The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has directed state-owned telecom operators, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), to identify core and non-core assets valued up to Rs 10 crore for monetisation, according to a report by Financial Express.
The move comes as the Centre has not been able to make significant progress in monetising higher value assets of BSNL and MTNL. As a part of the first revival package of Rs 69,000 crore for the two telecom PSUs in 2019, the Centre had approved asset monetisation.
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BSNL is expected to identify at least 10 properties in each circle with a value within the mentioned range. The circle CGMs have been given three months to identify assets that fall within the ambit of the BSNL board and can be monetised. Subsequently, BSNL will share the monetisation target with the telecom department.
Assets valued below Rs 10 crore will not require a Group of Ministers (GoM) approval for sale, as per the policy for monetisation of land and building assets of BSNL and MTNL. By contrast, assets valued between Rs 10 crore and Rs 100 crore will require GoM approval for monetisation. The Department of Public Enterprises will take up monetisation of properties valued over Rs 100 crore.
The telecom department has informed the standing committee on communications and IT that DIPAM had approved the monetisation of assets of BSNL worth Rs 18,200 crore and six assets of MTNL worth Rs 5,158 crore. However, issues such as permissions from state governments, local bodies, and title ownership of the assets, among others, have hampered the process, the report added.
The monetisation of assets has been a key strategy for the government to revive the struggling state-owned telecom operators. However, the process has been fraught with difficulties, particularly in obtaining necessary approvals and clearances.