The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the auction of telecom spectrum, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said at a press conference.

Spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz frequency bands will be auctioned for a validity period of 20 years, the government said in a statement. A total of 2251.25 MHz is being offered with total valuation of Rs 3,92,332.70 crore.

“By winning right to use spectrum through the auction, incumbent telecom service providers will be able to augment their network capacity whereas new players will be able to start their services,” it added.

Javadekar also said that the Cabinet has approved relief for sugarcane farmers and improvement in electricity infrastructure in the northeastern states.

He said the Cabinet will provide subsidy on 60 lakh tonne sugar which will benefit five crore farmers and five lakh workers. The money will directly be credited to the bank accounts of the farmers. “For the last two and three years, there have been a surplus in production and therefore the price has gone down,” Javadekar said. Farmers will get three credits in the coming days, the minister added.

This comes at a time when farmers have been protesting against the Centre’s three agricultural laws for three weeks now. Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi. The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.

Centre may blacklist some telecom equipment vendors

The telecom sector may soon have a list of companies from where firms can buy products and service, reported NDTV. This comes amid heightened tension with China.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad the Cabinet Committee on Security has decided to “enhance security of telecom sector” by designating a trusted source. “So there’s a trusted source and there’s a not trusted source,” he added.

Earlier, the Centre has banned over 100 mobile apps, most of them Chinese, citing threat to national security and sovereignty. Some of the popular applications in the banned list included TikTok, Shareit, Mi Video Call, Club Factory, UC Browser, Shein, WeChat and Cam Scanner, among others.

Tensions have spiralled on the border between India and China. Both sides have held several rounds of talks but the standoff has persisted. The tensions along the Line of Actual Control started with initial scuffles that led to a pitched battle – without firearms – in June that saw 20 Indian soldiers killed. Beijing, however, refused to release casualty numbers on its side. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time in 45 years.