EGoM to decide on spectrum levy

With the finance ministry and Planning Commission voicing strong opposition, the Cabinet on Tuesday referred to a ministerial panel the proposal to levy a one-time, auction-determined, fee for all airwaves or spectrum held by existing telecom operators.

Finance ministry, under the charge of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was opposed to the Department of Telecommunications [DoT] proposal seeking change in licence conditions of existing telecom operators midway to levy a one-time auction-determined price for all spectrum they currently hold.

The Cabinet headed by Singh decided to refer the proposal to the Empowered Group of Ministers [EGoM] that is currently debating on spectrum auction, government sources said.

While the EGoM in normal course is the final decision making authority as in case of auction of spectrum vacated by the Supreme Court cancelling 122 telecom licences, the panel’s decision on the one-time levy would come back to the Cabinet in form of recommendation.

The Cabinet will take a final call based on the EGoM recommendation as the terms of reference of ministerial panel do not include decision on one-time spectrum charge, they added.

Sources said Planning Commission as well as the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion was opposed to the DoT proposal as the move may be considered retrograde and lead to hike in telecom tariff.
Next Story
Share it