BSNL’s revival plan hangs in balance as Finance Ministry bides its time

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on October 23, 2019

Cabinet meet today may not take up DoT proposal

Debt-laden Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL) revival plans will not be tabled at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, as the Finance Ministry is yet to respond to the earlier submitted plans.

Further, employees of the PSU are yet to get their September salary as on date, even as it is expected to be credited on Wednesday.

“The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is yet to receive the Finance Ministry’s comments on the revival plans, and upon receiving it, the department will prepare a final note to be tabled before the Cabinet. The unions were expecting the Cabinet to look into the issue on Wednesday, but now the revival plans seems to be delayed further,” sources close to the development told BusinessLine.

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Earlier, the Ministry was not keen on reviving the two PSUs — BSNL and MTNL. However, there seems to be a change in stance, with the Ministry looking at turning around the company.

Capital infusion

Earlier meetings at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), officials from PMO, Telecom and Finance Ministries, DoT, government think-tank NITI Aayog and BSNL were of opinion that the company needs capital infusion to enable it “stand on its legs”.

A number of proposals for the revival of BSNL was earlier approved by the Group of Ministers (GoM), DoT and the PMO, even though some of them were rejected by the PMO.

READ MORE: BSNL union seeks PM support on land monetisation plan

At the heart of the issue was the setting up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the ailing PSU’s land monetisation plans.

Even though this was approved by the Telecom Ministry and DoT, the PMO had rejected it.

SPV proposal rejected

The recommendation for an SPV was rejected, citing the experience at Air India where the model was a failure.

BSNL, which is yet to credit September salary to employees, is expected to pay the wages on Wednesday.

MORE READ:  BSNL may delay salary payout in September too

This was assured in a meeting last week with BSNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar.

The unions, led by the All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB), met BSNL CMD and Director HR Arvind Vadnerkar, and other directors last week to iron out the salary issue.

Published on October 22, 2019

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