Spectrum auction: Focus on revenue overlooking govt's effort, says Montek

Spectrum auction: Focus on revenue overlooking govt's effort, says Montek New Delhi: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia Thursday said that too much focus on spectrum auction has overshadowed the achievements of the government in the telecom sector.

"This whole focus of how much the auction will realise completely misses the point of what the government has done by way of establishing a telecom policy that is transparent, widely accepted and provide a boost to growth in telecom," he said in an interview to private newschannel.

Ahluwalia said this in response to a question on low realisation from the recent spectrum auction.

Government has set target to garner Rs 40,000 crore for spectrum during 2012-13 to bring down fiscal deficit but it has been only able to realise Rs 9,407.64 crore from the auctions that were conducted in November 2012.

He further said that "focus on how much the auction will achieve is not important. What is key is that the government... Switched to what is visibly a totally, transparent method of allocation. What is important is that telecom sector is poised to move forward."

Noting that there is no rule to fix reserve price, Ahluwalia said, "the price is actually going to be fixed by the auction and I agree that if we had chosen a reserve price that lead to the failure of the auction, we would have made a mistake."

Trai had recommended around 10 times high spectrum price at around Rs 18,200 crore for 5 Mhz of pan-India spectrum, compared to Rs 1,658 crore that companies last paid in 2008 for pan-India business.

PTI