Kapil Sibal ducks queries about 2G

Published: 05 December, 2010 08:03 IST | Bobby Anthony |

Haunted by the 2G spectrum scam at a press conference on Saturday, Union Telecom Minister Sibal deflected all related questions

Haunted by the 2G spectrum scam at a press conference on Saturday, Union Telecom Minister Sibal deflected all related questions

Pic by/Anuja Gupta

Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal, who was recently given the additional portfolio of Union Minister for Telecom, displayed his impressive skills in parrying almost every question put to him at a press conference after a meet on 'Higher Education, National Policy & Global Perspective' held today.

"The 85 telecom companies haven't received notices though it was reported that you sent it to them. Why haven't you sent it to them so far?" asked a lady journalist, about companies involved in the 2G scam. Sibal's reply? "It will be sent".

The issue of 2G spectrum allocation has snowballed into a controversy ever since it was discovered that licenses were issued to private telecom players at throwaway prices in 2008. Under fire for charges that rules and procedures were flouted while issuing licenses, former Telecom Minister A Raja had to tender his resignation.

When SUNDAY MiD DAY asked Sibal why there were two regulators, namely the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and if he had any plans to unify them, his reply was, "Well maybe I will think about it".

Finally, he was asked the big question -- how would he handle the 2G spectrum mess? "I will handle it. But right now, I have to handle you," he replied, to another lady journalist. How insightful.

Once again, when asked by SMD why there has been no audit of ample radio spectrum lying with various government agencies, which has caused an artificial spectrum shortage in the telecom industry, pat came the 'reply' - "Yes, there is a spectrum shortage" -- a state secret, apparently.

Sibal continued in a similar vein throughout the conference, smiling impishly as he deflected almost every question throughout the press conference which lasted less than a few minutes.

Earlier in the day, Sibal had waxed eloquent about his plans to set up 40,000 colleges and how Indian universities must become research oriented.

"Foreign universities will not be allowed to take away profits from India to reward their shareholders abroad. Rather, the money will have to be ploughed into educational institutions in India," he said.

Whenever people asked whether allowing foreign universities into India would further commercialise education, he summarily dismissed such concerns.

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