Govt considering capital infusion in BSNL

New Delhi: The government is taking steps to make public sector BSNL more competitive and these include upgradation of technology and capital infusion, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.

Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government has inherited legacy issues and steps are being taken to make BSNL more competitive.

“To ensure stability in the Telecom sector, one PSU is very important,” Prasad told the house, adding that it must be noted that India has the cheapest mobile and data rates across the world.

Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Shamrao Bhotre said the government is considering capital infusion, including equity infusion in the public sector telecom company

He said the government is also working out introduction of 4G services in the country, after members expressed concern over lack of technology upgradation by the BSNL.

“The government has taken and will take in future steps to improve the BSNL. These include capital infusion and equity infusion and you will see its results soon,” the minister said.

He said the BSNL has to spend 75 per cent of its revenues in paying salaries to employees, while private companies have very low employee cost.

While members were critical of the BSNL functioning, BJP member from Uttar Pradesh Hanath Singh Yadav said the services are so poor that when he tried to call someone in the other room in his house, the call went to Siliguri.

Meanwhile, in his written reply, the minister said, “Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has informed that no proposal to lay off over 54,000 employees has been approved by BSNL.”

He said as per TRAI report the total market share of BSNL is 10.72 per cent as on March 31, 2019, including 9.96 per cent in mobile wireless technology.

“However, stiff competition in mobile segment, high employee cost and absence of 4G services (except in few places for BSNL) in the data-centric telecom market is adversely affecting the competitive strength of BSNL,” he said.