The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has convened a meeting on April 2 to deliberate on the revival of state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL, which have been facing severe financial crunch with mounting losses and stagnant revenues. Both the firms failed to pay February salary on time to their around 2-lakh-strong combined workforce. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been engaging with the firms for some time now to work out a solution.
There are three-four proposals which are being considered such as the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), monetisation of real estate, allotment of 4G spectrum and payment of interest cost of surrendered BWA spectrum.
However, finalising any of these options will take some time, so the government wants to explore the possibility of raising some capital in the interim that can be used to meet immediate financial needs of the firms.
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MTNL is in the final stages of working out a Rs 500-crore loan from a public sector bank, which will somehow meet its immediate need of paying March salaries. BSNL is expected to disburse March salaries on time after failing to do so for February. However, implementing any of the outlined revival proposals will be difficult.