The National Telecom Policy is being finalised by the Dept. of Telecom and will be submitted to the government within one month as per press reports. There is no doubt that it will be in favour of the private telecom companies and especially for Reliance Jio. Each earlier NTP has been against the interest of BSNL and in favour of private companies and nothing different is expected from this one. What else can be expected from the Modi Government?
(Com.V.A.N.Namboodiri, GS, E.III(N) Union presenting the report at the Visakhapatnam Conference.)
BSNLEU is 17 years old. BSNL Employees Union, the majority recognised union of the BSNL workers, was formed on 22nd March 2001, in the National Convention of eight telecom unions held at Visakhapatnam, in the presence of Com. E.Balanandan, President of CITU and one of the greatest working class leaders India has seen.
Though started with about 50,000 – 60,000 workers, it grew to be the biggest union in BSNL with more than one lakh workers, despite the fact that there was no recruitment and thousands were retiring every year. This was a herculean task, but the united team of the BSNLEU leadership made the impossible in to possible.
BSNLEU as the recognised union separately, and also jointly with other unions, both executive and Non-executives, defeated the nefarious designs of the central government, both NDA and UPA, to disinvest BSNL, retrench about one lakh workers through VRS, unbundle the precious copper cables and so on. BSNLEU took the initiative to form the Joint Forum of the Unions and Associations, under which organisation, the battles were fought and the anti-worker decisions of the government defeated.
BSNL and its workers are facing serious challenges to their existence. The neo-liberal policy initiated by the Congress government in 1991 and aggressively being implemented by the present BJP government is making it difficult for the PSUs to sustain and grow. The NDA government as per the recommendations of the NITI Ayog is moving for privatisation of about 70 PSUs this year, in which the name of BSNL is also there. Wage revision due from 01-01-2017 is being denied. To destabilise BSNL, a Tower Company is being formed, taking away the towers of the company, which will seriously dent the existence of BSNL. Pension Revision is also delayed / denied. However, after two days strike and massive Sanchar Bhawan March, the Secretary DOT and Minister has come forward for discussion and positive development is taking place on these issues. Sustained effort and struggle will be required to achieve the above demands.
The two associations, AIBDPA and BSNLCCWF formed at the initiative of BSNLEU has grown and strengthened. The demands of the workers, the pensioners and the casual contract labours are interconnected and inseparable. That is why united struggle.
It is in this situation that the workers are observing and celebrating the 18th Foundation Day of BSNLEU. Various programmes, including meetings and rallies are being held all over the country, observing BSNLEU Day. Let us remember our past struggles and sacrifices so that we can advance with more vigour, determination and strength.
Workers Unity Zindabad!
The TRAI has issued instructions ending the restrictions put on the promotional offers by the telecom companies. It is clear that this position is taken by the TRAI only to help Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Jio, which was offering several packages violating the then existing TRAI orders. Now free hand is given to Reliance Jio for its predatory tactics. The TRAI statement says:
“The authority is of the view that no restrictions need to be imposed on the number of promotional offers that can be simultaneously launched and time lag between same or similar promotional offers in a licensed service area. Restrictions may not be in the interest of consumers apart from possibly hindering competition.”
Mukesh Ambani seems to be the central point on which every decision is being taken by the TRAI. How absurd!
The CBI Special Court has acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum scam case, including former Communications Minister A.Raja and DMK M.P.Kanimozhi. The judge has stated that the prosecution utterly and miserably failed to prove the charges.
There is nothing much to get surprised. The UPA government wanted to save its face and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and went slow in the matter. BJP, which during the last general election utilised the scam effectively also went slow after winning the election.
The main reason? In addition to the political leaders there are many corporates and telecom companies in the list of accused. Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, there were other accused like Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani, P. Amirtham, M.K. Dayalu Ammal and Sharad Kumar. The charge sheet filed by the ED had also named the following nine companies as accused- Kalaignar TV, STPL (now Etisalat DB Telecom (P) Ltd), Kusegaon Realty (P) Ltd, Cineyug Media & Entertainment (P) Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company (P) Ltd, Conwood Construction & Developers (P) Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Mystical Construction (P) Ltd (earlier known as Nihar Constructions (P) Ltd).
NDA government wants to tag in DMK. It also wants that no wrong message goes to the corporates that the government is against the interest of the corporates.
Hence even after 7 years of continuous sittings by the CBI court, three years under UPA and four years under NDA, no important evidence was presented by the CBI to ensure that the accused are punished. It is once again proved that corporates’ interests are more important than political interests.
The government is looking to finalise the National Telecom Policy 2018 by March next year, Communications Minister Manoj Sinha informed Parliament today.
“The Department of Telecommunications envisages to formulate a new National Telecom Policy in view of rapid technological advancement in the sector. The work on formulation of the National Telecom Policy 2018 has been initiated and is targeted to be finalised by March 2018,” Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
He said that several working groups have been constituted on different themes for this purpose.
DoT officials have earlier said that the draft of the new telecom policy will be placed in public domain for seeking their views.
The DoT has formed 13 working groups to prepare a draft of the National Telecom Policy. (New Delhi, Dec 20 (PTI)
The government is in the process of formulating the National Telecom Policy 2018, it is reported.
The National Telecom Policy 1994, initiated private entry in Telecom. NTP -1999/2000 gave many subsidies to the private operators. NTP-2006 continued the same policy and in fact resulted in cancellation of BSNL tenders for mobile lines. What will the proposals in the NTP – 2018? May be more benefits to the private operators and injustice and ignoring the PSUs BSNL and MTNL?
In his letter to Com.V.A.N.Namboodiri, Convener Joint Forum and General Secretary BSNLEU, dated 04-01-2006, just before the start of the strike on 4/5 January, then Secretary DOT has given written assurance that “the views of the union will be duly considered as and when the draft of the telecom policy is formulated.” This was in addition to the assurance that there will be no disinvestment of BSNL and also that there will be no unbundling of the copper cables. The strike was withdrawn on the basis of these assurances in the last minute.
As such, the government is committed to hear the views of the unions/associations in BSNL on the formulation of the next Telecom Policy which is expected by next year.
It is reported that Bharti Airtel will take over the mobile section of the Tata Teleservices. The later is under loss and has gone down, especially after the Reliance Jio entered the market with its aggressive offers. The big shark eating the smaller one!
The DOT and the central government have always been moving to share the infrastructure of BSNL for the benefit of the private telcos. Years back, DOT gave permission to private telecom companies to construct/install their towers on the BSNL buildings. It was defeated by the workers by blocking the private telecoms from entering the premises and strong protest from the unions.
Next, there was move to unbundle the valuable copper cable all over India and share it with the private operators. A complete strike was organised and the DOT was compelled to give a written assurance that there will be no unbundling and no disinvestment.
Now the government has decided to form the Tower company, which will cripple BSNL and its revenue. Further, once the company is formed, it will be independent and will take decisions which will be completely in the interest of the private companies. It will be just like the priority given to private airlines in the routes ignoring Air India, the PSU. BSNL will get the least benefit from the new Tower company, which will be at the behest of the private companies as per the direction of the government.
The story of the Arab and the Camel, where the former was completely kicked out of the tent by the latter, will be the result. The united force of the workers saved our copper cables and in the same way we should be able to save our towers.
The decision of all the unions/associations to meet on 15th and discuss the issue and plan the course of action is timely. The government move to form the Tower Company should defeated at the initial stage itself.
The process for the next round of auction of Spectrum (air-waves) is expected shortly. TRAI has given indication in this direction. Spectrum in almost all category is available. Last time, the government got Rs. 65,789 crore in the auction.
The government should concede the demand of the BSNL and the Unions for allotment of spectrum free, considering that BSNL is a 100% government company and is short of funds at present. It is serving the people in all parts of the country, including lakhs of remote villages, where the private companies are shy of providing service due to high costs and losses.
The New Telecom Policy expected to be finalised by the end of this year may change the Licence system for telecom services in the country. This was stated by Miss Aruna Sunderarajan, Secretary DOT. Earlier, the licences were granted on bid for each circles separately. This was the requirement of the private companies since they did not have services in all the circles. But BSNL was compelled to purchase spectrum in all circles at the maximum bid rate in each circle, whether required or not. While private companies paid only Rs. 3000 – 6000 crores for selected circles, BSNL was compelled to pay an amount of Rs. 18,500 crore.
Now the major telcos are providing service in most of the circles. If they have to bid by circle to circle and pay for all circles, it will be a good amount as paid by BSNL earlier. Hence it is to reduce that burden on the private companies that the All India licence is being thought of giving a new slogan ‘One India, One Licence’.
It is exposed that the policy decisions are taken by the government in the telecom sector always giving priority to the private companies. Already the government is in the processing of reducing the ADC, USOF etc. charges to be paid by the private companies as demanded by the them.