Govt could proceed with follow-on auction of spectrum

Nadiad (Guj): Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday indicated that the government could proceed further with a follow-on auction of spectrum.

"As far as spectrum is concerned if there is additional spectrum, off course there would be a basis on which we shall move forward," Sibal told reporters on sidelines of an event here.

"Whenever we get additional spectrum we shall proceed ahead," Sibal said, while replying to a query that could follow-up auction of 3G spectrum take place.

However, he did not clarify that whether government was looking at sale of additional 2G or 3G spectrum.

Reports say that Union Finance Ministry in a letter written to the Department of Telecommunication has asked it to explore and identify, surplus spectrum which can be put to auction in 2011-12.

The Ministry is of the view that some part of 3G spectrum is still available for follow-on auction, the reports stated.

Replying to a query on this letter Sibal said, "I have also read it in newspapers today as you have."

Auction of 3G and broadband wireless spectrum had fetched the government a whopping Rs 1.06 lakh crore last year. The Centre is keen on providing broadband connectivity to the rural India in next couple of years.

"The fact of the matter is yes we should ensure that broadband reaches every village of this country, that we are wanting to do," Sibal said.

"There is a high powered committee that has been set up for it. Sam Pitroda and Nandan Nilekani are part of that committee. "We will ensure that every village has a broadband in next couple of years," Sibal said.

Speaking about the Lokpal Bill and its possibility of being ready by June 30, Sibal said, "The Government is trying hard to prepare a concrete a bill on Lokpal before June 30 from the current ongoing dialogue and table it in the Parliament in the forthcoming monsoon session."

Sibal refrained himself from talking much about the remarks made by the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh about prestigious institutions like IITs and IIMs.

"Jairam Ramesh has his opinion, so let him have an opinion," Sibal said, while replying to media query on Environment Minister`s remarks on the centres of excellence.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh yesterday had slammed the faculty of prestigious IITs and IIMs, saying these educational institutions are not world class but are excellent because of the quality of students.

"There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs.

The faculty in IIT is not world class," he had said yesterday.