The government on Thursday ruled out any plans to sell stake or disinvestment of ailing telecom PSUs — Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in the Parliament while fixing a target of Rs 200 crore and Rs 300 crore for them from their asset monetization in current fiscal.
While the specific assets to be monetized during the current fiscal year have yet not been identified, the target for asset monetization during the current fiscal year for BSNL and MTNL is Rs 200 crore and Rs 300 crore respectively, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
“(There is) no proposal for disinvestment of BSNL and MTNL is under consideration”, he said.
State-run BSNL’s losses for the year 2018-19 have doubled to nearly Rs 15,000 crore from 2017-18 and revenue has also dwindled to Rs 19,321 crore in fiscal 2019.
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Telecom Minister said MTNL operates in metros of Delhi and Mumbai while BSNL operates in the rest of India. The Cabinet has approved the revival plan for BSNL and MTNL which inter-alia, includes in-principle approval for the merger of BSNL and MTNL. The merger will benefit BSNL/MTNL through pan-India footprint, synergy in operations, reduced fixed costs and overheads, sharing of technical infrastructure and enhanced Enterprise Business.
As per the figures are given by him in 2018-19, BSNL posted a loss of Rs 14,903 crore and the loss was Rs 7,993 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 4,793 crore in 2016-17. MTNL posted a loss of Rs 3,398 crore in 2018-19, Rs 2,971 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 2016-17 as well.
The revenue of BSNL in 2017-18 was Rs 25,071 crore and Rs 31,533 crore in 2016-17. MTNL’s revenue was Rs 3,552 crore in 2016-17, Rs 3,116 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 2,607 crore in 2018-19.