The much hyped spectrum auction couldn't fetch the expected amount,so as per the theory of these intellectuals,there were no irregularities at all in spectrum allocation and CAG committed a blunder.Then why was Mr.Raja arrested?Why was Mrs.Kanimozhi arrested?The charges against Raja,Kanimozhi,Sharad Balwa etc., can be dropped right?But it cannot be dropped.Because there are some questions for which no satisfactory answers are available.

Raja claims he followed his predecessors in spectrum allocation.Yes the NDA govt followed the first come first serve policy.I myself have blogged about this 2 or 3 times.When NDA allocated spectrum on FCFS basis,the no. of cellphone users was too less and in 2008 cellphones has become a matter of necessity from luxury.But still the then UPA govt preferred FCFS policy.The congress govt is known to follow their predecessors,but only when they are 'comfortable' with it.

So for the sake of an argument we assume that there is no flaw in the FCFS policy.But why did Mr.Raja advance the cut off date all of a sudden?Why the cut-off date was advanced to September25,2007 suddenly, which was supposed to be October1,2007?

"He also introduced a cut-off date of September 25, 2007, for considering applications though only the previous day a DoT press release had said October 1, 2007, would be the last date"  - source

And still some people were able to pay some 1000s of crores and get the license.How was this possible for them? So can we assume that, those who paid the money on Sep25th itself, knew that 25th will be the last date for considering applications?If the answer is yes,how?If no,then how could they pay such a huge amount within few hours?

These are all old questions.Everything has become a matter of past.So let us come back to present tense. The govt says,it got only around 9400 crores after the spectrum auction.Why the auction flopped?

"The auction failed because of the government’s inability to understand the current market. Things would have been better had the government been more sensitive to the current market realities. It erred in not putting on auction the entire spectrum freed up by the apex court and ended up setting an unrealistically high base price in a hurry to make up for the resultant shortfall in revenue. " - courtesy The New Indian Express.

Interestingly, Mr.Subramanian Swamy made a sensible tweet as follows :

Subramanian Swamy: "2G Auction news show media as Pavlov dogs. In just 22 licence areas the govt today reaped Rs 9500 crores. In 122 in 2008 govt got 9280 cr."

Can there be an irresponsible government than this UPA govt?It only seems that the govt has auctioned the 2G spectrum only to justify their 'controversial' decisions.Rightly the Supreme Court slammed the government for not putting the entire spectrum into auction.Even the planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia says it was a mistake to have high reserve price for the spectrum.And still intellectuals question the credibility of the CAG Vinod Rai.Fact is the govt couldn't bare with the honesty of the CAG Vinod Rai.And that's why the government is planning to make the CAG as a multi-member body.Narayanasami may claim he was misquoted, but the intentions can be clearly observed.

One can very well argue that sometimes the CAG's report doesn't consider practical difficulties.But in this case, atleast, I don't find any practical difficulty and the amount quoted by the CAG itself is presumptive and not exact. The claims of intellectuals and pro-government spokespersons that there were no irregularities in spectrum allocation is laughable.

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