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Telecom Minister Likely to Give Incentives to BSNL, MTNL on Thursday

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is likely to announce some “incentives” to BSNL and MTNL on December 25 – Good Governance Day – in a bid to accelerate the revival of the two state-owned loss-making telecom firms.
December 25 also coincides with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday.

“The minister (Prasad) is likely to announce incentives for BSNL and MTNL on Thursday in an effort to accelerate the governments’ efforts to bring the companies out of financial distress,” a source said.

The source, however, did not elaborate on the nature of incentives.

Prasad has been reviewing working of the telecom firms on a fortnightly basis and has been stressing on officials to work on increasing the revenue potential, identifying business opportunities among others, the source added.

Earlier this month, the Minister informed Lok Sabha that government is in process of revival of BSNL and MTNL through various short term, medium term and long term measures.

“The long term measures, including merger of BSNL and MTNL, would attempt to position these PSUs to emerge as market leaders in the converged telecommunication market,” he had said.

Government has also initiated several measure to bring BSNL and MTNL out of the red.

The measures include treatment of pension liabilities of government employees absorbed in MTNL who opted for combined service pension on parity with similar employees in BSNL.

Government has also waived the loan to BSNL involving an amount of Rs. 1,411 crores. Besides, it has provided financial support of Rs. 492 crores to MTNL towards payment of minimum alternate tax.

The government has also given a financial support of Rs. 6,724.51 crores to BSNL and Rs. 4,533.97 crores to MTNL on surrender of broadband wireless access spectrum.

However, at present there is no proposal for disinvestment in MTNL and BSNL, Prasad told the House.

BSNL’s provisional and unaudited loss up to September 30 for 2014-15 fiscal stood at Rs. 3,785 crores, whereas that of MTNL was Rs. 1,567 crores.

BSNL had incurred Rs. 7,019 crores loss in 2013-14, Rs. 7,884 crores in 2012-13 and Rs. 8,850 crores in 2011-12, whereas MTNL had reported a loss of Rs. 4,109 crores in 2011-12 and Rs. 5,322 crores in 2012-13.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier announced that December 25 will be celebrated across the country for good governance, which he said was ushered in the previous NDA regime led by Vajpayee and is being carried out in this government.

Good Governance Day will be marked by a campaign on Clean India, holding debates and discussions on good governance addressed by top BJP leaders, eliciting suggestions from public to improve governance among others.

Source: NDTV Gadgets

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