Centre has no immediate plans to merge MTNL and BSNL: Manoj Sinha

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 22, 2018 Published on February 22, 2018

MANOJ SINHA Telecom Minister   -  PTI

But synergy among state-owned firms is win-win for all, says Telecom Minister

The Centre said on Thursday there are no plans right now to merge BSNL and MTNL.

But it also said that the strategic plan outlined to promote synergy among state-owned telecom firms will strengthen and benefit both the organisations.

“There is no thinking in the government on merging the two. But we are taking steps to ensure that collaboration between MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd) and BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) strengthens and benefits both the organisations,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said on the sidelines of a Department of Telecom (DoT) event here.

DoT has unveiled a strategic plan to bring together state-owned companies and organisations in the sector to promote greater operational synergy among them, including effective utilisation of human resources as well as land and buildings.

The action plan covers MTNL, BSNL, Indian Telephone Industries Ltd (ITI), Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL), Testing and Certification of Telecom Equipments and BharatNet.

“Under the plan, we have identified specific areas where our teams will work on, including manpower, settlement of legal issues and utilisation of vacant space. I am pleased to see the focus on clearly-defined timelines and performance indicators,” Sinha said.

He emphasised it is ‘critical’ that substantial and tangible progress is made under the strategic plan in the next six months. A review mechanism at DoT will keep the plans on track, he said.

COAI-TRAI tussle

Meanwhile, when asked whether the Telecom Ministry will intervene in the ongoing face-off between established private operators under the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over the latter’s policies and regulations, Sinha pointed out that the regulator is ‘independent’.

“TRAI is an independent regulator. Whatever the Ministry has to do, it will do so with fairness and without bias,” he said.

Mobile operators under COAI recently alleged that decisions by TRAI on its latest Tariff Order have put all but one operator (Reliance Jio) at a huge disadvantage, and that its regulations have distorted the market.

Published on February 22, 2018
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