New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) The government has no plan to close down loss-making public sector telecom firms BSNL and MTNL, Minister of State for Telecom Sanjay Dhotre told Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
The minister shared that BSNL's loss has swelled to Rs 15,500 crore from Rs 14,904 crore, and that of MTNL increased to Rs 3,811 crore from Rs 3,398 crore between 2019-20 and 2018-19.
"The government has no plan to close down BSNL and MTNL," Dhotre said in a written reply.
The government had announced a revival package of around Rs 69,000 crore in October 2019.
The revival plan includes reduction in employee costs through a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for the employees of age 50 years and above, administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services with funding through budgetary allocation and debt restructuring by raising of sovereign guarantee bonds.
It also includes monetisation of assets to generate resources for retiring debt, capital expenditure and other requirements, and in-principle approval for merger of BSNL and MTNL.
In his reply to a separate question, Dhotre said 78,569 employees of BSNL and 14,387 of MTNL opted for VRS which led to about 50 per cent reduction of salary expenditure in BSNL and by about 75 per cent in MTNL.
"The government has allotted Rs 16,206 crore to meet the total funds requirement for ex-gratia on VRS. An amount of Rs 14,890 crore has been released to BSNL and MTNL.
"In addition, the government has incurred an expenditure for Rs 1,952 crore on account of incremental pension till December 21, 2020," Dhotre said.
The government has provided sovereign guarantees of Rs 8,500 crore and Rs 6,500 crore to BSNL and MTNL, respectively.
BSNL has raised Rs 8,500 crore at a coupon rate of 6.79 per cent per annum, while MTNL has raised Rs 4,361 crore at a coupon rate of 7.05 per cent per annum and Rs 2,139 crore at coupon rate of 6.85 per cent per annum in two tranches.
"Total allocation of Rs 24,084 crore for spectrum for 4G services was made in FY 2020-21. Due to a delay anticipated in launch of 4G services, the funds are being re-allocated in financial year 2021-22," Dhotre said.
Under the revival package, the government had approved asset monetisation plans of BSNL and MTNL.
"BSNL has informed that it has been able to generate Rs 241.87 crore from monetisation of land/building assets since announcement of revival package," the minister said.