After a tepid 2G auction, the government is still hoping to sell the spectrum which went unsold. Telecom minister Kapil Sibal today said the government will go for another round of 2G auction before March 31 next year. Finance minister P Chidambaram added that the government will be able to meet its fiscal deficit target of 5.3%. Aakansha Sethi and Malvika Jain of CNBC-TV18 report.
The government intends to put on auction the unsold GSM spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan circles. These four circles accounted for almost half of the pan India auction reserve price of Rs 14,000 crore and didn't see any bidding. In addition, the government will also replan the auction for CDMA spectrum which did not find any takers due to a high reserve price of Rs 18,000 crore.
The Empowered Group of Ministers on spectrum is expected to meet soon to discuss if reserve prices need to be relooked at and if fresh TRAI recommendations are needed to do this. The EGoM will also take a decision on charging a one time fee in circles in the four circles that did not see any market discovered price. And even as it does so, the government hopes that the recent auction experience will underline the need to give it a free hand in decision making.
Meanwhile, the finance ministry is putting up a brave face as far as the fiscal deficit position is concerned with finance minister P Chidambaram making it clear that there was still time to meet the 5.3 percent of GDP target on this account.
Finance Minster, P Chidambaram said, "I am still confident we will be able to reach 5.3. There is still time and I don't think we should spread pessimisim, cynisim. There is still time. Disinvestment process will still start, and the spectrum process will also continue, the EGoM will meet shortly, to take decisions on the pending issues. We have a still good four and a half months, and therefore this is too early to say that we won’t reach the target."
There are other straws in the wind, including what the Supreme Court may have to say on the government’s affidavit on the 2G auction which is coming up for hearing next Monday.