'GoM to implement Rs 69k cr revival plan of BSNL, MTNL'

Last Updated 28 December 2019, 15:38 IST

A seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted to fast-track and oversee the implementation of the Rs 69,000 crore revival plan for state-owned telecom corporations BSNL and MTNL, sources said.

The high-level group will expedite smooth implementation of recent decisions taken on revival of BSNL and MTNL that includes crucial elements like allocation of 4G spectrum and asset monetisation, official sources told PTI.

The GoM includes Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, they added.

"There are crucial elements like business viability, workforce, issue of bonds, monetisation and 4G spectrum allotment in the revival package. The GoM will expedite and oversee the plans," the sources said.

In October this year, the government had approved a Rs 69,000 crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetising their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years.

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the plan to combine Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) -- which provides services in Mumbai and New Delhi -- with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) that services the rest of the nation.

Over the last few weeks both the companies launched their Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) plans. Nearly 92,700 employees of BSNL and MTNL have opted for voluntary retirement, which is expected to save about Rs 8,800 crore annually in salary bills for the debt-laden telecom companies.

The two firms will also monetise assets worth Rs 37,500 crore in the next three years.

MTNL has reported losses in nine of the past 10 years and BSNL too has been ringing in losses since 2010.

(Published 28 December 2019, 15:38 IST)

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