Back in telecom ministry, Scindia faces first task of 5G spectrum auction


NEW DELHI, Jun 10 : Returning to the telecom ministry after about one and half decades, Jyotiraditya Scindia as the new telecom minister has his task cut out to complete the 5G spectrum auction scheduled to be held later this month.

Besides the spectrum auction, where over Rs 96,000 crore worth of airwaves will be on the block, Scindia will also have to prioritise issues like satellite broadband services, security clearance for Elon Musk-led Startlink and formulate rules for the new Telecommunications Act.

Scinida will have to set the ball rolling on a 100-day agenda that would outline clear priority areas, key deliverables, roadmaps and targets for the telecom sector.

The big mega event to play out later this month – as early as June 25 – is the spectrum auction, where available spectrum in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz bands will see the participation of telecom biggies Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel.

Scindia, who takes over the baton from Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, inherits a sector with improved financial metrics, lower litigations, and lesser uncertainty following the disposal of several cases in courts.

Scinida’s ministerial journey started as Minister of State for telecom, Post and IT in 2008 with DMK’s A Raja as his senior minister. He was instrumental in driving post office modernisation with the Project Arrow scheme.

As a minister in the Modi 3.0 government, Scindia will have the challenge of reviving state-run telecom firm BSNL and settling the debt issues of MTNL.

Scindia, who was the aviation minister in the previous Modi government, won from Guna in Madhya Pradesh by more than 5.40 lakh votes. (PTI)