Cabinet Refers One-time Spectrum Issue To Empowered Group of Ministers

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Cabinet Refers One-time Spectrum Issue To Empowered Group of MinistersThe Department Of Telecommunications had proposed to levy a one-time spectrum charge from incumbent operators for the remaining period of their licences. 

The Cabinet has decided to refer the issue to Empowered Group of Ministers after the move which was opposed by Finance Ministry, Planning Commission and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The meeting was headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Without taking any decision on the proposal to charge a one-time, auction-determined fee for spectrum held by existing telecom operators, the cabinet referred the issue to the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM). "The cabinet has referred the issue of one time spectrum fee to the EGoM has to send its recommendations back to the cabinet," a government official said after the cabinet meeting.

According to the sources in the Department Of Telecommunications, three proposals were presented to the cabinet.

a) Levy a fee on spectrum held 6.2 MHz.

b) Levy one-time fee on all airwaves held by existing telecom companies.

c) Impose a fee on airwaves held beyond the start-up spectrum of 4.4 MHz.

As of now it is not clear when the Empowered Group of Ministers meeting would take place. A meeting scheduled for Monday was postponed earlier and by the evening its new head, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar even opted out of the panel.

Everyday there is a new twist in the story, so we have to wait and see what really comes out of it.

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