In the Lok Sabha, the Ministry of Communications indicated that there are no plans to privatize the government-owned telecoms company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL).
When DMK MP DM Kathir Anand inquired if the company’s assets will be considered for BSNL disinvestment, Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan answered, “There is no plan under consideration for BSNL disinvestment.” The minister requested detailed information on BSNL’s immovable holdings in India, which included buildings, lands, towers, and telecom equipment.
According to the ministry’s data, BSNL has 3,266 buildings spread throughout all circles, 1,388 towers and satellites, 21,042 telecom equipment, and 686 non-telecom equipment. Non-telecom equipment comprises computer-end user devices, electrical fittings, furnishings and fixtures, motor vehicles, and launches, whereas telecom equipment includes apparatus and plants, cables, computer servers, installation test equipment, lines, and wires, and subscriber installation.
In 2018-19, BSNL’s losses nearly doubled to about Rs 15,000 crore, up from Rs 5,000 crore in 2017-18. In 2017-18, it lost Rs 7,993 crore, whereas, in 2016-17, it lost Rs 4,793 crore. In the fiscal year 2019-20, the firm lost Rs 15,499.58 crore.
According to an official, it reduced its net loss to Rs 7,441.11 crore in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021. According to a BSNL official, “The loss has come down mainly due to reduction in employee wages on account of voluntary retirement opted by 78,569 employees.”
BSNL’s net worth dropped to Rs 51,686.8 crore in FY2021, down from Rs 59,139.82 crore the previous year. In FY2020-21, the company’s outstanding debt climbed to Rs 27,033.6 crore from Rs 21,674.74 crore in FY2019-20.