Sibal again blames SC, CAG and media for spectrum resale flop
04 April 2013Communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal has reiterated his frequent charge that India's Supreme Court is at fault for forcing the resale of 2G telecom spectrum when the market was not ripe, and thus leading to lower realisations for the government in the November 2013 spectrum auction.
"Till some time back, telecom was the golden goose, which laid golden eggs. The Supreme Court ensured that the golden goose will never lay a golden egg again at least for a little while," Sibal said in an address at the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industries.
The Supreme Court had in February 2012 cancelled 122 telecom licences awarded in 2008 under the then telecom minister Andimuthu Raja on the ground that they were given arbitrarily, causing a huge loss to the exchequer.
Once again criticising the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for its estimate of a loss of Rs1,76,000 crore due to the mis-sale of spectrum, he said no one has benefited by the headline-grabbing activism of the CAG.
"Consumer tariffs have gone up. So, the consumer has not benefited. The sector is under a debt of Rs2,50,000 crore. So the sector has not benefited. The government has got Rs1,000 crore (from fresh 2G auctions). So the government has not benefited. I would like to know who has benefited from this," he said.
Sibal went so far as to admit that decision-making in the government has slowed down due to a fear of court action, and a senior cabinet minister like him fears signing papers.
"I personally, sitting in that chair, fear signing something because I do not know what is going to happen in courts five years from now. This has happened since 2010; and CAG and the most independent media in the world has led to all this," Sibal said.
Sibal also blamed the courts for making it difficult for systems in the country to function in the matter of economic policy making.
"If courts were to involve themselves in economic policy and determine the future course of any particular sector in the economy, we are in dire trouble because courts do not have the experience, nor do they have the means to learn from experience," he said.