No plan under consideration for BSNL’s disinvestment: Govt tells Parliament

The current strength of employees is sufficient for the operation of the state-owned telecom corporation, Chauhan said


BSNL | Disinvestment | Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited

The government has no plans for disinvestment of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan in a written reply to the Lok Sabha also asserted that there is no delay or deficiency in services provided by BSNL due to the implementation of voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) in early 2020.

The current strength of employees is sufficient for the operation of the state-owned telecom corporation, Chauhan said.

“There is no plan under consideration for disinvestment of BSNL,” Chauhan said to a question related to immovable assets of BSNL.

The value of immovable assets, including buildings, lands, towers, telecom equipment and non-telecom equipment as of March 31, 2021, adds to Rs 89,878 crore (total netblock), as per audited financials.

As of December 31, 2021, the all India market share of BSNL stood at 9.90 per cent for mobile subscribers, and 15.40 per cent for wired broadband subscribers.

The government had approved a revival plan for BSNL in October 2019, which included measures to reduce the staff cost through a VRS for employees of 50 years of age and above, administrative allotment of spectrum for providing 4G services with funding through budgetary allocation, monetisation of non-core and core assets to generate resources to retire debt, meet capital expenditure and other requirement and debt restructuring by raising of sovereign guarantee bonds.

“As a result of these measures, BSNL has become EBITDA positive (operating profit) in 2020-21,” Chauhan said.

Responding to a separate question on national digital communications policy, Chauhan said the said policy was launched in 2018 with a vision to fulfil the information and communication needs of citizens and enterprises through the establishment of a ubiquitous, resilient, secure, accessible and affordable digital communications infrastructure.

The implementation of the objectives of the policy has not been divided into phases.

On whether the government intends to launch a follow-up policy with the completion of the NDCP (National Digital Communications Policy) in 2022, the minister replied, “As of now, the Government has not thought of launching a follow-up policy”.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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