New Delhi, Nov 16: The government is mulling whether to again auction the circles for which there were no takers during the recent sale of 2G spectrum, said Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal. The "intent" is to have another auction in four circles including Delhi and Mumbai before Mar 31, he told newspersons here today.
About the just-concluded auction getting bids worth just Rs 9,407.64 crore as compared to the Centre's expectation of at least Rs 28,000 crore, Sibal said that the consumer had not benefitted from the process.
He averred that the result would have been worse had the government followed the recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the base rate for 2G auction.
Stating that "Revenue cannot be the sole criterion of policy" as the dynamics of market keep on changing, Sibal rued, "The telecom story is no longer a story we can share with the world. People ask me the question, what happened? And quite frankly, I have no answers."
"All I can say that certain events took place and there was a level of sensationalism that took over and the government was, in a sense, limited in its policy prescriptions and had to move forward in a certain way which ultimately has resulted in what we have seen couple of days ago," he said.
Sibal added that an Empowered Group of Ministers will soon take a decision on the proposed auction in 2013.
At the same press conference, Finance Minister P Chidambaram described the Comptroller and Auditor General's estimate of Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss in the 2G scam as "pure myth". The government is "not celebrating" the fact that this week's auction of 2G spectrum had flopped, he said.
Sibal pointed out that besides the Rs 9,407.64 crore revenue from the auction, the government will get an additional Rs 7,936 crore when one-time fee is levied on the telecom operators holding spectrum beyond a prescribed limit. The finance minister noted that "there will be substantial net gain."