Problems exist, but look at telecom growth: PM

February 24th, 2011 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Telecom growth should not be overlooked, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, under attack for alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocation, said Thursday while stressing that “if there is a scam, it must be dealt with”. “People talk of scams. And if there is a scam, it must be dealt with but we must also not overlook the fact of the telecom growth,” Manmohan Singh said in the Lok Sabha, replying to a debate on the motion of thanks to the president’s address.

He said tele-density in India had witnessed tremendous growth over the years.

“If you look at the figures, in March 2004 the tele-density in rural areas was 1.55 percent and in urban areas it was 20.5 percent. Total tele-density in India in March 2004 was 7.7 percent,” he said.

He claimed that the figures in December 2010 show that the rural tele-density had increased to 31.18 percent and in urban areas it was 47 percent.

“The total tele-density has gone to 66 percent,” he said.

He said this was made possible through the national telecom policy of not auctioning the telephony spectrums.

“There is nothing wrong in the telecom policy (of issuing the spectrum licenses on the first come first serve basis). Our government has continued the same path and that policy has paid rich dividends,” he said.

In the backdrop of the 2G scam, the prime minister said he was being asked about the concerns and problems in the telecom sector.

“My respectful answer to that is that when I look at the telecom policy, the ministry had decided not to go in for auction for level playing field and we should continue this path … Telecom must become accessible,” he said, admitting that there were problems.

“These problems are now being looked into by the JPC (joint parliamentary committee), PAC (public accounts committee) and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). Our government will fully cooperate with all these agencies to ensure truth comes out,” he said.

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