Government approves next round of spectrum auction, announces sugar export subsidy

Amid ongoing farmers protests, the Union cabinet met on Wednesday and took decisions relating to the agriculture, telecommunications and energy sectors. Announcing the decisions, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Council of Ministers would provide a subsidy on 60 lakhs of sugar for the benefit of five million farmers and five lakh workers. The money will be credited directly to the farmers’ bank accounts. “In the last two and three years, there has been a production surplus and therefore the price has dropped,” Javadekar said. Farmers will receive three credits in the coming days, the minister added.

The food ministry had proposed a subsidy of 3,600 crore rupees for exports of 60 lakh tons of sugar in the 2020-21 marketing year (October-September).

In another major announcement, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the auction for the next spectrum assignment round was also approved by the Cabinet. The last auction was held in 2016.

“Cabinet approves the spectrum auction in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz frequency bands, for a term of 20 years. A total of 2251.25 MHz is offered with a total rating of Rs 3,92,332.70 crore, ”the minister said.

The meeting of the Union Cabinet, held by videoconference, started at 11.25.

The latest cabinet meeting was held on 9 December, where the cabinet gave a mod for Aatmanirbhat Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) to increase employment in the formal sector and incentivize the creation of new job opportunities during the catch-up phase of COVID-19 as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 package.