Montek disagrees with CAG on 2G spectrum
Like the Congress and others in the ruling dispensation, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has disagreed with official auditor CAG on the calculation of a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the alleged 2G spectrum scam.delhi Updated: Jan 16, 2011 12:44 IST
Like the Congress and others in the ruling dispensation, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has disagreed with official auditor CAG on the calculation of a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the alleged 2G spectrum scam.
"We have not made calculations of what would have happened if we had gone for revenue maximisation... What the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has done is not, in my view, the correct way of doing it," Ahluwalia said on TV news channel CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate show.
Questioning the approach adopted by the CAG for calculating the losses, he said it is not very fruitful to go into the question of how much money could have been raised, because the emphasis of the Telecom Policy since 1999 has not been on revenue maximisation.
Telecom minister Kapil Sibal had recently slammed the CAG for its projection of a Rs 1.76 lakh crore presumptive loss on account of the allocation of 2G spectrum, terming its methodology as "utterly erroneous."
He said there was "no loss at all" to the exchequer due to allocation of licences and 2G spectrum in 2008.
The Congress Party has also thrown its weight behind Sibal and criticised the CAG for its audit methodology. It also questioned the leakage of the report before it was tabled in Parliament.
Ahluwalia said focusing on the "revenue losses" contradicted the entire policy of the government, which was aimed at extending mobile services across the entire country.
Asked about the alleged windfall gains made by new telecom operators -- Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless -- he said, "This money did not go to the promoters, it went into the new companies and is meant to be used to roll-out telecom services."
"They did not sell their equity. They expanded the equity of the company and brought in new people. That's not the same thing," he added.
Talking about the first-come-first-serve method adopted by former telecom minister A Raja for allocation of airwaves, he said, "You can always have a first-come-first-serve with tighter rules of eligibility. If we were doing another system which was non-auction, I would not do it on first-come-first serve."
"I would do it on qualifying players according to weightage given to technical capacity. That's the sensible way of doing it," he added.