During November 2007 and January 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja exchanged correspondence on a range of issues relating to the policy of allocation of 2G spectrum. The exchange happened weeks after the advancement of the deadline for receipt of applications from October 1, 2007 to September 25, 2007.
Among the issues raised and discussed in the letters were the processing of a large number of applications for fresh licences, enhancement of subscriber-linked spectrum allocation criteria, and permission to CDMA service operators to provide services on the GSM standard too.
On November 2, 2007, Dr Singh, while forwarding to his colleague a note of unattributed authorship listing a number of “key issues,” requested him to give “urgent consideration” to the issues with a view to “ensuring fairness and transparency.” In his response on the same day, Mr Raja, who had, earlier in the day, sent another letter to the Prime Minister, insisted that there was no single deviation or departure from rules and procedures and his Ministry was maintaining “full transparency.” In continuation of this correspondence, Mr Raja sent one more letter on December 26, 2007 in which he had referred to his “subsequent personal discussions” with the Prime Minister on “various issues related to [the] Telecom sector.” He also mentioned that he had “several discussions with the External Affairs Minister [Pranab Mukherjee], who is also heading GOM on vacation of spectrum on these issues.”
The letters exchanged between Dr Singh and Mr Raja, which we reproduce here, make interesting reading — for the telecom issues they focus on, for revealing the external pressures and inputs that influence policy-making, and for the privileged insight they offer on the dealings between a Prime Minister and a Cabinet colleague in a coalition set-up.
The letters must be read in sequence from top to bottom. Click below for the link:
Keywords: 2G spectrum scam