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Government sets up Panel of Secretaries under Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba to Streamline Spectrum Allocation

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Government sets up a panel of secretaries under cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba to streamline telecom spectrum allocationOn October 14, 2020, the Central Government has formulated a panel of secretaries under cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba to streamline telecom spectrum allocation process and examine the possibility of making the auction of spectrum an annual calendar event. The panel comprises the secretaries of home, defence, railways, telecom, Information and Broadcasting (I&B) and department of space.

  • The decision regarding formulation of the panel has been made on the lines of telecom sector demand for the requirement of a clear road map for auctioning spectrum enabling them to plan and allocate resources efficiently.
  • In the past 10 years, the government has auctioned spectrum six times viz. 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 but there is no clarity on the frequency of future airwaves sale.

What is Spectrum allocation?

Spectrum allocation or Frequency allocation is the allocation and regulation of the electromagnetic spectrum into radio frequency bands done by governments. 

  • Spectrum is invisible radio frequencies that wireless signals travel over which enables us to make calls from our mobile devices do everything on our mobile devices.

Responsibilities of Panel:

–Sorting out various spectrum related issues between ministries.

  • The immediate task in this regard is to resolve a tussle between the telecom department and Department of Space on 5G spectrum in the 26 GHz (Gigahertz) band.

–Identifying spectrum which is likely to be released for commercial purposes in future and conveying that to the telecom.

Need for panel:

As there is no clarity on the timing of the next sale, operators have been forced to spend huge amounts to stock up on the critical natural resource, which is one key reason for their high debt and weak balance sheets.

  • Notably, the telecom industry has spent a cumulative Rs 2.51 lakh crore on buying spectrum in the six auctions since 2010, and currently has a debt of over Rs 8.55 lakh crore.

Recent Related News:

i.On September 18, 2020 Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) in partnership with National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM), Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched ICT (Information & Communication Technology) Grand Challenge for Development of ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement & Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level.

ii.Prime Minister inaugurated the “Har Gaon Optical Fibre Cable” project ,under this about six lakh villages would be provided internet services through optical fibre cable in 1,000 days. This includes all 45,945 villages in Bihar. It will be executed by the Department of Telecom, MEITY, and Common Service Centres (CSC).

About Ministry of Communication:
Union Minister– Ravi Shankar Prasad
Minister of State (MoS)– Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre