Sunday, November 21, 2010


THE CPIM S TAKE on the fiasco of the past...
"""""It is a common knowledge that the telecom sector has been the most scam prone -- with huge largesse handed over by the government to private operators.  The switchover from a fixed license fee regime to a revenue share arrangement, the mute spectator role of the government as a licensor when a WLL operator was violating  the license conditions with impunity and post-facto legitimising of the violation for a pittance and finally the policy decision on the restructuring of the equity composition in favour of foreign investors in private telcos all smack of blatant favouritism.  The end  result is a  rebalancing of tariff in favour of big users and loaded against the small ones...

The government sold 45% of its stakes in the VSNL to the Tatas for a sum of Rs.2,591 crores even when VSNL had cash reserves of more than Rs.3,000 crores at the time of disinvestment. The Tatas paid less than the cash reserves of VSNL; and moreover, the Rs.2,591 crores that they spent in acquiring VSNL were actually loaned by government owned financial institutions and banks. The first step that the new Tata Management took was to siphon off Rs.1,200 crores out of VSNL for another Tata company.

In order to appease other private operators, particularly the cellular lobby, the revenue share of the government was reduced by 2% for all cellular licensees and another 2% for the first and second licensee, a concession of nearly a thousand crores from the public exchequer. Ironically, the cellular operators responded to this favour by almost immediately raising the calling charges for the consumers in a blatant display of cartelization.

In spite of the promise of the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 1994 (which allows private participation in basic services) that it would lead to connecting all Indian villages by the year 1997, even one third of the Indian villages are not connected to the telecom network today. Even worse, the pace of rural telephony has slowed down and the rural to urban teledensity ratio, which stands at 1: 10 today, is rapidly worsening. The Vajpayee government’s policies on the other hand have sought to enhance profits for the private players and privatise the public sector. Moreover, their telecom policies have discriminated against low-end consumers by reducing the pulse rate and number of free calls and increasing the rentals for the landline connections. """"" when there is no such fiasco now,no cartel, rules have been adhered to, teledensity has gone up...yet, the amazing bending backwards and crying hoarse has been adopted by the cpim also, which reveals that this party has lost its will to survive.

has any media in our country provided the country and the public the background, has any of them disputed the extrapolation of the CAG, which the CAG itself invites to dispute. has any media tried to consider the other aspect of the story, whether the extrapolation is just not acceptable for a person with common sense.

the latest cover story by India Today sincerely tells its readers that the loss is eight times India's total health budget and equal to our defense budget. ...the article never mentions teledensity and pricing for the common man...the article tells its readers instead that new players have managed to squeeze just about 5 percent of the market share and then tells existing players have begun to bleed...does the writer try to tell that if the existing players had paid more, they would have bled less...of course, they would have bled less, by not bringing the prices down....which they have been forced to do after uninor slashed prices..this is the level of clarity in a supposedly established magazine..

it is astounding that this spineless article fails to juxtapose what happened at the beginning of the decade..a newspaper need not give it..but a magazine cover story to miss out the past, even as it talks about existing players bleeding is a very sorry state of affairs, where it becomes clear that all the media of our country is a sad joke..yet these media and their chief editors walk about the land with proud smiles...the educated middle classes have a great chance in the current climate to realise who is doing service to the people and who is doing disservice.

what happened when the highest bidder took the license?
this is what happened...

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