The news about Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and its troubling financial situation is not new in the telecom industry. Ever since the kickstart of the data tariff war, the state-led telecom operator has been in a tough spot, financially speaking with all the debt and the payment that it owes to the vendors. The state-led telco also has a huge burden of paying salaries to its employees. Out of all the telecom operators in the industry right now, BSNL has the highest salary to revenue ratio, which is also the reason for its tough financial situation. Now, amidst all this crisis, there have also been talks about BSNL and MTNL’s closure, and the idea has been floating around quite a bit. A few days back, a new report made rounds of the internet which included the finance ministry’s comments on the same topic. Now, in a new release sent by BSNL, the government led telco has negated these statements.
BSNL Focuses on Revival of Company
In its press release sent out by the telco minutes ago, it noted that BSNL has been in service since long and it continues to remain that way. The telco also highlighted the fact that it is in the process of seeking a revival package from the government and hence closure is not an option which it is looking at for now. BSNL said, “Recently, there has been published in Media about the closure of BSNL. In this regard, it is clarified that there is a plan under consideration for revival of BSNL by Govt. of India by giving suitable package in terms of VRS/4G spectrum and allowing monetisation of assets available with BSNL.” Now it is worth noting that the talks of BSNL’s revival have also been afloat for long, but there has been no real progress on that front.
As per the latest report based on the inputs coming from the Finance Ministry, the cost of providing an attractive voluntary retirement scheme to all the 1.65 lakh employees of BSNL along with considering the repayment of its debt would cost the government Rs 95,000 crore. There was also news that the statements from the Financial Ministry have been not yet been formally forwarded to BSNL. Meanwhile, the BSNL employees union has been demanding for the revival of the telecom operator since long. The union in its previous attempts has raised its voice for a revival package which would bring VRS for the employees, and the 4G spectrum for the telco so that it could reach in a better position so as to compete with the private telecom operators. However, even that has not happened yet.
BSNL Still Not Near VRS and 4G Spectrum Allocation
Right now, BSNL is under a debt of Rs 13,900 crore. Along with this, BSNL in its release also noted, “We assure the esteemed customers that BSNL has always served the nation especially during difficult times of natural calamities and had provided affordable services throughout India even at remote places. We shall continue to do so in future.” Going by the words of BSNL, it seems that the telco currently has no plans of shutting down operations. On the other hand, it has been active on the consumer front rolling out new plans, prepaid vouchers, revising plans and offers. The telco has also been testing 4G services in many states of India including Kerala, Maharashtra and others. With this situation brewing in the industry, it remains to be seen which turn BSNL takes in the near future.