Well, the Indian government appears to be keen on putting Telecom on the backburner: as expected A. Raja’s resignation has been accepted, but instead of appointing a new minister to deal with the all the issues that are pending with the DoT, Kapil Sibal, Minister for HRD has been given additional charge of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. In our opinion, having Sibal take charge instead of another minister from Raja’s party is a good sign (hopefully, the investigations of the 2G spectrum scam will be held without much interference), but doesn’t Sibal have his hands full with education reforms and the Copyright Amendment Bill?
Really, given “additional charge” suggests that Telecom is a lower priority, and we’d much rather see Sibal take charge only of this ministry, or someone with a singular focus appointed. There is perhaps a case for the convergence of Telecom and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, so it wouldn’t have been unthinkable for Ambika Soni to be given additional charge, even though we believe that content and carriage should be with separate ministries. Our pick would have been to elevate Sachin Pilot to the position, given that he is currently Minister of State for Communications & IT: someone who understands the dynamics of the industry, and also understands what digital technologies have to offer in a converging environment. And perhaps, someone who is young enough to know what ROFLMAO means, as immaterial as that is.
In other news, Ratan Tata spoke yesterday about how he refused to pay a bribe to enter the airline business. Perhaps, while he is on the subject of ministers & bribes, can he also talk about allocation of 2G GSM license & spectrum to telecom operators in 2008, and whether bribes were sought or paid by anyone? Not that we’re suggesting that the Tata Group paid a bribe, of course. Just that, while he’s in the mood for talking about corruption, let’s get some more gossip…A comment from Joji Philip on Twitter suggests that Tata wrote a letter to the DMK chief saying that A Raja was “rational & fair”.
Update: we’ve edited the headline of this post, because some took it to mean as if we’re ROFLMAO’ing at Sibal. That’s not the case.
– Telecom Minister Andimuthu Raja Resigns