Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) as well as Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) have been incurring losses for some time now. As a result, the two state-owned telecom organisations have been unable to pay salaries to their employees on time. The August salaries for BSNL staff have finally been paid after a long wait.
BSNL has incurred an estimated loss of about Rs 14,000 crore with revenue falling to Rs 19,308 crore during 2018–19. Its provisional loss was Rs 4,859 crore in 2015–16, Rs 4,793 the following year, and Rs 7,993 crore the year after. It is reported that the losses are expected to touch about Rs 14,202 crore in 2018-19.
The frustrated and worried employees of BSNL, presently numbering about 1,65,179, have even written to the prime minister, urging him to take steps to revive the organisation.
The employees have tried to draw attention to the fact that BSNL has played a significant role in building the nation and implementing government schemes and projects .
The letter highlighted that it is in the Government’s interest to revive BSNL, since it is the only operator allowed to provide services in delicate areas, such as Kashmir, due to security reasons. Despite its enormous losses, the Company has been providing services to government functionaries as well as security forces in the Kashmir valley.
The remote corners of India are connected via BSNL’s telecom services, through about 17,000 to 18,000 exchanges. Despite losses of Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 crore incurred to maintain these exchanges, BSNL has been providing services without which these remote rural areas will be totally cut off.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been looking at ways to bail out the two entities through some kind of revival packages including, voluntary retirement scheme, asset monetisation and allocation of 4G spectrum.