Now that Dayanidhi Maran has exited the communications ministry, another member of his party is likely to step in. Why should coalition politics restrict the choice of candidates? The DMK’s next nominee may well not fit the bill, or worse, may be even more regionally oriented—note that a significant share of new investment in telecom went south during Maran’s tenure.
The larger issue is that turf wars of various kinds happen when the government is too involved in a sector to be truly fair—more so, when monopolistic state-owned players are in the fray. Why have so many line ministries as we do in the key sectors of telecom, mines, et al? For enabling competitive markets, the answer lies in independent regulators working along with a truly capable competition commission. Only in areas with equity implications, such as universal service and subsidies for rural telephony in telecom, may policy shaping by a centralized ministry across sectors be needed.