The Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday that the government is taking initiatives to make public sector telecom company BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) more competitive. Ravi Prasad, Communications Minister, said that the government has inherited legacy issues and steps are being taken to make BSNL more competitive.
"To ensure stability in the Telecom sector, one PSU is very important," he further said to the Upper House while also making a note that India has the cheapest mobile data and call rates in the world.
Sanjay Shamrao Bhotre, the Minister of State of Communications, said that the government is considering infusing capital, including equity in BSNL.
"The government has taken and will take in future steps to improve the BSNL. These include capital infusion and equity infusion and you will see its results soon," he said.
Members of the Parliament expressed their concerns over the lack of technology upgradation by the BSNL, to which Bhotre said that the government is working on introduction of 4G services in the country.
Speaking of BSNL's services, BJP member from Uttar Pradesh, Hanath Singh Yadav said the services are so poor that when he tried to call someone in the other room in his house, the call went to Siliguri.
In a written reply, Bhotre said, "Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has informed that no proposal to lay off over 54,000 employees has been approved by BSNL."
He also said that the PSU has to use 75 percent of its revenue to pay salaries of employees, while private companies have low employee cost.
It was further informed that according to a TRAI report, BSNL has a total market share of 10.72 percent in India. "However, stiff competition in mobile segment, high employee cost and absence of 4G services (except in few places for BSNL) in the data-centric telecom market is adversely affecting the competitive strength of BSNL."