DoT Meet Today to Take Call on 3G Auction: Sources

The government's auction of third-generation wireless spectrum may just be closer to seeing the light of the day. After much delay and reports that the auction may not happen in FY10 at all, sources told CNBC-TV18 that the Department of Telecom (DoT) will meet today to take a call on the 3G auction.

Sources said that the Finance Ministry had asked the DoT to conduct the auction this financial year and that the Dot officials were indeed working on this advice.

If it does happen this fiscal, 3 slots of 3G may be auctioned. The auction has been deferred since January on differences with the defence ministry which possesses much of the airwaves. The lack of this revenue this fiscal year ending on March 31 will impact India's fiscal deficit, which is at a 16-year high.

The government, is targeting to raise around Rs 350 billion (USD 7.53 billion) through the auction. It hopes to use the proceeds to partly cut down the fiscal deficit, estimated to touch 6.8% of the gross domestic product in 2009-10.

Earlier, reports had said that the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was keen on pushing ahead with the auction within the current financial year ending March 31.

However, a Reuters report today quoted the Cabinet secretary as saying that it did not matter if the 3G auction happens in this fiscal year or the next, and setting a date will be done according to how to maximise revenue from the auction.

"I think all the issues have been resolved," cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar told reporters. "I don't think it really particularly matters if this year or next year."

Published Date: Feb 16, 2010 02:28 pm | Updated Date: Feb 16, 2010 02:28 pm