CAG finds shortcomings in spectrum management

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found various shortcomings in spectrum management by the telecom ministry

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found various shortcomings in spectrum management by the telecom ministry that has led to losses to the government exchequer.

The auditor found that a set of spectrum was allocated to a telecom operator in 2015 on the first-cum-first-service (FCFS) basis in contravention to the recommendations of a committee, while 101 applications for microwave (MW) spectrum were pending with the government.

The CAG in its report said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) constituted a committee in December 2012 to look into the allotment of spectrum in various categories of spectrum users and proposed that the spectrum allotment in microwave band to all the operators should be done through market-related process -- auction.

Instead of doing through market-related process ( auction), allocation of MW access spectrum has been done on FCFS basis till date.

Microwave access (MWA) spectrum is allocated to telecom operators for short distances to provide mobile services. Though 101 applications were pending till November 2016, allotment was made to one applicable in December 2015, the CAG said.

According to the CAG's report, the government had an adverse financial impact of around Rs 560 crore due to various instances of spectrum mismanagement by DoT.

In the total loss, the auditor saw maximum high financial impact of Rs 520.79 crore on the government exchequer due to non-withdrawal of spectrum from BSNL which the state-run firm had offered to surrender to avoid one-time spectrum charge.

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CAG finds shortcomings in spectrum management

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