Although wrong-doing was alleged immediately after the sale in 2008, it was only in November this year that Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, forced Raja to resign. The telecom minister’s position became untenable after the Supreme Court intervened, and several potentially damaging phone recordings involving a high-powered lobbyist and prominent journalists were leaked. Besides forcing the resignation, the telecom scam has tainted the prime minister’s office as well.
The telecommunications infrastructure of an economy is the equivalent of the nervous system of a body. Without a robust, affordable, efficient and reliable telecommunications system no economy can prosper in what is called the “information age.” Corruption in the licensing of spectrum can be expected to damage the roll-out and use of the telecommunications infrastructure. Telecommunications have significant backward and forwards links with all other sectors of the economy. The economic cost to India could well be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.