2G auction not over, government will gain: Chidambaram

Finance Minister P. Chidambram Friday said the second generation (2G) spectrum auction is not over and the government will make "substantial gains" once the process is complete.

Chidambaram, who is heading the Group of Ministers (GoM) on telecom, said the just concluded round of second generation (2G) spectrum auction was not a success or a failure as the process had not been completed yet.

"The auction process is incomplete. There are four more GSM circles, CDMA, reframing... there will be more auctions before March," Chidambarm told reporters here.

"The price discovery has been realised through the auction process which is still not complete. We cannot state that market discovered price is not a success or a failure," he added.

The finance minister's observation came after the two-day auction was described as a "flop show" as the government would not be able to raise an estimated Rs.40,000 crore.

Chidambaram said that there would be substantial net gains to the government after the process was over and one-time spectrum fees were adjusted.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said the government till now had made Rs.17,343 crore from the auction and collection of one-time fees from the 18 spectrum holders.

"We have been able to collect Rs.9,407 crore through sale of spectrum and Rs.7,936 crore from one-time fees in the 18 spectrum holdings," Sibal said, adding that "revenue cannot be the sole criterion of policy."

Sibal Thursday had defended the auction in which half the block went unsold, stating that there will be another round of bidding.

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