The BJP after coming to power appears to have taken a U-turn from its earlier stance during the 2G spectrum controversy over the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)’s authority to question the government’s policy decisions.
The Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had sought the NDA government’s views on CAG’s report no 20 of 2015. Probing the merger, the audit body observed: “The merger without any cost benefit analysis of the proposal in 2005 for the CMTS/UAS Licence resulted in undue benefits to the select telecom operator to the tune of Rs 499.35 crore.”
After CAG recently pointed out “undue benefits to the tune of Rs 499.35 crore” in the 2005 merger of Chennai Metro and Tamil Nadu Telecom Circles, the telecom ministry said “the policy decision of the government in public interest cannot be linked to financial advantage/disadvantage to any group of service providers as the matter is administrative in nature”.
This reply, to many observers, sounded similar to the UPA ministers’ argument to refute CAG’s report that cited notional loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the 2G spectrum allocation. Then the UPA managers had argued that the government’s policy served public interest and that calculation of notional loss was not possible.