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.

Tehelka - - 20 - BY ASHISH KHETAN

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-

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