GoM on BSNL, MTNL revival expected to meet on Jun 11

A Group of Ministers looking into the revival strategy for BSNL and MTNL, is scheduled to meet on June 11.

New Delhi: A Group of Ministers looking into the revival strategy for BSNL and MTNL, is scheduled to meet on June 11.

"Its (GoM) scheduled for June 11," official sources said.

The GoM, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was constituted after Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raised concerns over the future of the two loss-making PSUs.

BSNL losses are expected at around Rs 8,198 crore, and that of MTNL is likely to be around Rs 3,300 crore for the financial year 2012-13.

The GoM has to decide on providing financial support to BSNL and MTNL for retaining airwaves beyond the initial quantity that was allocated to them for mobile and other wireless services. The cost of these airwaves amounts to around Rs 6,912 crore for BSNL and Rs 3,205 crore for MTNL.

The GoM has also to look into the proposal of the two companies to surrender wireless broadband spectrum.

BSNL and MTNL were asked to pay Rs 8,313.8 crore and Rs 4,533.97 crore, respectively, on June 20, 2010, for the airwaves that are being currently used to provide 4G services.

Another major issue of wages and voluntary retirement scheme for both the PSUs has to be decided by GoM.

DoT has sought GoM's view on the proposal to implement voluntary retirement scheme in both the PSU's -- for 1 lakh BSNL employees and 20,000 employees in MTNL.

Overall, the salary and pension expenses of MTNL employees form 103 percent of the company's revenue, and for BSNL it is 49 percent.

DoT will also seek GoM's nod on the issue of MTNL's pension liabilities through lumpsum payment of around Rs 5,925 crore.

The GoM has been re-constituted following resignation of Ashwani Kumar, who was a member as Law Minister. Sources said barring Kumar, rest of the members are part of the GoM.

The members include Sibal who also dons the hat of Law Minister now, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy.