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Will Revive BSNL to Make It Profitable, Merger with MTNL Within Two Years: Ravi Shankar Prasad

While BSNL is reporting losses since 2010, another telecom PSU MTNL has been in the red in nine of the past 10 years. The total debt on the two firms is around Rs 40,000 crore.

PTI

Updated:November 20, 2019, 7:04 PM IST
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Will Revive BSNL to Make It Profitable, Merger with MTNL Within Two Years: Ravi Shankar Prasad
File photo of Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

New Delhi: Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday assured the Lok Sabha that state-owned telecom player BSNL is going to be revived soon.

While BSNL is reporting losses since 2010, another telecom PSU MTNL has been in the red in nine of the past 10 years. The total debt on the two firms is around Rs 40,000 crore.

"We are going to revive BSNL and make it profitable," he told the Lower House during the Question Hour.

"The Cabinet in its meeting held on October 23, 2019, approved the revival plan for BSNL and MTNL which inter-alia includes in-principle approval for merger of BSNL and MTNL. The process of merger is likely to be completed in 18-24 months," Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

The government has earlier said that till the completion of the merger, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) will operate as a subsidiary of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).

Last month, the government approved a Rs 69,000 crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that included 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 package includes infusion of Rs 20,140 crore for purchase of 4G spectrum and Rs 3,674 crore for GST to be paid on spectrum allocation.

Other components of the package are the companies raising Rs 15,000 crore in debt on the sovereign guarantee and the government funding Rs 17,160 crore voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and another Rs 12,768 crore towards retirement liability.

Assets worth Rs 37,500 crore are expected to be monetised in the next three years.

The debt-ridden companies have been demanding spectrum to start 4G services to remain competitive in the market.

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