‘Vajpayee was telecom minister when migration policy was cleared’

August 2nd, 2011 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) A former telecom secretary during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime told the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probing the 2G spectrum allocation Tuesday that then prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee was holding charge of the ministry when the migration policy was cleared by the cabinet.

Anil Kumar, who was telecom secretary between 1998 and 2000, told the JPC that the key cabinet decision on migration policy was taken when Vajpayee held charge of the communications ministry briefly in 1999 after the exit of Jagmohan.

The JPC, headed by Congress MP P.C. Chacko, has been digging into the telecom policy of the NDA government and had questioned Anil Kumar for over two hours here.

The details of Anil Kumar’s deposition was given to the media by Chacko after the meeting at parliament annexe building.

Anil Kumar, Chacko said, had defended the migration policy, saying the decision had to be taken in the “best interests” of the telecom sector and the benefits of the policy were felt in the country now in the form of consumer-friendly tariffs.

Chacko also noted that the cabinet approval in 1999 to the telecom migration policy came despite Jagmohan and then finance minister Yashwant Sinha opposing the proposal.

Then external affairs minister Jaswant Singh was heading a group of ministers on telecom then, he said.

The migration policy had allowed cellular operators to shift from fixed license fee regime to the revenue-sharing model. The department of telecom (DoT) has informed the JPC that the exchequer lost over Rs.43,523.92 crore due to the migration policy.

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