Government Approves Rs 89,000 Crore Revival Package for BSNL
June 08, 2023:
In a significant development, the Union Cabinet has given its approval to a comprehensive revival package for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the telecom PSU. The package, worth over Rs 89,000 crore, aims to revitalize BSNL's operations and strengthen its position in the market. As part of the package, the authorized capital of BSNL has been increased from Rs 1.50 lakh crore to Rs 2.10 lakh crore.
Under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Cabinet has also granted permission for the allocation of 4G/5G spectrum to BSNL. This includes the allotment of four spectrum bands: 700 MHz, 3,300 MHz, 26 GHz, and 2,500 MHz, with respective values of Rs 46,338.60 crore, Rs 26,184.20 crore, Rs 6,564.93 crore, and Rs 9,428.20 crore. BSNL aims to utilize these spectrum resources to expand its 4G coverage in rural areas, provide fixed wireless access (FWA) services for high-speed internet, and support captive non-public network (CNPN) services.
According to a Cabinet release, the revival package will enable BSNL to emerge as a stable telecom service provider with a strong focus on providing connectivity to the remotest parts of India.
BSNL has faced challenges due to inadequate infrastructure and tough competition from Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, all of which offer cost-effective 4G voice calls and data services.
This revival package is not the first initiative undertaken by the government to revive BSNL. In 2019, a revival package worth Rs 69,000 crore was approved, and in July 2022, another package worth Rs 1.64 lakh crore was announced. The previous package aimed to provide 4G and 5G services to enhance BSNL's profitability, improve service quality, strengthen its balance sheet, and expand its optical fiber network. Additionally, Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was merged with BSNL, resulting in the acquisition of an additional 5.67 lakh kilometers of optical fiber deployed across 1.85 lakh village panchayats.
The Cabinet's decision to approve the revival package reflects the government's belief in the strategic importance of a government-owned telecom PSU's growth and success.
In other cabinet decisions, the minimum support price (MSP) for various kharif crops, including moong dal, urad, groundnut, soybean, and sunflower seed, has been increased. The metro rail network in Gurugram has also been extended, leading to increased employment opportunities.