New Delhi: The ministry of communication on Thursday hit out at the finance ministry for questioning the process it adopted for setting the guidelines for so-called 3G, or third-generation, mobile-phone services, saying the policy announcement was made after due consultations and consistent with the Cabinet’s decision.
No deviation: Minister for communications and IT A. Raja. Photograph: Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
Responding to a communication from finance secretary D. Subbarao, telecom secretary Siddartha Behura shot off a strongly-worded letter on Thursday, saying it was “surprising that the ministry of finance has now decided to express its reservations on procedural aspects.”
Asked about the issues raised by the finance ministry, telecom minister A. Raja dismissed the possibility of a delay in auctioning 3G spectrum, or airwaves, saying: “As we promised, 3G auction will take place within the scheduled time. There will not be any deviation from the announced guidelines.”
Charging that the finance ministry was not consulted on the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) guidelines on the auction and allotment of spectrum for 3G telecom services, Subbarao said: “The issue of guidelines without any consultations with the finance ministry, either within the forum of Telecom Commission or outside, is inappropriate and contrary to the Cabinet decision.”
Behura said in his letter thatan inter- ministerial committee has already been set up to oversee the spectrum auction in which the finance ministry has nominated its representative.
The government expects to garner up to Rs40,000 crore from the auction of spectrum for 3G services.