चौकीदार ही चोर है :’सूट-बूट सरकार’ ने अपने पूँजीपति मित्रों को दी ‘लूट की छूट’!
‘Modi-nomics’ has become the synonym of ‘Crony-nomics’ where the interests of ‘Suit-Boot’ is writ large!
Modi Government has indulged in 3 Major Spectrum Scams in the last 4.8 years!
Recently, PM Modi shouted from the rooftops that there is not a single allegation of corruption against his Government. This ludicrous and laughable claim by PM Modi is once again today exposed by a CAG report on Telecom Spectrum Scam, which reveals how the Modi Govt allotted precious Microwave Spectrum to its private businesses on ‘First Come, First Serve Basis’(FCFS) rather than an auction; thereby flagrantly violating the 2012 Supreme Court Judgement in the 2G Case.
A 125-page CAG Report [Report 21 of 2018, tabled on January 8, 2018] conclusively proves that the Narendra Modi Govt allotted of a set of spectrum in 2015 on ‘First Come, First Serve (FCFS) Basis’, in contradiction to the recommendations of a 2012 committee [constituted during the Congress-UPA] even as 101 applications for microwave (MW) spectrum were pending with the Govt. This caused a massive loss of Rs 560 Cr to the public exchequer.
Brazenly violating the February 2012 Supreme Court Judgement which stated that “while transferring or alienating the natural resources, the State is duty-bound to adopt the method of auction by giving wide publicity so that all eligible persons can participate in the process.”, Modi Govt acted as a willful collaborator with its select cronies and artfully violated this judgment. The BJP which had supported the cancellation of spectrum allotment and had staunchly batted for an ‘allocation’ has now shown its true colours. Today, the BJP Govt stands guilty of violating the same principle & causing huge losses to people.
Some of the scathing observations of the CAG Report in the ‘Microwave Spectrum Scam’ are:-
I. Committee during Cong-UPA recommended Spectrum Allotment through Auction, But Modi Govt flouted it
(i) 29 January 2011: “In order to maintain the level playing field among all telecom operators, it was declared by DoT that “in future, the spectrum will not be bundled with license and spectrum will be made available only through market-driven process.” [Page 33: 2.1.10]
(ii) December 2012: “DoT constituted a committee in December 2012 to look into the allotment/assignment of spectrum in various categories of spectrum users covering different categories of licenses and authorizations.…it was proposed by the Committee that the spectrum allotment in Microwave band on service area/area basis for terrestrial operations to all the service providers including ISP/NLD/ILD operators for providing telecom services should be allotted through market-related process (auction).” [ Annexure A1]
II. No Level Field Provided
(iii) “Further by allowing initial incumbent Telecom Spectrum Providers (TSP) to hold administratively allotted excess MWA carriers and allotment of MWA to one applicant in December 2015, the principle of providing level playing field to all TSPs was not being followed. Considering the above facts and DoT’s committee recommendations, the allotment of MWA spectrum should have been made only through auctions.”
III. Old Method found to collect spectrum charges
(iv) CAG also found that Modi Govt’s telecom department had used an old method to collect some of the spectrum charges instead of the new method-which is based on revenue-sharing.
“Audit observed that the spectrum charges for MW access/backbone Spectrum and satellite Spectrum of NLD (National Long Distance) and ILD (International Long Distance) networks were still levied on formula basis instead of revenue share basis as being done for MW access spectrum of cellular network.’ [Page 36]
IV. No Waiver of Spectrum Charges to Defence Forces by Modi Govt
The CAG found that ‘Notification of Defence Band and Defence Interest Zone‘ was approved by the Cabinet on January 21, 2015, and a separate proposal for waiver of spectrum charges payable by the defence department was to be submitted for approval of the Cabinet.
But “no such proposal for waiver of spectrum charges for defence forces has been approved by the Cabinet till date” [Page 48]
We must also recall that two earlier staggering Spectrum Scams by Modi Govt and an official ‘seal of stamp’ to ‘swindle, loot & cheat’ the people of India at the behest of select crony friends completely expose Modi Government’s Jumla of ‘नखाऊंगा, नाखानेदूंगा’!
1. Modi Government surreptitiously took steps to protect the interests of leading telecom companies by helping them avoid the payment of charges rightfully owed to the exchequer, thus facilitating a staggering Rs 45000 Cr plus of public money being buried under the carpet! – ‘Spectrum Recovery Scam’ (exposed by the Congress party in July 2016, on the basis of a CAG report)
2. ‘Spectrum Scam 2.0’ whereby the BJP Government is unilaterally and surreptitiously deferred the recovery of spectrum auction amount by six years, thereby causing an interest loss of Rs.23821 crore alone to the public exchequer. (exposed by the Congress party in October 2017, on the basis of an inter-ministerial committee)
3. Modi Cabinet provides the official seal of the stamp to this ‘loot’ by extending the interest payment period for spectrum acquired in auctions to 16 years from 10 years. Thus, the ‘Loot Cycle’ of both these scams add up to Rs 68821 Cr
4. If we extrapolate the total cost to the people of India, by these three Spectrum Scams by the Modi Government, then the country lost a staggering amount of Rs 69,381 Crores have been lost on account and BJP’s select cronies have been benefitted.
We want to ask three fundamental questions from Modi Government –
1. Whether it is a grotesque breach of public trust by BJP Government, which, in the past, had made a notional loss pegged by CAG in the telecom sector in the major issue of transparency and corruption?
2. Whether BJP Government is acting as a willful collaborator with the select corporate entities in artfully violating the Feb 2012 Supreme Court judgment which makes it mandatory to auction spectrum?
3. Who benefits from this new ‘governance model’ of BJP Government? Is it not causing a loss of Rs. 69,381 Cr to the people of India?
CAG’s observations on huge revenue loss due to the BJP Government’s flawed spectrum management are a testimony to their crony policies. For the last 5 years, they squandered the nation’s wealth to favor a select few.
Although the people of India have already made up their mind to show the exit door to the Modi Govt, an independent investigation into the findings of the latest CAG report is the need of the hour.