Montek disagrees with CAG on 2G spectrum

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) Like the Congress and others inthe ruling dispensation, Planning Commission Deputy ChairmanMontek Singh Ahluwalia has disagreed with official auditor CAGon the calculation of a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crorein the alleged 2G spectrum scam.

"We have not made calculations of what would havehappened if we had gone for revenue maximisation... What theComptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has done is not, in myview, the correct way of doing it," Ahluwalia said on TV newschannel CNN-IBN''s ''Devil''s Advocate'' show.

Questioning the approach adopted by the CAG forcalculating the losses, he said it is not very fruitful to gointo the question of how much money could have been raised,because the emphasis of the Telecom Policy since 1999 has notbeen on revenue maximisation.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had recently slammed the CAGfor its projection of a Rs 1.76 lakh crore presumptive loss onaccount of the allocation of 2G spectrum, terming itsmethodology as "utterly erroneous."

He said there was "no loss at all" to the exchequer dueto allocation of licences and 2G spectrum in 2008.

The Congress Party has also thrown its weight behindSibal and criticised the CAG for its audit methodology. Italso questioned the leakage of the report before it was tabledin Parliament.

Ahluwalia said focusing on the "revenue losses"contradicted the entire policy of the government, which wasaimed at extending mobile services across the entire country.

Asked about the alleged windfall gains made by newtelecom operators -- Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless -- hesaid, "This money did not go to the promoters, it went intothe new companies and is meant to be used to roll-out telecomservices."

"They did not sell their equity. They expanded the equityof the company and brought in new people. That''s not the samething," he added.

Talking about the first-come-first-serve method adoptedby former Telecom Minister A Raja for allocation of airwaves,he said, "You can always have a first-come-first-serve withtighter rules of eligibility. If we were doing another systemwhich was non-auction, I would not do it on first-come-firstserve."

"I would do it on qualifying players according toweightage given to technical capacity. That''s the sensible wayof doing it," he added.

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