Home / Companies / News /  Budget: Govt to infuse 52,937 crore into BSNL in FY24

New Delhi: The government will infuse 52,937 crore in state-run telecom carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in FY24, higher than 44, 720 crore budgeted in FY23, primarily for 4G spectrum, technology upgrading and restructuring in the fourth largest carrier.

According to the Budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday, the government has lowered the capital infusion in BSNL for FY23 to 33.269 crore, while keeping the amount for voluntary retirement scheme being offered for employees at 3,300 crore. The government has also allocated 18,127 crore as viability gap funding for FY23.

For FY24, the government has provisioned 2218 crore as grant in aid for the telco’s GST payments on purchase of 4G spectrum, and an additional 2671 crore provisioned for voluntary retirement scheme being offered for employees at BSNL and MTNL.

The government had announced a 1.64 trillion revival package for BSNL in July last year which included a 26,316 crore scheme for extending 4G services to close to 25,000 remaining villages, conversion of spectrum dues to equity, capex support, debt restructure with sovereign guarantee backing and viability gap funding for rural wireline operations.

As part of the package, BSNL will get spectrum in 900/1800 MHz band administratively at the cost of 44,993 crore through equity infusion, capex funding of 22,471 crore over next four years and 13,789 crore viability gap funding for rural wire-line operation. The company’s authorised capital will be raised from 40,000 crore to 1,50,000 crore in lieu of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, provision of capex and allotment of spectrum. BSNL will be able to de-stress its balance sheet by refinancing debt with sovereign guarantee backed long term bonds for over 40,000 crore.

The BSNL revival move, which also includes its merger with Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) for better infrastructure utilisation, underscored the government’s policy of retaining one state-run business in strategic sectors.

Gulveen Aulakh
Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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