The CAG has pointed out that the department of telecommunications (DoT) did not seek approval from the telecom commission before it permitted CDMA players Reliance and Tata to offer GSM services in the country.
The telecom commission was introduced when Sam Pitroda was advisor to the prime minister on the technology mission. The idea was to form a central body that would have representation from all relevant departments. It is headed by the DoT secretary, and has member (finance), member (services) and member (technology) as members.
There is also a full telecom commission, which has the finance secretary, the planning commission secretary and the industry secretary as its members. It is also headed by the secretary, DoT.
The CAG may be pointing out irregularities in not referring to the telecom commission, but the fact of the matter is that the body has largely been rendered irrelevant.
In view of the fact that the DoT secretary heads the telecom commission, over the last 10 years the body has lost its significance. “No major decisions have been sent to the telecom commission,” said B K Syngal, former CMD of Videsh Sanchar Nigm Ltd (VSNL).