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Union Cabinet nod for merger of BSNL, MTNL

Thursday, 24 Oct 2019
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The Union Cabinet has given in-principle approval for merger of Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL).

The Cabinet gave approval for proposal for revival of BSNL and MTNL by administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services, debt restructuring by raising of bonds with sovereign guarantee, reducing employee costs, monetisation of assets and in-principle approval of merger of BSNL and MTNL.

The administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services to BSNL and MTNL will enable PSUs to provide broadband and other data services. The spectrum will be funded by the government of India by capital infusion in these PSUs at a value of Rs 20,140 crore.

In addition the GST amount of Rs 3,674 crore to the spectrum value will also be borne by the government of India through budgetary resources. By using this spectrum allotment, BSNL and MTNL will be able to deliver 4G services, compete in the market and provide high-speed data using their vast network, including in rural areas.

BSNL and MTNL will also raise long-term bonds of Rs 15,000 crore for which sovereign guarantee will be provided by the government of India. With this, BSNL and MTNL will restructure their existing debt and also partly meet CAPEX, OPEX and other requirements.  

Apart from this, BSNL and MTNL will also offer voluntary retirement to their employees, aged 50 years and above through Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), the cost of which will be borne by the government through budgetary support.

The ex-gratia component of VRS will require Rs 17,169 crore in addition, the government will be meeting the cost towards pension, gratuity and commutation. The details of the scheme will be finalised by BSNL/MTNL.

BSNL and MTNL will monetise their assets to raise resources for retiring debt, servicing of bonds, network upgradation, expansion and meeting the operational fund requirements.

With the implementation of the revival plan, it is expected that BSNL and MTNL will be able to provide reliable and quality services through its robust telecommunication network throughout the country, including rural and remote areas.

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