Chennai: State-owned crisis-hit telecom operators BSNL and MTNL in a bid to turn around their loss-making spree may be looking to leverage their assets to private players to generate income and offer VRS packages for employees to bring down salary bills.
Ten years ago, when India was embracing 3G, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) were at the forefront. Today, forced to the brink by cut-throat competition from private telecom regulators like Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone, the two state-owned operators were struggling to pay even salaries and defaulted for the first time in many years.
Both have been making losses continuously since 2009-10 and amidst the fierce competition and rock-bottom tariffs, salaries have become a heavy burden for the two companies. In the December quarter, MTNL’s salary cost at Rs 577.2 crore exceeded its revenue of Rs 514.5 crore. NITI Aayog, the federal think tank, has suggested shutting down the company.
DoT is also studying a revival plan prepared by IIM Ahmedabad by offering a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for employees to cut down on salary.
BSNL will also approach National Company Law Tribunal this week to recover dues of about Rs 700 crore from Reliance Communications, according to official sources. Earlier, debt-ridden RCom in its plea before the NCLAT said that it wants to voluntarily go back into the insolvency process, as it will help to sell its assets in a time-bound manner.