The constitution of a JPC probe into the telecoms scandal seems almost certain, going by recent media reports. Previous JPCs have taken between 6 and 21 months to submit their reports. Given the coalition dynamics currently, we expect at least a 12-24 month time frame for a JPC report. In the interim, policy decisions could get impacted. The emergence of regulatory clarity in the sector will be pushed back by one-two years due to JPC, with policy paralysis in the interim.
What will be Impacted ?
In the interim, we expect regular policy decisions, such as those on spectrum fee, renewal charges, M&A rules and award of additional 2G spectrum, to reach a standstill. The uncertainty is in what could be potential outcome post JPC.
The learned Prime Minister should appoint a professional of the caliber of Nandan Nilekani as an Independent Telecom Minister who will clean the existing mess and set a proper Roadmap for the sector viz – Auction of Spectrum, Yearly Incremental Fees, Freeing of spectrum addressing National Security Concerns, Telecom Equipment sourcing, Mergers & Acquisition, etc.