CAG seeks details of spectrum usage from ministries, agencies

CAG seeks details of spectrum usage from ministries, agencies

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), according to sources, has sent reminder notices to several agencies like space organisations, including National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), besides Home Ministry to provide details about the spectrum used by them.

The exercise by CAG assumes significance in the wake of recent controversy over distribution of spectrum in 2008 at 2001 prices, causing huge losses to the exchequer.
DoT is the custodian of spectrum in the country. Several agencies-- like defence, space organisations besides Home Ministry and telecom service providers buy spectrum bandwith from DoT.

In March, the CAG had sought details from the Telecom Ministry about the availability of spectrum and its allocation to different agencies and private users like mobile operators.
The CAG has also sought information about price at which the spectrum was allocated to all agencies.

While defence ministry has replied that they have not sublet its spectrum to any other agencies, the CAG is in the process of sending them further queries on total quantum of spectrum held by them.

Besides, the DoT has said that it is awaiting the report on allocation of natural resources by the Ashok Chawla Committee to which it is also providing its inputs.

The CAG would look into the fees paid by the agencies, departments and companies who bought spectrum and also if they are using the alloted frequencies in its true capacity.
All this information would help the CAG in assessing how efficiently the spectrum is being utilised.

The initiative comes in the wake of fact that spectrum is lying idle with some of the agencies as well with some private users, sources said.

The government may resort to another round of auction if spectrum is found not being used to the capacity. Auction of 3G and Broadband spectrum last year had fetched the government a revenue of over Rs 1.06 lakh crore.

The CAG had quantified a presumptive loss of over Rs 1.76 lakh crore due to sale of 2G spectrum in 2008 by former Telecom Minister A Raja and the matter is being investigated by various agencies.