With the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee moving a motion to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) in the Parliament today the deck is now clear for the formation of a parliamentary committee to look into the telecom policy pursued from 1998 to 2009.
The period of reference includes the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government between 1998 to 2004 led by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The Left parties were insistent to include the period also when the BJP was in power.
Moving the motion Mukherjee said that the JPC “will examine policy prescriptions and their interpretation thereafter by successive governments, including decisions of the union cabinet and the consequences thereof, in the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum from 1998 to 2009′
The Committee will also go through the ‘irregularities and aberrations, if any, and the consequences thereof in the implementation of government decisions and policy prescriptions from 1998 to 2009’.
JPC is supposed to submit its report at the end of the Monsoon session of Parliament and will make recommendations to ensure formulation of appropriate procedures for implementation of laid down policy in the allocation and pricing of telecom licences.
There would be thirty members in the JPC in which 15 are from the United Progressive Allaince (UPA) and 15 from the Opposition. Twenty would be from the Lower House and ten from the Upper House.
The member of the JPC are Kishore Chandra Deo, Baban Singh, JP Agarwal, Jitender Hooda, PC Chacko, Manish Tewari, Nirmal Khatri, Adhir Ranjam Chowdhary, TR Baalu Kalyan Banerjee, Jaswant Singh, Yaswhwant Sinha, Harin Pathak, Sharad Yadav Gopinath Munde, Dara Singh Chauhan, Akhilesh Yadav, Gurudas Dasgupta, Arjun Charan Sethi and Thambidurai.
Congress member PC Chacko is expected to head the committee.
The formation of the JPC comes in the wake of the persistent pressure from the Opposition which wanted a parliamentary panel to probe the allocation of the second generation telephony spectrum which according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CWG) led to the loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.