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Updated: November 19, 2012 03:17 IST

Is there a method to the ‘flop show’?

K. T. Jagannathan
Comment (3)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Kapil Sibal
Kapil Sibal

Tricky situations demand intelligent solutions. The country, however, has been treated to some desperate innuendos, bordering on utter disregard for established constitutional institutions. The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has come under attack from the ruling class in New Delhi in the wake of the 2G auction fiasco. “Where are those Rs.1.76 lakh crore?’’ demanded Kapil Sibal, the Telecom Minister. Put on the mat by the CAG for causing huge loss to the exchequer in the 2G spectrum auction in 2008, the going turned messier for the UPA Government when the recent auction elicited disappointing response. Instead of looking at ‘righting’ the situation, the blame is sought to be put on “sensationalism” by CAG and the media! “The hen that laid the golden egg has been destroyed,” Sibal went on to add. Is the “auction flop” being used as an excuse to condone the past wrong-doings in the telecom field? Much water has flown under the bridge since the halcyon days when telecom was a fascination for all kinds of investors. Nevertheless, the recent 2G auction flop show and the avoidable “outbursts” of the minister in its wake induce an element of doubt in everybody’s mind. Is there a method to the ‘flop show’?

Like CAG, the Reserve Bank of India, too, has come under intense pressure. When the apex bank, much to the chagrin of the fiscal mandarins, did not reduce the policy rate, the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, “The government will walk alone”. By saying so, he sort of revealed his upset mind. There have been not-so-subtle suggestions to the Governor to rethink on the RBI stand on the policy rate. The recent spate of avoidable public interludes between the Government and the heads of Constitution-backed institutions show up the entire system somewhat negatively. This is not doing well either to the country, in general, or to the economy, in particular. What is required is co-operative co-existence and not demonstration of one-upmanship.

jagannathan.kt@thehindu.co.in

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The advantages of the 2G FLOP SHOW could be:

GOVT: (i) prove soundness of past Govt policy (ii) discredit CAG (iii)
question wisdom of auctioning scarce resources ordered by SC (iv)
subtly interfere with court enquiries even get allegations of
corruption quashed (v) confuse electorate and strengthen the
foundation for future such action, etc.

TELCOs: (i) maximise profit by paying as little as possible (ii) get
‘un-bid’ licences at nil/throw-away prices (iii) lower floor price for
any future auction of spectrum (iv) sow doubts about the feasibility /
wisdom of future auction of other natural resources eg coal (oil,
gas?) (v) do the Govt a ‘big favour’ for a ‘big quid pro quo’ soon
(before 2014), etc.

The disadvantages:

GOVt: Loss of credibility? is there much to lose?

TELCO: Does anything matter, as long as the money keeps rolling in?
It is for readers to believe there was no foul play or to chose
between conspiracy and cock-up theories!

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Nov 19, 2012 at 07:13 IST

Are we seeing here the dangerous a fall-out of an arrogance of power? It is the duty of the institution of CAG to keep a close watch on the financial transactions of the government to find out whether these are in accordance with the requirements of the law and univerally accepted norms and report its findings to parliament.In whichever way one looks at it,the government's way of dealing with the CAG doesn't augur well for the country.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 19, 2012 at 06:46 IST

Typical of the Congress to blame its ham-handed handling of issues on someone else. Since the Government did not get the money they expected, CAG is to be blamed and 2G protoganists Raja, Kanimozhi and Chidambaram needs to absolved of all that was done by them.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Nov 19, 2012 at 05:48 IST
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