P Chidambaram may lead EGoM on telecom

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Home Minister P Chidambaram may head the Empowered Group of Ministers(EGoM) on the allocation of telecom spectrum, which was reconstituted today after Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar declined to head it. Official sources said Chidambaram’s name tops the list of ministers who will be part of the EGoM from whose chairmanship Pawar recused earlier this week citing attempts to drag him into controversies.

Defence Minister AK Antony, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, I&B Minister Ambika Soni, Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia continue to be members of the EGoM. Sources said no date for the meeting of the EGoM has been fixed yet.

The EGoM in its last meeting on June 5 had finalised broad modalities for auction of spectrum including the schedule and the quantum of airwaves to be sold, but there was no decision on reserve price, terms of payment and annual spectrum usage charges.

It was decided that 8-11 blocks of spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band, and 3-4 blocks in 800 MHz band, would be put up for sale. The government will conduct a simultaneous, multiple round ascending e-auction, details of which would be notified separately.

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