central government is considering a proposal to bring
public sector majors Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) under one umbrella.
MTNL offers basic,
cellular and Internet services in Delhi and Mumbai, whereas
BSNL is the incumbent basic, national long-distance, cellular
and Internet service provider in the rest of the country.
Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan says this proposal
is, however, in the thinking stage. Although both the
organisations are public sector units, there is a lot
of difference in the pay-scales, promotions and also the
employee strength in both these organisations. The biggest
challenge would, therefore, be to see how these differences
can be sorted out without causing any problems for the
says the government has not given up on the proposal to
divest stake in both MTNL and BSNL. I am not against
their disinvestment because I believe that the government
need not be involved in the telecom business. But then,
both these organisations have a solid history behind them
and it is not going to be easy to sell them off one fine
morning. Especially BSNL, which today has a 40-million
line capacity with 99.9 per cent of its exchanges digital
and nearly 2,50,373 route km of OFC network.
adds: Along with its vast customer base, BSNLs financial
and asset bases, too, are vast and strong. The telephone
infrastructure alone is worth about Rs 1,00,000 crore
with a turnover of Rs 22,000 crore and fixed assets valuing
more than Rs 90,000 crore.