Says employees' views will be considered and a consensus will be arrived at
The Central government will not take a decision independently on the restructuring of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) but will consider the views of the employees and arrive at a consensus, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja said on Sunday.
The Minister, shortly after launching the 3G mobile services of the BSNL in Puducherry, said there were doubts among employees of BSNL whether the organisation would be immediately privatised on the basis of the report submitted by the high-level committee headed by Sam Pitroda.
“We have consulted the Prime Minister. The government is reviewing the report and is in favour of changes. However, the changes will not affect the employees or the organisation. We will discuss with the employees and arrive at a consensus on how to improve the public sector undertaking,” he said.
No decision will be taken without consulting the employees or considering employees' welfare, Mr. Raja reiterated.
The National Telecom Policy 1999, which was brought in by the then Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, had aimed to achieve 60 crore telephone connections by 2012, he said, adding, “However, we have already reached 60 crore telephone connections in the country with this month, which is way ahead in achieving the target.”
In fact, the overall tele-density in the country and specifically in rural areas has increased. “Presently, the tele-density in rural areas has increased from 10 per cent to 22 per cent. The total tele-density in the country has gone up to 50 per cent from 30 per cent. We have reached 100 per cent in cities,” he pointed out.
Noting that the “healthy competition in the telecommunication industry” has led to decrease in tariff, the Minister said, “Today, local calls cost 29 or 30 paise. A new private operator, who is launching services in September, has told me that local calls will cost 10 paise,” he mentioned.
With the 3G spectrum allocated to the BSNL first, he said the auction for private operators will be completed in one or two weeks.
He expressed concern that the BSNL should not lag behind in the telecommunication sector and should be prepared for a healthy competition. “Out of six lakh villages in the country, BSNL has covered nearly 5.90 lakh villages through landline and mobile phone connections,” he stated.
Union Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy, Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam, Chief General Manager BSNL, Tamil Nadu D. Varadarajan and General Manager of BSNL Puducherry Marshal Antony Leo were present.