Every business undergoes expansion and recession. A thing that makes the firm survive is its strategic abilities. So is the case with BSNL, which experienced insane popularity during its initial phase and then encountered a dilapidated state. Nevertheless, PM Modi is right here to revive the strategic asset of India.
BSNL and BBNL’s big merger
During a cabinet meeting on 27 July, the Union Cabinet cleared the merger of state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) into the Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL). The decision came with the attention of reviving the state-owned telecom operator. In addition, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also announced a revival package of Rs 1, 64,156 crores for BSNL.
Moreover, he addressed telecom as a strategic sector. He also opined that the presence of BSNL in the telecom market acts as a market balancer. BSNL plays a crucial role in expanding telecom services in rural areas, developing indigenous technology, and disaster relief.
The revival package will include advancement of services and their quality, and de-stress the balance sheet of BSNL. Furthermore, the cabinet has decided to convert Rs 33,000 crores of statutory dues into equity.
Earlier in April 2022, the government had indicated that the merger of BSNL and BBNL would implement the ambitious ‘BharatNet’ project. This project is being carried out under the flagship of BBNL to provide connectivity in Gram Panchayats (GPs) through the optical fiber.
Currently, BSNL holds an optical fiber cable network of over 6.83 lakh kilometers. However, with the recent merger, it will receive an additional 5.67 lakh kilometers of optical fiber. It has been laid across 1.85 lakh village panchayats across the country using the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
The oldest telecom company in India experienced a great level of prominence. It has been a network provider for our grandparents, and probably for some of us too. We still remember it’s easy to grab the tagline “connecting India”. With its introduction, it soon secured an important and often visited corner of our houses where we used to spend hours on telephone calls.
However, it is also pertinent to note that no enterprise can survive without the proper functioning of its funds. It needs strategic decisions and managing policies to run an enterprise smoothly. But Congress, being a brain of oldies, its static brain was not able to stabilize the state-owned telecom company and adapt according to the changing market requirement.
As reported by Economic Times in February 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also accused Congress of causing the BSNL to “death almost”. Keeping her statement under light, it is clear that the state-owned telecom company has suffered incessantly with its income recorded at a mere Rs. 81.5 billion in the year 2022.
In the year 2017, BSNL’s income was scaled at Rs. 315.33 billion. However, in 2019, the numbers faced a steep decline marking Rs.193.21 billion. These figures can clearly display the dilapidated condition of BSNL.
It is an intrinsic need of the hour to boost the state-owned telecom service company. The company is continuously encountering a dark room with its future at stake. It can be evident with its current little to no customer ratio, which is causing the company a more increased debt trap. It is important to eradicate all the hindrances which are stopping the company to compete in the current market of network service providers.
PM Modi: A savior for BSNL
For these reasons, the Modi government is now working at a full-fledged level to curb the faults caused in the company. With the Modi government believing in privatization and capitalization, it is incessantly caring out efforts in reviving the state-owned company.
There have already been various sectors that were in the doldrums under the congress government. However, they were successfully revived under the flagship of PM Narendra Modi. The telecom service sector is just another instance of the Modi government correcting the faults of the UPA government.
BSNL being a public entity holds the responsibility of all the public agencies data. In addition, the agency indulges in activities like phone tapping for national security. And for this purpose, the government cannot rely on private companies for scrutiny. Thus, it becomes imperative for the government to bring back the lost stability of the state-owned service provider.
In the year 2019, the then Union Minister for Communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad also said that BSNL is a strategic asset for the country and thus the central government will revive it. “It is our government’s desire and me in particular, to revive it and make it professional.” He also emphasized that the government will make the telecom company profitable.
Therefore, BSNL is not a mere network service provider; rather it is a strategic asset, which is dedicated to servicing the general public of India. And thus, the Modi government is reviving the company with the induction of BBNL in it.
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