3G auction to be completed in the next two days

The telecom minister had said earlier this week that the government may garner around Rs50,000 crore-Rs55,000 crore by selling 3G airwaves and Broadband Wireless Access spectrum through the auction

The auction of 3G spectrum is likely to be completed in the next one or two days, telecom minister A Raja informed the Rajya Sabha today, reports PTI.

“The auction is being held successfully; it will be completed in one or two days,” he said during Question Hour.

The e-auction began on 9th April and will continue till such time that demand equals supply, he said, adding that the award of spectrum was being done “transparently and fairly.”

Nine mobile telephony firms including Bharti, Vodafone, Reliance and the Tata Group are in the fray for three-four slots of 3G spectrum that allows subscribers to download hi-speed data and stream videos on mobile telephones. Radio waves are being auctioned across 22 circles.

“The procedure followed in allocation of (3G) spectrum is fully transparent,” Mr Raja said, insisting that the process followed was open to any scrutiny.

The available spectrum was put on the Department of Telecommunication’s website before the auction, he said.

Mr Raja had earlier this week stated that the government may garner around Rs50,000 crore-Rs55,000 crore by selling 3G airwaves and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum through auction.

“The revenue from 3G auction alone may cross Rs40,000 crore. Revenues from 3G and BWA spectrum put together may touch Rs50,000 crore-Rs55,000 crore,” he had stated this week.

At end of the 16th day of auction yesterday, pan-India 3G mobile licence price reached Rs8,914 crore. Demand was on par with supply for just three circles: Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, while only Tamil Nadu and Kolkata received excess bids.

The successful bidders would be allotted air waves in September after the spectrum is vacated by the defence forces.

Raja today informed the Upper House that there were various bands available—classified as 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and possibly 5G.

While 1G frequency is used by security agencies like defence forces and police, 2G is used by mobile telephone operators.
 

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Government may unveil some tax reliefs tomorrow

The finance minister has said that he has received various representations from industry and other stakeholders for modification of some tax proposals

Some tax reliefs are proposed to be announced by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow, amid demands from various Opposition parties to review service tax proposal for the housing sector in the Budget, reports PTI.

An indication about some tax reliefs was given by Mr Mukherjee while initiating the discussion on the Bill in the Lok Sabha today.

"I shall cover the reliefs we propose to grant in our response to the issues that are raised in discussions, in my reply,” the minister said.

The Finance Bill 2010-11, which deals with direct and indirect tax proposals, is scheduled to come up for passage tomorrow.

Mr Mukherjee said he had received various representations from industry and other stakeholders for modification of tax proposals.

“While some seek modifications to the existing proposals, others have urged for fresh reliefs,” he said.

Many members during the debate on the Bill had urged the government to withdraw the proposal to levy service tax on residential complexes having more than a dozen units.

They argued that such a tax would increase the cost of residential properties and make them beyond the reach of the common man.

The other important tax proposals which can be reviewed include increase in Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT), the portion of book profit that companies mandatorily pay as tax, from 15% to 18%.

The government, however, is not expected to oblige the Opposition which has been demanding rollback of levies imposed on petrol and diesel in the Budget unveiled in the House on 26th February.
 

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Cartoon of the week

There goes transparency

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