Modi does a U-turn on auction: No more sale of natural resources, spectrum
The #BJP-led government is completely reversing its stand. When UPA was in power they had demanded auctions for coal, telecom and stalled the Parliament; now they claim auctions against country
In the midst of the reports of Nirav Modi looting our nationalised banks, we seem to have missed completely the news that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Government is planning to dump the much-hyped policy of auction of natural resources, the issue over which it brought down the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
The Niti Aayog Chairman Rajiv Kumar revealed the government’s plan at a conference jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Institute of Economic Growth on February 14. He said the government is rethinking its approach to spectrum auctions. In his words, “this is the beginning of a process whereby you don’t try and always maximize government revenues … you may want to maximise development by bringing in greater benefits to citizens or to the private sector
Kumar declared, “We have not done the famous spectrum sales (recently, that is in this financial year ) and there is a rethinking in the Government, I think about how to use natural resources for revenue raising and for economic development. I think there will be a new telecom policy, I believe it is on the anvil. This is a beginning of a process whereby you don’t try and always maximise government revenues through natural resources. Instead you may want to maximise the development by bringing in greater benefits, if you like to citizens or private sector, who are the users of these natural
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Government is out to dump the much hyped policy of auction of natural resources, the issue over which it
brought down the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and dubbed Manmohan Singh’s government and the then PM corrupt.
The Manmohan Singh government had allocated the spectrum and coal mines based on first-come-basis and had earned the ire of the then Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, quite clearly now at the instance of the BJP, accusing the UPA government of incurring a “presumptive” loss of 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer because the spectrum were not auctioned. After that, the Supreme Court had cancelled the licences of those who had won the licences.
The BJP along with other parties including the Left, chiefly the CPI(M), went to town accusing the UPA government of 2G scam and pushing the then Telecom minister A Raja, a DMK nominee to jail and convincing the people at large that this was the biggest scam ever in the history of modern India.
Similar allegations were leveled regarding the allocation of coal mines by the previous government and that was described as the coal scam. The BJP refused to allow the two Houses of Parliament to run for several consecutive sessions. Vinod Rai became a hero who hurriedly encashed on his new found popularity by churning out the tale of his “crusade against corruption” titled “Not Just an Accountant: The Diary of the Nation’s conscience keeper.”
The perpetual compulsive litigant Subramanian Swamy ran to the Supreme Court to seek its intervention and the Court promptly responded by virtually castigating the UPA government as corrupt and striking down the allocation of both the spectrum to the telecom operators who spent crores buying it and also those who got the coal mines. Never mind the losses the people of the country suffered in sheer tariff terms, which went up automatically. That apart, the mobile telephony which was rapidly expanding throughout the country suddenly slowed down causing immense losses to the new operators who had now bought the spectrum at a higher premium and had naturally to recover this from the subscriber.
It was evident to any one who had the sense to apply his mind for a minute. But who cared then. Vinod Rai, has not spoken a word after the CBI court has thrown out the CBI charge against Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi disdainfully regretting that the CBI brought no credible evidence to prove its charge of any wrong doing on the part of the
The perpetual compulsive litigant Subramanian Swamy ran to the Supreme Court to seek its intervention and the Court promptly responded by virtually castigating the UPA government as corrupt and striking down the allocation of both the spectrum to the telecom operators who spent crores buying it and also those who got the coal mines. Never mind the losses the people of the country suffered in sheer tariff terms, which went up automatically.
The fact of the matter remained that the decision to do away with the auction of spectrum and instead go for revenue sharing was taken by the first NDA government and by none other than the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who briefly held the telecom portfolio. Since then several ministers handled telecom in the NDA government including Arun Shourie whose financial integrity, nobody dare question. None reverted to auction. Yet that Vinod Rai chose to raise a finger only against the UPA Government.
Similarly the decision to not auction coal too was taken jointly by a committee consisting of several state government representatives including those from Rajasthan led by the BJP and West Bengal then led by the CPM who all opposed auction and preferred some government control over natural resources rather than sell these at a high price to earn big money. But the blame went on the then Prime Minister
They all cried, “corruption, corruption, corruption!” Anna Hazare came, Baba Ramdev came. Kiran Bedi came, General V K Singh came Narendra Modi made this an election issue. Much later he made a cheap remark in Parliament against Manmohan Singh insinuating that Singh too was corrupt and just last month he again accused the Congress of being corrupt. All because it carried on with the policy of no auction on
the strength of wide ranging expert advice including the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA).
But today the same Modi and his Government is happily declaring that auctioning natural resources is not in the interest of the citizens and more significantly the private sector. Why? Because the private sector groaning against the losses is failing to expand and therefore not able to return the huge loans it had borrowed from the banks which
resulted in rising non-performing assets of the banks, bringing the banks to the point of bankruptcy. That’s when they take a U turn and say they would not auction the spectrum henceforth. Where is Vinod Rai, where is Anna Hazare, where are Kiran Bedi and General V K Singh today? Can we hear any of them accuse this Government of corruption after all the huge scams much bigger than what the UPA was accused in
its four year tenure? No because all that was an RSS orchestrated campaign to bring down the UPA government.
- Supreme Court
- Baba Ramdev
- Subramanian Swamy
- Kiran Bedi
- Modi government
- Anna Hazare
- Arun Shourie
- General VK Singh
- Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
- private sector
- Niti Ayog
- Dr Manmohan Singh
- CBI Court
- Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
- A Raja
- former CAG Vinod Rai
- natural resources
- spectrum sale
- 2 G scam