Home / Industry / Telecom /  Govt picks out BSNL, MTNL assets for sale

NEW DELHI : The government has identified several assets of state-owned telecom companies Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) for sale in FY22, a top government official said.

The asset monetization is part of the revival plan for BSNL and MTNL, which the Union cabinet approved in October 2019. The package included a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to slash employee cost and a merger of MTNL with BSNL, which has now been shelved due to the companies’ financial constraints.

“There is a package that has been approved, which includes a number of things," said Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary, department of investment and public asset management (Dipam). “There was VRS, money allocated to buy 4G spectrum and so on so forth. One of the considerations was they will raise money through monetization of BSNL and MTNL properties. There are several properties which have been identified and going forward, they will go for bidding," Pandey told television news channel CNBC-TV18.

Pandey, however, said the bidding process of these assets will not be completed in the next fiscal since there are a large number of properties. Proceeds from the sale of the assets will help the government raise money to turn around the two money-losing firms.

“I don’t think we will be able to complete the bidding in FY22 because there are a large number of properties, but there will be a substantial number of assets which will be brought to bidding," he added.

The merger and revival plan, which was estimated at 69,000 crore, included capital infusion of 20,140 crore by the Centre to meet the cost of spectrum for BSNL’s 4G rollout. The government also agreed to bear the GST amount of 3,674 crore on the overall spectrum cost. Assets worth 38,000 crore will be monetized in four years.

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