Govt may take final call on MTNL as Telecom Commission meets tomorrow: Manoj Sinha

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New Delhi, Sep 7 (UNI) Communications minister Manoj Sinha today said his Ministry will take a final decision on the revival of Maha Nagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and accumulating debt of private telecom operators of almost Rs 40,000 crore in a meeting of the Telecom Commission tomorrow.

Talking to UNI journalists at the news agency’s headquarters here, Mr Sinha said his ministry has received the report of consultant appointed to look into the financial health of MTNL and the same will be discussed in the meeting of Telecom Commission.

The Communications Minister said that MTNL has some problems including huge debt taken by it in the past. The interest on the debt is a big burden added by the salary payment to employees.

The Minister said that almost 70 per cent of MTNL’s revenues go towards the salary of the employees. Mr Sinha accepted that MTNL’s issues were not handled properly in the past causing losses to it. Now Government will discuss the report in the said meeting and will take a final decision about MTNL revival.

The State-owned telecom firm MTNL has posted a net loss of Rs 634.8 crore for the quarter ended 31 March 2017. The revenue from operations declined by about 3 per cent to Rs 963.12 crore during the reported quarter from Rs 992.65 crore in the same period a year ago.

In the financial year 2016-17, MTNL’s net loss widened to Rs 2,963.05 crore from Rs 1,945.86 crore at the end of the previous fiscal. The annual income of MTNL also declined by 3.6 per cent to Rs 3,654.69 crore for 2016-17 from Rs 3,793.89 crore at the end of 2015-16.

Even there are specualtions that government might shut down the MTNL operation or get it merged with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

MTNL, which provides telecom services in Delhi and Mumbai, has been losing market share over the last many years.

Replying to a question on financial health of BSNL, the Telecom Minister said, “It’s a myth that BSNL is not performing well. In fact BSNL operating profit is going up every year.”
Mr Sinha said, “Two years back the operating profit was Rs 600 crores which went up to Rs 3880 crores last year and this year it may cross Rs 4000 crores which is a very good sign keeping the fact that BSNL has too many social obligations which others do not have.”

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