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India's auditor stands by its 2G report 'hundred percent'

Monday January 10, 2011 07:20:01 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Countering Communications Minister Kapil Sibal's criticism of its 2G report as "utterly erroneous", India's official auditor Monday said that it stood by the report which pegged the notional loss to the national exchequer at Rs.1.76 lakh crore ($40 billion) in the allocation of airwaves for second-generation (2G) phone services in 2008.

Short of rejecting the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Sibal had said last week that the methodology adopted by the auditing agency was "utterly erroneous".

The report of the CAG was critical of the government's policy on spectrum allocation for second generation (2G) telecom services and said that it caused a loss of between $12.8 billion and $40 billion to the exchequer.

"CAG stands by its audit report on 2G spectrum hundred percent," a spokesperson for the auditor told reporters here.

The minister had brushed aside the CAG estimates and said there was no loss to the exchequer as claimed by the auditor's report. The CAG is a constitutional authority answerable to parliament.

"The loss is zero, nil," Sibal had said, adding that the policy adopted while awarding spectrum had resulted in the average telecom tariff in India coming down from almost Rs.17 per minute (45 cents) to about Rs.3 (6 cents) per minute in 2004 and 30 paise (less than a cent) per minute now.

"This is the direct and tangible benefit. The benefit of this reduction in tariffs is estimated at over Rs.150,000 crore ($33 billion) per annum to the consumers," Sibal had said.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Department of Telecom and 11 firms on a plea seeking cancellation of airwaves and licenses issued for 2G spectrum during former communications minister A. Raja's tenure.

 

 

 


 

 

 

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