This government is more keenon proving the CAG wrong than putting key sectors back on track
It will take many years for the telecom industry to recover from A Raja’s corrupt policies.
IT’S NOT often that you see a person rejoicing at his own misfortune. But this is exactly what the Congress leaders seemed to be doing on the evening of 14 November, when they appeared on television channels celebrating the government’s failure to generate high revenue from the auction of 2G spectrum. Against the target of 40,000 crore set by Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, the two-day bidding process received bids only worth 9,407 crore. The flop show has conclusively shown, argued the Congress, that the CAG’s estimates of the notional loss from the 2G scam were erroneous. But if at all the debacle of the 2G auction shows anything, it proves that the telecom industry would take many years to recover from the damage inflicted by A Raja’s corrupt and unconstitutional policies. While some of the harm, particularly the loss of revenue to the government, would never be reversed.
Consider these facts: In 2007, there were 575 applicants. In the just- concluded auction, the number of applicants didn’t even cross the double-figure mark. In 2007, there were 240 million existing subscribers with at least 750 million Indians who had yet not switched to mobile phones up for grabs. Today, the potential new customers number between 40 and 100 million. Because between 2007 and 2012, more than 600 million untapped subscribers have already bought the mobile connections. More than 90 percent of them have gone to the incum-