After latest 2G pricing, NAPM attacks CAG detractors

The National Alliance of People’s Movements, the biggest umbrella organization of NGOs in India, has seized the opportunity of the government fixing new 2G spectrum rates to hit back at the detractors of India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

In a statement released on Sunday, the NAPM, which includes activists like Medha Patkar and Saraswati Kavula, the NAPM said the cabinet move to fix the price of 2G spectrum at more or less the same level as that of 3G spectrum has disproved those who mocked CAG’s calculations.

Many cabinet ministers, including telecom minister Kapil Sibal, had questioned the CAG’s assumption that 2G spectrum can be worth as much as 3G spectrum. The CAG had given three hypothetical valuations for the spectrum, one of which was based on the prices discovered in 2009 3G auction.

“This latest price fixing justifies the Controller and Auditor General’s Rs. Rs1.76 lac crore upper-end loss calculations for 2008 2 G spectrum sale.

“This amply exposes the hollowness and mischievous claims and rhetoric of the cabinet Ministers particularly unabashed Kapil Sibal that the loss is notional and presumptive..

“This should shut the mouths of the vicious cabinet ministers who vociferously tried to dupe the public that high spectrum costs would lead to higher tariffs,” the NAPM said in a statement.

The government had said that by giving spectrum at cheap rates to companies, the government was helping to keep prices of telephone calls down. This argument too was attacked by the NAPM.

“The tariffs didn’t go up in 2010 after the 3 G auctions, they would not have gone up in 2008 nor will it through the latest sales,” it said.

“We salute the Controller and Auditor General for his excellent work without fear and favor. And the recent C.A.G report it has indicted the coal ministry of the loss to the tune of Rs.100000 crore due to biased allotment of the coal mines. And again the cabinet did not table it in the parliament though it is statutory. With the last few institutions left unaffected like C.A.G the badly battered Indian ship is able to sail through, through the turbulent waters called Indian executive, bureaucracy and legislature,” it added.