National

Oppositions alleging on baseless issues: Manoj Sinha

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2019 Published on January 16, 2019

CAG did not take cognisance of facts and has now clarified, says Telecom Minster

Reacting to various allegations and misinterpretation of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on microwave spectrum allocations to Reliance Jio and Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) without any auction, the government on Wednesday felt that the Central auditor has not taken cognisance of various facts.

“The CAG is a constitutional body and we respect it…sometimes some reports come due to lack of information on certain facts. We have given our response to the report and it (CAG) has also issued a clarification on the report,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters here. He said the Opposition is making a big issue of a baseless and unsubstantial subject. “The allegations, I want to say with utmost sincerity, are baseless and unsubstantial. I think some people have come into a habit to put allegations even after the Supreme Court order…they try to allege faults in the work which have been done transparently. I think these childish and petty allegations are politically motivated,” he said.

The development comes after a CAG report submitted to the Parliament last week noted that allocation of microwave spectrum was done on a first-cum-first-served (FCFS) basis and not through an auction, to an operator, in 2015. To which, Department of Telecom (DoT) clarified that there were two operators — Reliance Jio and SSTL — as per TRAI recommendations, SC order of 2012, administratively. “TRAI had also recommended it, and the DoT notified its policy in 2015. From all the applications that we received, we gave all the valid applications -- options via our website (that this is our condition) – in future if the government takes some other decision, you will have to pay us with retrospective effect. I think only two companies had applied for it, and they were allocated backhaul spectrum administratively,” Sinha said.

Deferred spectrum liability

On another allegation of deferred spectrum liability by oppositions, Sinha strongly defended and said that the government aimed to provide support to the financially-burdened sector and that too at a tune of ₹3,65,357.22crore for the proposed 16 years compared with ₹2,90,951.22 crore for 10 years. “I want to say that because of this, the government got additional ₹76,446 crore. If the period was 10 years, govt would have received ₹2,90,951.22 crore. Under the proposed arrangement, the government is receiving ₹3,65,397.23 crore,” he said.

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Published on January 16, 2019
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