The exchequer has earned Rs 10,791 crore before the end of the last financial year from telecom companies after the recently-concluded auction of spectrum, which would help the government partly breach the fiscal deficit.
The government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Friday, informing the court about the money it has received from the successful bidders by March 31.
“Pursuant to the orders of this Hon’ble Court, an amount of Rs 10,791.08 crore was received by March 31, during the financial year 2015-16. These payments led to the significant revenues for the government which are very important to fulfill various social policies and economic objectives of the government,” stated the affidavit.
The government submitted before the court that it had duly intimated the bidders about the litigation against the terms of auction and demand notices were accordingly issued after finalisation of result on March 29. This means the government earned Rs 10,791 crore in two days.
In a boost to government plans, the court had on March 27 lifted a restraint order and allowed it to finalise the result of the auction for telecom spectrum, which had fetched a staggering Rs 1.09 lakh crore.
It had asked the government to inform all successful bidders about the outcome of the auction along with price bands, with a caveat that their right to allotment is subject to the final order from the Supreme Court on a clutch of petitions. The petitions have been filed by major telecom players, including Bharti Hexacom Ltd and Reliance Telecom Ltd, which have challenged the legality of the design of the Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) for the spectrum and the conditions therein.
Filing its response, the government has pointed out that the competition has seen major increase over reserved prices in 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands and said that the NIT could not be challenged on the ground of quantity of spectrum being bid for since the normal auction would process would not authorise the government to know such quantity. The reply came in the wake of arguments that top-up bids for small quantity like 0.6 MHz would adversely affect the bidding behaviour.
The government, however, said: “It is the commercial decision of the existing service provider to bid in an auction and for how much quantity of spectrum, depending upon its commercial requirements, its future business plans, its present network and requirement of spectrum to cater the existing/forecasted traffic in terms of various features and facilities such as voice and data.”