The Cabinet today gave its nod to a wide range of policy issues like telecom spectrum trading norms, gold monetisation and gold bond scheme.
Boost for telecom
The Cabinet approved of the telecom spectrum trading norms today, allowing telcos to buy or sell airwaves from each other. The telecom companies will now be able to trade un-utilised spectrum, in all bands, thereby consolidating the sector.
Telecom Minister Ravishankar Prasad said the spectrum, owned by the government, can now be traded between companies, given they comply with all the rules and regulations.
“There will be no need for permission. Companies will only have to intimate the government 45 days in advance,” he explained.
The government will also garner additional revenue from the spectrum trading as the buyer of spectrum will have to pay additional 1 percent for the airwave to the government.
“This is especially helpful for those companies that had bid and won airwaves but couldn’t expand their customer base,” Prasad added.
Gold monetisation scheme (GMS)
The government also gave its nod to the GMS that would allow gold depositors to earn interest on their physical gold (either bullion or jewellery) by depositing it into a metal account. Once the gold is deposited in metal account, it will start earning interest on the same.
Jaitley said the GMS will help put idle gold assets into use by accruing interest on it, therby ensuring it isn’t a dead investment.
The scheme was announced by Jaitley in his Budget 2015-16.
Speaking to the press post the meet, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Reserve Bank of India will issue sovereign gold bonds on behalf of the government and the interest rate will be decided keeping in mind the market rates from time-to-time.
The gold bond scheme has been announced to reduce India’s import of the precious metal, a key contributor to the current account deficit (CAD).
“Individuals can buy gold bonds of up to 500 gms in a year and interest will be paid
on them,” Jaitley said.