Friday, May 29, 2009

India: A Raja is to continue as Comms and IT minister in the new government with 3G licensing the first issue

[ciol] Finally the speculations have come to an end and Dr. Manmohan Singh gave a final shape to his jumbo Cabinet.

Though there were speculations that A Raja won't get the prestigious Communications and IT Ministry, finally it was decided on Thursday that those portfolios could go to him for the second consecutive term.

This is Raja's fourth term in Lok Sabha. After the portfolio allocations were over Raja said that auction of spectrum for 3G services and introduction of IT at the lowest level in the government to make the functioning paperless are on top of his agenda.

"Auctioning of 3G spectrum is on top of my priority list," PTI quoted Raja as saying immediately after announcement of the portfolios. As far as the schedule for auctioning of 3G spectrum is concerned, the Minister said the DoT would take the proposal in the Cabinet at the earliest.

As per reports, he also expressed hope that the country would witness further tariff reduction wherein local calls could be priced as low as 10 paise per minute.

Raja's previous tenure was marred with controversy, especially with regards to the 2G spectrum allocation. Many political parties, including the CPIM and BJP, had lashed out at the Government saying that the manner in which the 2G spectrum was allocated by the Communications Ministry has led to a huge scandal in the country and caused a loss of around 60,000 crore to the exchequer.

It was quite accidentally that the responsibility of IT and Telecommunication fell on A.Raja during the previous NDA regime, in which he was the Environment Minister, after Dayanidhi Maran was forced by the DMK to resign. And in the current ministry, Maran has got Textiles Ministry.

A Raja retains IT and Telecom Ministry

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