TOPIC – Clearing a low bar


India’s latest auction of telecommunications spectrum is a qualified success from the Centre’s perspective, mainly because the winning bids cumulatively exceeded the government’s own low expectations for receipts from the sale of airwaves. A total of 855.6 megahertz was successfully bid for — out of the 2,308.8 MHz that was on offer as the three largest telecom services providers sought to optimize their purchases of radio spectrum by seeking to acquire only what they deemed essential airwaves, either as renewal or for strengthening their network, while entirely avoiding costlier bandwidth offerings. The newest entrant to the industry, Reliance Jio, was also the most acquisitive,   accounting for close to 60% of the spectrum bought at 488.35 MHz and contributed almost three­fourths of the ₹ 77,815 crores that the Department of Telecommunications garnered from the sale. That Jio’s ₹ 57,123 crores by itself surpassed the government’s estimate of₹ 45,000­₹ 50,000 crores for takings from the auction where the reserve price for the entire spectrum on offer across seven bands amounted to about ₹ 3.92­lakh crore, tells its own tale. Clearly cognisant of the prevailing overall economic circumstances amid the COVID­19 pandemic as well as the high level of indebtedness in the industry, the government appears to have tempered its expectations to a more realistic level. Still, the Centre can hardly be sanguine about an outcome where a mere 37% of the airwaves on offer found takers. In a repeat of the 2016 auction’s outcome, the significantly more efficient 700 MHz was yet again shunned by all bidders given its prohibitive reserve price. It is a little hard to fathom the government’s approach to pricing this nationally valuable resource, especially given its avowed intention of accelerating the digitization of the economy including the broadening and deepening of the digital delivery of the multitude of public services to India’s farthest reaches. The relatively low frequency 700 MHz, for instance, is considered as ideal for enhancing network availability and reach in the highly urbanized settings of large, densely built­up cities where the issue of poor signal penetration inside buildings is a perpetual bugbear for users and providers alike. For all the brave talk on the auction’s outcome providing assurance, the nation’s telecom authorities need to take a hard look at the entire policy framework that has contributed a fair share to the current precarity in the industry. From auction formats that may no longer be relevant given the sharply reduced number of players, to grossly unrealistic pricing of spectrum, and regulatory norms and tax practices that threaten to tip the sector into a fractious duopoly, the government has its task cut out. It must now act quickly to ensure it does not end up hurting the very sector that has become a key multiplier of economic empowerment and progress.

The Hindu Editorial Words with meanings, synonyms, and antonyms 


Perspective (noun) – The appearance of things relative to one another as determined by their distance from the viewer

Synonyms – point of view, attitude, stance, slant, panorama

Antonyms – hopeless, unpromising, ineffectual, befuddlement, dumbness


Acquisitive (adjective) – Eager to acquire and possess things especially material possessions or ideas

Synonyms – greedy, grasping, avaricious, mercenary

Antonyms – bounteous, generous, bountiful, openhanded, altruistic


Garnered (verb) – To obtain or collect something such as information or support

Synonyms – amassed, collected, accumulate, amass, accrued

Antonyms – broadly dispersed, dispelled, disseminated, scattered everywhere


Cognisant (adjective) – Showing knowledge or understanding or realization

Synonyms – aware, sensible, consciously

Antonyms – accidentally, insentient, oblivious, unsuspecting


Sanguine (adjective) – Anticipating the best;

Synonyms – confident, optimistic, rubicund, florid, buoyant

Antonyms – pessimistic, depressed, pale, sallow, pallid


Shunned (verb) – To avoid somebody/something

Synonyms – rejected, outcast, escaped, averted, forlorn

Antonyms – accepted, courted, embraced, teeming


Fathom (verb) – To understand something

Synonyms – comprehend, grasp, penetrate, decipher, plumb

Antonyms – misunderstand, interpret, bewilder, perplex


Avowed (adjective) – Openly acknowledged

Synonyms – professed, admitted, assert, stated, sworn

Antonyms – undeclared, disclaimed, woo woo, disavowed, classified


Penetration (noun) – Clear or deep perception of a situation

Synonyms – insight, discernment, incursion, acumen, acuteness

Antonyms – insanity, foolishness, departure, flippancy, abstention


Duopoly (noun) – A situation in which two suppliers dominate the market for a commodity or service

Synonyms – bipolarity