The media reports are always mentioning BSNL with adjectives like sick, incipient, loss making etc. with the ill motive of denigrating it and also giving a wrong signal to the public that BSNL is going to be privatised or closed. The government also wants the same, though Communications Minister has some Revival plan.
But is BSNL so sick and incipient? No sir, it is still vibrant, got good infrastructure, committed employees and increasing number of mobile subscribers every month. Let us look in to the details:( as on 31-03-2019)
12.68 crore subscribers – 11.56 crore Mobile 1.11 crore landline.( 3.94 crore rural including landline and GSM)
2.15 crore Broadband customers, including ADSL, FTTH, Wi-MAX, Wi-Fi etc.
32,760 Telephone Exchanges – 8,641 urban and 24,029 rural.
8.49 lakh Route Kms of OFC network
2,548 Microwave Route Kms and 95 Satellite Earth Stations
GSM BTS – 1,46,065, including rural, urban (2G, 3G)
3G coverage in 6,383 cities.
1,32,229 villages connectivity
10.58% Market Share of both GSM & Landline combined.(4th position after Vodafone-Idea, Bharti Airtel and reliance Jio)
Number of employees 1,66,974
Reduction of employees in 2018-19 = 16,548
Approximate land and building will be worth several lakhs of crores of rupees
Staff Quarters in all important centres.
7 Telecom Factories in W.Bengal, M.P., Chhattisgarh and Mumbai.
2 Advanced Training centres at Ghaziabad and Jabalpur.
About 20 RTTCs and CTTCs (Training centres)
No other institution in India has got so much land and building assets, except Railways.
BSNL has been increasing its mobile connections every month, when all other telcos except Reliance Jio is losing customers.
What is the Revenue, Expenditure, Loss? Depreciation
2013- 14 Rs. 27,996 cr. 34,930 cr. Rs. 7020 cr. Rs. 6023cr
2014-15 Rs. 28,645 cr. 37,292 cr Rs. 8234 cr. Rs. 8,817cr
2015-16 Rs. 32,411 cr 37,270 cr. Rs. 4859 cr. Rs 7,206cr
2016-17 Rs. 31,533 cr 36,327 cr. Rs. 4,793 cr Rs. 6330cr
2017-18 Rs. 25,071 cr. 33,808 cr. Rs. 7993 cr Rs. 5832cr
The loss is mainly due to the amount of depreciation counted in the expenditure. This is not an actual expenditure, but the % of depreciation calculated for the building and other assets. If the depreciation is removed and only the actual expenditure is taken, the loss is minimal.
The wage bill has not increased, but was almost static, since almost 10,000 to 17,000 employees were retiring every year without substitute. The number of staff in 2000 was 3.5 lakhs which at present is only 1.6 lakhs.
The main reason for the loss is due to non- allotment of 4G Spectrum, non-refund of about Rs.14,000 crores by the DOT/Government including increased pension contribution taken from BSNL and not honouring the assurances on financial viability by the government at the time of corporatisation in 2000.
The debt of BSNL is about Rs. 14,000 crore, while that of each of the private telcos are more than Rs. one lakh crore. The predatory pricing and violation of rules by Reliance Jio is another reason for loss of all the companies.
This government’s policy is to privatise/close all the PSUs one after another as recommended by NITI Ayog. Privatisation or closure of a profitable PSU will naturally be questioned by the people, Hence BSNL has to be made loss making before privatisation/Closure. VRS is also another weapon to destroy the services and this is what the govt want to implement in BSNL. This has to be fought and defeated.
The public and the customers are not fully aware that the closure/privatisation of BSNL and MTNL will result in increased rent, charges etc. for telephone services. Just like the price of the petrol nowadays, the telephone charges also will increase almost daily. It will adversely affect all the 120 crore subscribers of all the telcos.
The workers also have to improve the services to the maximum possible, which will ensure public support for the PSU. BSNL employees are getting comparatively good wages and the work should be better. There are many genuine and fully justified demands of the workers including wage revision etc. and struggle has to take place for those. But immediate issue is the survival of BSNL and maximum effort form the part of the workers is very important.
As shown above BSNL is neither weak nor to be written off. Once the 7th biggest telecom company in the world, it can come back again to the glorious position that it held earlier.
We seek full support of the people in making BSNL strong and an efficient organisation to give the best service to the customers.