06-Feb-2012

"Playing 'God' with Spectrum"


The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the former Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in power then, never really thought it would lose the Parliamentary elections in 2004. But if it had had some inkling of the impending defeat and wanted another tilt at power, it couldn't have thought of a better ‘Trojan Horse' for the successor government to fiddle around with than the much criticised ‘first come first served' (FCFS) policy of handing out additional ‘spectrum' to mobile telecom operators.
Sounds far fetched? Not really. Consider the evidence. Up until then, it had been a well-settled principle of administrative law that the State cannot dole out any largesse to any section of society, except under the most objective or equitable principles.
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Yet, here was a conscious policy decision taken to give out radio frequency spectrum to mobile telephony operators when even canteen contracts in obscure railway stations are awarded through open tender.
Good overall summary  of the telecom saga.

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