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From telecom spectrum auction to sugar export subsidy: Here are key Cabinet announcements

Telecom Spectrum Auction: Spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz frequency bands would be auctioned for a validity period of 20 years.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 16, 2020 5:46:32 pm
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar addressing the media on Cabinet decisions. (Screengrab: Youtube/PIB India)

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the next round of the telecom spectrum auction, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar informed in a press briefing adding that the cabinet has approved relief for sugarcane farmers and improvement in electricity infrastructure in the northeastern states.

Spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz frequency bands would be auctioned for a validity period of 20 years. A total of 2251.25 MHz is being offered with total valuation of Rs. 3,92,332.70 crore (at reserve price), the government said in its statement.

“The notice inviting applications shall be issued by this month itself and by March we propose to hold the auction of these spectrums,” Information Technology (IT) and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He added that the new spectrum will help in enhancing the telecom infrastructure and betterment of services and said that the conditions for these spectrum auctions will be the same as those of 2016 auctions.

Cabinet approves Rs 3,500 crore sugar export subsidy

Apart from the decision on spectrum auctions, the Cabinet also approved a subsidy of Rs 3,500 crore to sugar mills for the export of 60 lakh tonnes of sugar during the ongoing marketing year 2020-21 (October-September) in a bid to help them clear outstanding dues to sugarcane farmers, Javadekar said.

The minister said that both the “sugar industry, as well as sugarcane farmers, are in crisis” due to the high domestic production which is estimated at 310 lakh tonnes against an annual demand of 260 lakh tonnes. He said that the decision will benefit approximately five crore farmers.

“This subsidy aims at covering expenses on marketing costs including handling, upgrading and other processing costs and costs of international and internal transport and freight charges on export of upto 60 LMT of sugar limited to Maximum Admissible Export Quota (MAEQ) allocated to sugar mills for sugar season 2020-21,” the government said in its statement.

Cabinet approves revised cost estimate of North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the revised cost estimate of the North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP) for six states at an estimated cost of Rs 6,700 crore.

Javadekar in his media address said that the main objective of this project is the Centre’s commitment towards economic development of the North East region by strengthening the Intra-State Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure in the Region.

He added that implementation of this scheme will help in creating a reliable power grid and improve connectivity to the upcoming load centers in North Eastern Region.

“The scheme shall also increase the per capita power consumption of these States, and shall contribute to the total economic development of the North-Eastern Region,” a government statement said.

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