Once upon a telecom

December 21 2010

Before the telecom sector was the fixed license fee, wherein private companies would pay crores of rupees to the government as license fees. Then the companies put pressure on the then Information Minister Buta Singh to have the government make a migration package, and have a revenue sharing basis instead of a fixed license fees. There was a fair amount of enticement from the private companies, so Buta Singh agreed. But when a case was registered against him, he had to resign. Then came the NDA rule, where Sushma Swaraj became the telecom minister from August 22, 1998, to October 12, 1998 – for a month and 20 days but she refused this proposal by private companies. She was then removed from the minister’s post and made the chief minister of Delhi. Then came Jagmohan, who was given the offer of Rs 400 crore, but he too refused. His lobbyists when had him removed from the post and had Pramod Mahajan made the telecom minister. Mahajan agrees to the proposal and the private companies were overjoyed. Telecom policies were made according to the way Ambani wanted them. When a lot of companies came against him, Atal-Advani had him removed. Sushma was offered the post in 2003, but she opted for health. Arun Shourie took charge of the portfolio next and he took over the job of forwarding former minister Mahajan’s policies. Then came Maran and Raja. Tata wanted Raja, while the other players wanted Maran. All the tapes that have been leaked have shown how Maran was stopped. And now that the Congress is saying the investigation will be done from the NDA regime onwards, Mahajan and Shourie may also be under the scanner. And Raja’s dealings aren’t a secret anymore.

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