Govt in a fix over Chawla committee suggestion

The Union government was caught in an embarrassing situation as it told the Supreme Court that it had not accepted 69 out of 81 recommendations of the Ashok Chawla committee, favouring auctioning of natural resources.

This was against the government stance in Parliament on the issue. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on August 9, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena stated the government had accepted 69 recommendations of the Committee dealing with natural resources like, coal, petroleum, natural gas, spectrum and water.

“The statement and the answer that Government has accepted 69 recommendations of the Ashok Chawla Committee are not accurate and the correct position is that it was decided that the 69 recommendations would be pursued by the individual ministries in a timely manner,” the Department of Telecom said. The Finance Ministry is taking steps to correct the answer in the Rajya Sabha, the note added.

The submission, containing the disclosure, was filed on a direction issued by the 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia that had concluded its hearing on the Presidential reference.

During the hearing on Presidential reference, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy had told the bench that the government had already accepted the recommendations made by the Ashok Chawla committee.

The Presidential reference was sent after the 2G verdict of Februrary 2 sought the apex court’s advise on a host of issues including if auction should be the only criterion for disposal of all natural resources.

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