BSNL listing only after financial performance improves: Govt

"The issue of listing would be taken after the performance of BSNL improves to get the right valuation and after obtaining the views of different stakeholders, like staff union and associations," DoT said in a reply to queries sent by Public Accounts Committee on performance of BSNL.

The disinvestment in BSNL will pave the way for the IPO and consequent listing on the stock exchanges. BSNL has posted its first ever net loss of over Rs 1,822 crore in the last financial year from a net profit of over 574 crore in 2008-09 and over Rs 10,183 crore in 2004-05.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had constituted a committee headed by Sam Pitroda to look into the reasons for BSNL's poor performance and suggest ways to improve it.
The Pitroda panel had suggested among other things, 30 per cent disinvestment in the telecom PSU.

The proposal met with stiff opposition from the employees' unions and associations of BSNL, which were against any move to offload government's equity in the company.
Meanwhile, DoT has constituted an internal committee headed by Member (Services) to look into the recommendations of Sam Pitroda panel and give its report after taking inputs from BSNL management and employee associations.

BSNL, which has been facing competition from private players, saw its market share (GSM and WLL) declining to 11.44 per cent in June 2010 from 15.64 per cent in March 2008. The case of granting Navratna status, under which cash-rich PSUs are given a certain autonomy with regard to investments and other financial transactions, to BSNL will also be considered only after its listing.

The apex committee under chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary in its meeting held in July 2008, had made the listing of Central PSUs a pre-condition for granting Navratna status. Besides disinvestment, Pitroda commitee also suggested voluntary retirement to over one lakh staff as part of steps to improve BSNL's financial health.

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