Taking cue from holy book Bhagwad Gita, the draft telecom bill has equated spectrum to the soul which remains immortal and has used the analogy to propose its use for continuity of telecom service of entities that face insolvency.
The draft telecom bill 2022 recognises that spectrum is a valuable and inexhaustible natural resource which has an element of public good and therefore, it is vital to ensure its efficient use and management.
“In a way, spectrum is similar to atma, which is ajar, amar as described in Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. Like atma, spectrum too does not have any physical form, yet it is omnipresent,” the draft said.
Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, while making a presentation on the telecom bill, said spectrum has remained intact since the time the universe was created.
“Nature of the spectrum is different from the rest of the assets. Spectrum is an asset which does not deteriorate. If it is with X and tomorrow with Y, then there will be no difference in it while transiting from X to Y. It was not consumed. There was no loss in it.
“Unlike other assets, spectrum is a totally inexhaustible asset. Since the time the universe was created, the spectrum has remained intact. That’s something very unique to telecom as an asset class. Keeping that in mind, the entire focus is that there should be continuity of services,” Vaishnaw said.
He added that spectrum is a public good and preserving its value and proper utilisation is very important.
The draft bill has proposed to allocate spectrum only through auction and without auction just for governmental functions.
“Therefore we have brought it in law that spectrum allocation should be only through auction except certain categories of governmental and public functions. Spectrum is the most basic raw material of telecom services.
“If we have to make India a very important power in telecom technology, then we have to have a framework which allows very efficient and effective use of spectrum. All the changes are prospective. Nothing is retrospective,” Vaishnaw said.
The bill proposes to allocate spectrum through administrative process to even public sector telecom firms BSNL and MTNL, some satellite applications like direct-to-home, VSAT, mobile satellite services in L and S band, radio backhaul for telecom services etc.
The draft bill provides a process of return of unutilised spectrum to ensure its efficient utilisation.