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Crucial auction of telecom spectrum kicks off today

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  4 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, March 3: The fince ministry is expected to closely watch the e-auction of radio frequency spectrum, our airwaves, for telecom operators that commences on Wednesday, seen as crucial for the government to be able to meet its fiscal deficit target of 4.1 percent of GDP. A mock auction was conducted Tuesday. “It went off smoothly. We are all set for tomorrow,” a senior official in the Department of Telecommunications told IANS.

The government is being advised on the process by Mjunction Services, an information technology and internet company promoted 14 years ago as a 50:50 venture by Steel Authority of India Ltd and TATA Steel.

The reason why the auction is crucial for the government is: It has budgeted for Rs.43,161.72 crore non-tax receipts under “other communications”, which includes proceeds from this process, entry fee from new operators and related levies.

Accordingly, collections from spectrum assume greater significance since the fiscal deficit target of Rs.512,628 crore, as per the revised budget estimates has already been breached in the first 10 moths of this fiscal, as pr the official auditor.

The latest data by the Controller General of Accounts shows that the deficit during April-January 2014-15 was Rs.568,000 crore, reaching thereby nearly 110 percent of the origil budget estimate. In 2013-14, the government was able to garner Rs.40,113 crore from communications. In the latest round of auctions, a total 103.75 MHz has been earmarked in the 800MHz band, 177.8 MHz in 900MHz band, 99.2 MHz in 1,800MHz band and 5MHz in 2,100 MHz band. (IANS)

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