The government has argued that it has a stake in the Ambani gas dispute because natural gas is a national resource that is being used by a private company for a fee.
The same can be said about other resources such as telecom spectrum and mines where supply is naturally restricted and the industrial structure tends towards oligopolies. So it is very important that the rights to use these resources are given out in an open and transparent manner.
The way 2G telecom was given out in 2008 led to a huge revenue loss to the government exchequer. We had called in these columns for the removal of telecom minister A. Raja for his role in the controversial decision to give rights based on who applied first rather than to the highest bidder. It is good that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been put on the job, though belatedly. CBI searched department of telecommunications offices last week.
Open auctions and transparent revenue-sharing deals are the only long-term solutions.