Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar will head a reconstituted Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) that will take decisions on several matters linked to the auction of spectrum.
Mr. Pawar will replace Pranab Mukherjee, who has resigned from the post of Finance Minister to contest the presidential elections. The union cabinet had earlier deferred a decision on the reserve price for the 2G spectrum auction as the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) meeting to discuss the matter was postponed indefinitely.
The Supreme Court has set a deadline of 31 August for completing the 2G spectrum auction, which is required following scrapping of the 122 licences in February. However, as the key EGOM has been deferred, the decision of the reserve price is unlikely soon. This indicated that the government is likely to miss the deadline for the auction of the 2G spectrum.
Besides decision on base or reserve price, the EGoM might also discuss the possibility of mortgaging spectrum by the telecom companies for obtaining loans and financial assets. Trai had recommended that the reserve price for each unit of airwaves in the 1800 MHz band be set at 3,622 crore and the telecom department has proposed a hike of 17 per cent on the price.
Telecom service providers in the country are opposing high price of spectrum.