New Delhi: With the telecom spectrum auction garnering the government close to Rs.110,000 crore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the "zero loss" theory of the previous UPA government in relation to the official auditor's report has been proved false.
"I am glad that the presumptions that some people had, that spectrum is worth zero, have been belied," Jaitley said speaking at the Growth Net 2015 event here.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had in a report put the loss to exchequer from not auctioning spectrum at Rs.176,000 crore.
Terming the CAG report as erroneous, Kapil Sibal, who was telecom and IT minister in the previous UPA government had said that there was no loss to the government, as the calculations done by the CAG had to be discounted for various factors, including time value of money and difference between 3G and 2G spectral efficiency.
The e-auction concluded on Wednesday after 19 days and 115 rounds of rigorous bidding with officials placing the initial estimate of total commitments at over Rs.109,000 crore.
If this figure proves correct, the amount will then surpass the previous high of Rs.106,200 crore that the government had received in the 2010 auction, which was spread over 34 days with 183 rounds of bidding.
Earlier speaking to IANS, Sibal said that the spectrum auctions with excessively high reserve prices were crucially flawed in a context where the telecom sector is in debt to the tune of Rs.340,000 crore.
Lamenting that the days of cheap mobile telephony were over, which could put paid to the country's mobile telecom revolution, Sibal said these auctions had sacrificed public good, which is the objective of governance.
"I have never said that the government will not earn more by auctions, of course it will, but that cannot be the objective. The government has to work to achieve the maximum benefit to help achieve the ends of public good," Sibal told IANS.