New Delhi: The government may postpone the auction of radio spectrum for third-generation (3G) telephony, expected to add Rs35,000 crore to the exchequer, to the fiscal year starting 1 April.
According to officials in the department of telecom who did not want to be named, law minister Veerappa Moily, who is a member of the empowered group of ministers (eGoM), has said that the auction should he held when the spectrum is available.
Waiting game: The auction may take place in Aug-Sep, around the same time the defence ministry had agreed to vacate spectrum. Hemant Mishra / Mint
Telecom minister A. Raja could not be contacted immediately for his comments. Officials, however, said that the auction was expected to take place in August-September. It is pertinent to mention that the ministry of defence had agreed to vacate the spectrum only during the middle of 2010.
The eGoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, had decided to allow four private telecom firms for 3G services and had made a provision for garnering up to Rs35,000 crore from the sale of airwaves in the current fiscal.
The postponement of 3G spectrum auction to 2010-11 is likely to have some adverse impact on the government’s finances and fiscal deficit, which is pegged at 6.8% of the gross domestic product.