Govt Policy

Take call on on 2G auction before Pranab’s exit: PMO

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Pranab MukherjeeThe Prime Minister’s Office has asked the Finance Ministry that the Empowered Group of Ministers should take a decision on 2G reserve price before Pranab Mukherjee exits.
The Finance Minister’s office had sought clarity on whether Mukherjee can continue to head the Empowered Group of Ministers on telecom. The Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Finance Minister had sent a note to the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister seeking clarity on the appropriateness of the situation since Mr Mukherjee has been nominated for Presidential Elections.
In response, the PMO is understood to have taken a view that Mukherjee can take a decision since he continues to be the Finance Minister at least till June 24. This comes even as the eGoM is scheduled to meet on Thursday to take a crucial decision on the reserve price for the upcoming 2G auctions. While the TRAI had suggested Rs 18,000 crore for 5 Mhz pan Indian spectrum, the telecom companies want this to be reduced by 80 per cent.
The Minister’s Group has invited the TRAI Chairman, Dr Rahul Khullar, to give a detailed analysis on the impact of the proposed reserve price on mobile tariffs, Government revenues and operators’ finance. An early decision on the reserve price is crucial for the Government to meet the August 31 deadline set by the Supreme Court for conducting the auctions.
Therefore, the Prime Minister’s Office is keen to get a decision on the reserve price before Mukherjee exits the Finance Ministry next week.

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