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2G spectrum scam UPSC NOTE

 2G spectrum scam

  • The alleged 2G spectrum allocation scam is said to have originated in 2008 when the then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government sold 122 2G licences on a first-come-first-serve (FCFS) basis to specific telecom operators

  • In its charge sheet filed in April 2011, the CBI alleged that there was a loss of ₹ 30,984 crore to the exchequer as a result of discrepancies in the allocation process.

  • In the meantime, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Subramanian Swamy filed petitions in the top Court alleging a ₹70,000 crore scam in the grant of telecom licenses in 2008.

2G spectrum scam

  • In February 2012, a division Bench of the Supreme Court cancelled the licenses while cautioning that an FCFS basis for the allocation of scarce natural resources can be prone to misuse.

  • Advocating for competitive auctions instead, the Court said, “In our view, a duly publicised auction conducted fairly and impartially is perhaps the best method for discharging this burden and the methods like first-come-first-served when used for alienation of natural resources/public property are likely to be misused by unscrupulous people who are only interested in garnering maximum financial benefit and have no respect for the constitutional ethos and values.” 

2G spectrum scam

  • It emphasised that the burden lies on the State to ensure that the “non-discriminatory method” of the auction is adopted “by giving wide publicity so that all eligible persons can participate in the process”


Centre’s plea

  • In its plea, the Centre has pointed out that the assignment of spectrum is required to discharge sovereign and public interest functions such as security, safety, and disaster preparedness. 

Centre’s plea

  • The Centre elaborated that administrative allocation is required when demand is lower than supply or for space communication

  • In such cases, it would be “more optimal and efficient for spectrum to be shared by multiple players, rather than being broken up into smaller blocks for the sole purpose of exclusive assignment”

  • The Court was apprised that following its 2012 ruling,the administrative assignment of non-commercial spectrum has been on a purely interim basis, subject to the government’s final decision on pricing and policy

Centre’s plea

  • The plea envisages the following prayer — “(a) Issue appropriate clarifications that the government may consider the assignment of spectrum through the administrative process if so determined through due process in accordance with the law, and if such assignment is in pursuit of governmental functions or the public interest so requires, or auction may not be preferred due to technical or economic reasons”

Significance of the new telecom law

  • The Telecommunications Act, 2023, passed by the Parliament last year empowers the government to assign spectrum for telecommunication through administrative processes other than auction for entities listed in the First Schedule. 

  • These include entities engaged in national security, defence, and law enforcement as well as Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellites such as Space X, and Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb. 

Significance of the new telecom law

  • The government can also assign part of a spectrum that has already been assigned to one or more additional entities, known as secondary assignees, and even terminate assignments where a spectrum or a part of it has remained underutilised for insufficient reasons.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: 2G spectrum scam UPSC NOTE
2G spectrum scam UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
https://www.learnerz.in/2024/04/2g-spectrum-scam-upsc-note.html
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