The Group of Ministers(GoM) on Revival of BSNL which met yesterday, 9th January 2014, presided by Finance Minister P.Chidambaram, decided to refund the Spectrum Charges to BSNL and MTNL. BSNL will get a refund of Rs. 6,724.51 crore and MTNL Rs. 4,533.97 crore.
The charges are being refunded for the surrender of spectrum by BSNL for Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata and both Delhi and Mumbai for MTNL.
This has been one of the long pending demand of both the PSUs since the spectrum allotted to them was not technically and financially viable in the above areas.
“The refund will be made to ensure support for the revival and revitalisation of BSNL and MTNL in the competitive telecom sector. It shall also help these PSUs to arrange finances to meet basic financial commitments such as operation and maintenance of their telecom network,” the GoM stated.
The Joint Forum of BSNL/MTNL Unions/Associations has been continuously pressurising the DOT and the Government to refund these charges, which will help the PSUs to reduce their loss and utilise the funds for development. It had also submitted detailed memorandum to the GoM on this subject.
This is not charity, but only refund of the money for the surrender of the airwaves, which the government can again auction for mopping up funds.
The GoM has to take decisions still on the demand of the Joint Forum to mandate all the Central and state Governments and their PSUs that they should use BSNL/MTNL services. The proposal is already with the Government. Another major demand is to waive the Licence Fee for these government companies.
Our pressure should continue in these matters.