Policy paralysis continues in telecom department: TRAI ex-chief

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) Hitting out at the government for not doing enough to move the country’s telecom sector ahead, Indian telecom sector regulator’s former chairman Rahul Khullar, on Thursday said policy paralysis still continues in the department of telecom (DoT).

“For any observer it would appear that policy paralysis still rules in Sanchar Bhawan (which houses (DoT) because if all that I have said before is not been done… what do I say, draw your own conclusion whether it is policy paralysis or indecision?” said Khullar, who retired as Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman in May, at an event organized by Brookings India to launch a report ‘Spectrum policy in India’.

He raised questions about the delay of spectrum trading and sharing guidelines, which was taken up a couple of years back.

“Every day we hear that spectrum trading and sharing is going to happen. If we are in serious crisis of spectrum, why are we not pushing it fast? Why is it taking years?” he asked.

Attacking the government for saying that there is enough spectrum available in the country, Khullar contended that it does not have any forward looking policy on spectrum allocation.

“The problem is Sanchar Bhawan wakes up when North Block wakes up. When finance ministry needs money, then DoT wakes up and it comes to the regulator and asks Mr.Regulator please fix a price,” he added.

“Sanchar Bhawan is in denial that there is no spectrum, then why should we be bothered? If they recognize it then we will start focusing on the future,” he said.

Khullar also held that India should have allowed more telecom operators enter the market, but on the contrary, had put a limit to it and the country has only 12 telecom service providers.

In the study presented by Brookings India, Shamika Ravi, a fellow in Development Economics, says: “India is one of the most competitive markets with market concentration of 0.22. But the country needs required policy interventions.”

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