New Delhi: The government signalled on Thursday that it is actively considering the revival of BSNL. This happened when Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad went on record to say that the existence of the telecom PSU is in the strategic interest of the nation and the government is looking to resolve issues plaguing it.
While acknowledging that there are problems in the telecom sector, Prasad said these issues are being examined by the government.
Govt looking into legacy issues for revival of BSNL
“BSNL is in the strategic interest of the nation. Whenever there is flood, cyclones, BSNL is the first one to offer services for free. 75 percent of their revenues goes into the salary of employees while others manage it in 5-10 percent. There are legacy issues which we are looking in to,” Prasad said at India Economic Conclave.
The minister added that the government is also working to resolve problems in the telecom sector, but expects service provider to be responsible by upgrading their network and ensuring that customers are satisfied with the services.
‘Would like India to become a hub of 5G IPR’
While Prasad did not give any timeline for the launch of 5G services in India, he said that he would like India to become a hub of 5G intellectual property rights.
“We have given spectrum for demonstration purposes. I would like India to become good hub of 5G IP but we have to work carefully as to what kind of ecosystem develops in the world as far as 5G is concerned. Will it come in one year or two year, it will create opportunity, it will create problem also,” he said.
The news comes a week after PSU Watch reported that sources have said that a group of ministers has been formed, headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to consider the revival of BSNL and MTNL. The GoM has approved a revival plan proposed by the Department of Telecom (DoT).
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The GoM had earlier given a nod to a revival package for the loss-making PSUs in mid-July. However, finance ministry officials later raised over 80 objections to the proposal prepared by the telecom ministry.
BSNL has not been able to pay salaries
The debt-ridden telecom company has not been able to pay staff salaries for September. Reports have been suggesting that the Finance Ministry wants public sector telecom firms BSNL and MTNL to shutdown.