MINISTRY OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS

psus-holding-telecom-licences-seek-clarification-on-financial-burden

PSUs holding telecom licences seek clarification on financial burden

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment on adjusted gross revenue (AGR), some of top public-sector companies of India that are holding telecom service licences including GAIL India, Power Grid Corporation, Oil India, Delhi Metro and RailTel seeking clarification from the Department of Telecom (DoT) as they might also face a huge financial burden.

Supreme Court, last month, had ordered all telecom service providers to pay the past licence and spectrum dues in accordance with the annual AGR calculation formula used by the government. The government has set up a committee of secretaries to look into all issues.

10 Nov 2019
bsnl-announces-vrs;-01-lac-employees-may-avail-benefit-

BSNL announces VRS; 01 lac employees may avail benefit

The government telecom player BSNL has announced VRS scheme for its employees which it expects that around 100,000 employees will avail. The scheme opened on November 4 and will continue till December 3. There are around 1.75 lakh total BSNL employees.

All permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organisations or deputed elsewhere are eligible if they are 50-year-old or more. The amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days’ salary for each completed year of service and 25 days’ salary for every year of service left until superannuation.

MTNL, too, has come up with similar VRS for its employees. The scheme will also be open till December 3. The government approved a Rs 69,000-cr revival package for BSNL and MTNL. The plan includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetising their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years.

07 Nov 2019
psus-holding-telecom-licences-seek-clarification-on-financial-burden

PSUs holding telecom licences seek clarification on financial burden

By IndianMandarins 10 Nov 2019

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment on adjusted gross revenue (AGR), some of top public-sector companies of India that are holding telecom service licences including GAIL India, Power Grid Corporation, Oil India, Delhi Metro and RailTel seeking clarification from the Department of Telecom (DoT) as they might also face a huge financial burden.

Supreme Court, last month, had ordered all telecom service providers to pay the past licence and spectrum dues in accordance with the annual AGR calculation formula used by the government. The government has set up a committee of secretaries to look into all issues.

bsnl-announces-vrs;-01-lac-employees-may-avail-benefit-

BSNL announces VRS; 01 lac employees may avail benefit

By IndianMandarins 07 Nov 2019

The government telecom player BSNL has announced VRS scheme for its employees which it expects that around 100,000 employees will avail. The scheme opened on November 4 and will continue till December 3. There are around 1.75 lakh total BSNL employees.

All permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organisations or deputed elsewhere are eligible if they are 50-year-old or more. The amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days’ salary for each completed year of service and 25 days’ salary for every year of service left until superannuation.

MTNL, too, has come up with similar VRS for its employees. The scheme will also be open till December 3. The government approved a Rs 69,000-cr revival package for BSNL and MTNL. The plan includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetising their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years.

telecom:-cos-to-submit-its-report-on-financial-stress

Telecom: CoS to submit its report on financial stress

By IndianMandarins 30 Oct 2019

Like banking sector, telecom sector too has become Achilles’ heel of the government as Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba headed Committee of Secretaries will review the financial stress on the telecom sector following the SC ruling making an additional burden of Rs 1.3 crore on the sector.

The CoS is expected to meet soon and submit its recommendations. The Cabinet Secretary would examine every aspect and suggest measures to mitigate the financial stress being faced by the telecom industry.

A reference is being made to the telecom regulator to make viable pricing for voice and data tariff so as to curb further revenue erosion of the incumbents. The development has come after the representations have been made by telecom carriers on the declining financial health of the sector in the wake of upcoming spectrum auction and fifth-generation or 5G technology-backed roadmap.

Service providers are already sitting on a cumulative debt of nearly Rs 8 lakh crore. The average revenue per user (ARPU) per month has declined from Rs 174 in the year 2014-15 to Rs 113 in 2018-19.

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Aruna: First 5G spectrum auction in June 2019

By IndianMandarins 27 Jan 2019

The Telecom Ministry is organizing itself to hold the first 5G spectrum auction in June 2019 and the first commercial network on the next generation technology will be rolled out by next year in the country.  

Addressing media persons at the Indian Telephone Industries’s (ITI) manufacturing unit in Kanjikode on Saturday, telecom secretary and chairman of telecom commission Aruna Sundararajan said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has given its recommendations for the spectrum auction.

“It will be a unique project and our plan is to develop 5G capabilities on our own without importing them like we did with the previous spectrums. In fact, we have even started working on the development of 6G spectrum,” she said.

“ITI has tied up with 13 startup companies in Bengaluru for design and manufacturing of the 5G chips. We will make the ITI units the hubs for research and development. The ITI has also signed a memorandum of understanding with IITs to develop new technologies and update the existing ones,” the telecom secretary said. 

She said the ITI, which was started in 1948, made a profit of Rs 102 crore after 16 years and now all its six units at Bengaluru, Rae Bareli, Mankapur, Naini, Palakkad and Srinagar were making profit.

The Palakkad unit, which has been running well for the past 23 years, made a profit of Rs 45 crore in the past fiscal. The ITI boasts of an all-time high order book of Rs 15,000 crore and it is expected to reach Rs 25,000 crore by 2020.

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Ms Arya appointed Administrator, USOF

By IndianMandarins 15 Jan 2019

Ms Ansuli Arya (IAS:1989:BH) was on Monday appointed Administrator, Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF); an Additional Secretary post. She replaces Sanjay Kumar Singh (IAS:1987:MP). 

bharatnet-delay:-dot-transfers-eight-usof-officials

BharatNet delay: DoT transfers eight USOF officials

By IndianMandarins 19 Nov 2018

Department of Telecom (DoT) Secretary Aruna Sundararajan has kept her promise of 'exemplary disciplinary action' and transferred eight senior DoT officials for the delay in the implementation of BharatNet project - a pet project of PM Narendra Modi.

 

Most of the transferred officials were associated with the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and were among the keys persons in charge of the project, which is meant to connect all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) in the country by March 2019.

 

The role of USOF, under the DoT, is to provide widespread and non-discriminatory access to quality information communication services (internet) at affordable prices to people in rural and remote areas.

 

The transferred USOF officials are SK Gupta, Senior DDG (Licensing Finance Policy, DoT headquarters); Mahmood Ahmed, Joint Administrator (USOF, DoT headquarters); Sudhir Bhandari, DDG (USOF); Lalit Gangal, DDG (USOF); and Mohammed Mahmood Ur Rehman, Director (USOF). These officers were transferred to other States or other branches in the DoT headquarters itself with immediate effect.

The transfers followed several review meetings by both Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha and Secretary Sundararajan, in which they found poor operations and maintenance and utilization of BharatNet infrastructure.

 

This forced Sundararajan to write a harsh letter on November 2 to both Sanjay Singh, CMD of BBNL, and Anupam Srivastava, CMD of BSNL, saying that extensive field reports found “non-functioning of connectivity provided in 80-90 percent of the GPs as well as massive under-utilization/non-utilisation of the project”.

 

Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) are the main infrastructure companies under the government undertaking the project. However, as of October, only 1.15 lakh GPs are service-ready, and though clear utilization target has already been set, the actual utilization on the ground is understood to be less than 10 percent of the target.

bbnl-&-bsnl-cmds-&-officials-may-face-'exemplary-disciplinary-action'

BBNL & BSNL CMDs & officials may face 'exemplary disciplinary action'

By IndianMandarins 16 Nov 2018

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan has spoken about 'exemplary disciplinary action' if the CMDs and officers concerned of BBNL and BSNL didn't accelerate the work on BharatNet – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) with high-speed internet by March 2019.  She has also set a deadline of 48 hours for rectifying certain glaring lapses.

 

Indianmandarins has learned that the dispute between the BBNL and BSNL is triggered by ego clashes among officials of the two PSUs who refuse to act as a team in executing the project, even though the project is the backbone of the PM's ‘Digital India’ vision.


In a letter to Sanjay Singh, CMD BBNL, and Anupam Srivastava, CMD BSNL, Sundararajan has reportedly said the government was concerned over field reports indicating a lack of connectivity in 80-90 percent of the GPs, as well as massive under-utilization/non-utilization of the BharatNet infrastructure.

 

“Given that this project is being monitored at the highest level in the government [PM], the failure to comply with or disregard of the instructions shall invite exemplary disciplinary action. The failure of both BBNL and BSNL to resolve the issues impeding utilization of BharatNet and to put in place an effective O&M (operation and maintenance) arrangement is viewed with extreme displeasure,” she wrote.

 

She added “Though a clear utilization target has already been set, the actual utilization on the ground is understood to be less than 10 percent of the target. This points to an utter lack of professionalism on the part of BBNL and BSNL with poor planning, lack of monitoring and coordination between the two organizations.”

 

The Telecom Secretary further said that all non-operational GPs should be made operational within 48 hours and a dedicated team should be constituted in the Department of Telecom (DoT) to ‘audit the status on the field’.

 

“Disciplinary action shall be initiated against all the responsible officers for GPs where fault rectification is delayed beyond 48 hours,” Sundararajan added.

 

Till end-December last year, only one lakh GPs were covered under in the first phase, and in January, the government had announced that the second phase would be completed by end December 2018, well ahead of the March 2019 deadline. However, as of end- October 2018, only 1.15 lakh GPs were reportedly ready.

ms-padma-empanelled-for-hag-post

Ms Padma empanelled for HAG post

By IndianMandarins 30 Oct 2018

Ms Padma Iyer Kaul (IP&TAFS) has been empanelled to hold Higher Administrative Grade post for the panel year 2018-19. Currently she is posted as Deputy Director General (LFA) in Ministry of Telecommunications. 

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