‘2G spectrum cannot be used entirely for money-making, as in the case of 3G'

Union Information Technology and Communications Minister A. Raja has said that the law will take its own course regarding the allegations over irregularities in the 2G spectrum auction.

“Be it the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister or any other Minister, it is a universal fact that action will be taken against anybody found guilty,” Mr. Raja said, adding that he was prepared to take action on people in his department if any instance of corruption was found.

Responding to queries from journalists after inaugurating the fifth edition of the World Telecommunication Development Conference here on Monday, Mr. Raja said 2G and 3G were two totally different things and that 2G could not be used entirely for money-making, as in the case of 3G.

“The 3G auction is like basmati rice, whereas the 2G is like PDS rice, highly subsidised,” he said.

“Auction as per rules”

Stating that the auction of 2G spectrum was conducted in accordance with rules and recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Minister said the recommendations were being examined by the Prime Minister's Office and the Finance Ministry.

On the auction of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum, which commenced on Monday, Mr. Raja said the Centre was expecting to earn more than Rs.15,000 crore as licence fee.

Coming close on the heels of the 3G auction — where the government secured more than Rs.67,700 crore — the BWA is expected to see an intense competition as 11 players are competing for two slots with a base price fixed at Rs.1,750 crore.

Addressing participants of the conference earlier, Mr. Raja said the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) would facilitate faster development of human, social and economic sectors.

Digital divide

Stressing upon the need for efforts to bridge the digital divide, the Minister, however, cautioned stakeholders to remain vigilant about the possible misuse of ICT by some disgruntled elements for misconceived objectives and notions.

Elaborating on the application of space technology that is being utilised in communication, broadcasting and distance education, Mr. Raja said the technology neutral policy adopted by the country opened the telecom sector to a variety of technologies and equipment from across the world.

“The domestic industry, on its part, is spearheading the transformation from legacy systems to state-of-the-art digital systems in line with the objective to make India a hub for telecom manufacturing,” he said.

More In: Economy | Business | News | National