Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

DoT announces strategic plan for 7 telecom PSUs, including BSNL, MTNL

The strategic plan is aimed at creating synergies among the telecom PSUs, which includes frameworks to facilitate manpower sharing, utilize vacant land and buildings, boost technology and settle legal issues and financial claims

New Delhi: The department of telecommunications (DoT) on Thursday unveiled a strategic plan to create synergies among its seven public sector units (PSUs) which includes frameworks to facilitate manpower sharing, utilize vacant land and buildings, boost technology innovation and export promotion and, importantly, settle legal issues and financial claims.

“The world over, telecom sector is moving towards massive consolidation... harnessing synergy is now an imperative not a luxury... our PSUs must come together. Turf issues often come to the fore at the lower level, but at a higher level, I hope (officials at PSUs) can rise above turf issues and leverage each other’s strengths," telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.

There are seven PSUs under the DoT—Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL), ITI Ltd, Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), and Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC).

PSUs under DoT will be prohibited from going to court against each other, the framework released on Thursday stated. A PSU should first approach the DoT; timelines have been laid down for appointment of an arbitrator and arriving at a settlement. If the dispute is not solved, it will be referred to the law ministry for settlement through the Permanent Machinery of Arbitration.

BSNL, BBNL, MTNL, TCIL and ITI, through a memorandum of understanding, have also developed a framework to address payment issues that arise among them during execution of contracts. Apart from this, the DoT framework also calls for deployment of excess manpower on a contract or project basis, and sets definite timelines for identification of excess manpower in lending PSUs, finalising terms and conditions for completion of manpower deployment to projects in borrowing organizations. All information regarding vacant land and buildings will be put on a common portal developed by BBNL. This is expected to save resources as BSNL and MTNL have a lot of vacant space, while other PSUs need space and take it on lease from outside organizations.

While BSNL and MTNL provide telecom services, BBNL is tasked with creating broadband infrastructure in rural areas. TCIL is a consultancy for telecom projects in India and overseas; ITI manufactures telecom products; C-DoT is an autonomous body engaged in telecom research and development; and TEC advises the government on technology and policy issues.

Other MoUs signed included one between TEC and C-DoT to work together to prepare a road map on various technologies. Another has TCIL teaming up with ITI to utilize spare optical fibre manufacturing capacity of Tamil Nadu Telecommunications Ltd, a joint venture between TCIL and the government of Tamil Nadu.

TCIL, ITI and C-DoT have entered into an MoU for export of products and services to foreign markets.

C-DoT has also signed an agreement with ITI that would provide the latter licence to manufacture, market and sell C-DoT’s terabit router technology which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on imports.

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