Spectrum scam and bullet proof vests
Remember the mumbai police and the commandos. Remember that many of them died because of our lack of investment in state of the art combat gear and training. You may also have heard about the little spectrum scam. Read on as I attempt to make a tortuous connection between the two.
There is a little flurry of activity in the court about this little spectrum scam.
Today, the government filed its response to the Delhi High Courts notice. The response itself is a bunch of meaningless words conveying nothing. Read it here. Stripped of layers of fat, the essence of the argument is this :
Had spectrum been auctioned, it would not have been possible to collect the higher usage charges of the order of 2-6 per cent and a maintenance and administration cost which, typically of the order of 0.5 to one per cent, could now be recovered in a judicial manner.
Source : The Hindu
In other words, the government is not denying the loss of Rs 55,000 crores. It is merely saying that it can make money annually in little chunks. This is the classic red herring. Service/Usage charges are an entirely different topic, you can charge market price for spectrum AND derive usage charges. The question in front of us is ” Did you lose Rs 55,000 Cr today ?”
Let switch to the Progoti Blog for a really good response.
Their deconstruction of all the arguments put forth by the government is simply outstanding. It has been a while since I read something quite like it. Keep it up guys.
For Raja’s logic to hold, (a) it must be the case that these ‘spectrum usage charges’ and ‘administration and usage’ charges can’t be levied on spectrum on which the correct price has been paid; and (b) the revenue that is gained each year in perpetuity from the spectrum that was given away almost free must be more than the Rs 55,000 crore that has been foregone.
And a snippet that drives home the size of this scam.
As is well-known, Raja gave away 2G spectrum for a song earlier this year and, after token resistance, Singh okayed this since no price was too high for his government’s survival, more so since the price was being paid by the exchequer. This price, we now know was around Rs 55,000 crore, or an amount that’s more than that earmarked for buying defence equipment this year.
Source : http://www.pragoti.org/node/2401 (Emphasis mine)
Thats right ! The size of the scam is greater than the amount we are going to spend on all defence purchases this year. We can probably give each commando a bullet proof humvee and still have some money left over. How do you think this will make those who wear substandard bulletproof vests feel ?
Yet this story will hardly make a ripple in the media. Why ? Mr Raja has already passed the buck to Mr Singh and Mr Chidambaram, both media darlings. The matter has reached a dead end.
We have absolutely no disagreement with the Finance Ministry over the spectrum and licence fee. We are working in consultation with each other and all decisions have been taken with prior permission of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh”.
Source : ITExaminer
The Congress is trying to steer clear of the scam. They must not be allowed to, but they will. Mr Raja must not become the scapegoat, but he will. He has kept the PM and FM in the loop in every step of the 2G spectrum allocation. If any wrongdoing is found, the PM and FM must also be forced to answer to the public.
More in a later post. Meanwhile check out Barbarindians’ take on it.
I have googled high and low for the website of Swan Telecom. I cant find it.
How many $2 billion companies in the world do not have a website ?
Can you guys locate their site ? Leave a link in the comments section.