In a clear indication that the Prime Minister is closely monitoring all decisions in the telecom ministry, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has now stepped in to select the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL).
CVC questions new telecom players
The Central Vigilence Commission (CVC) has sought explanation from the department of telecommunications (DoT) as to why the new telecom service providers – Datacom, Loop telecom, Etisalat DB, Uninor and S Tel – have not launched services in time.
The new telecom service operators were awarded licences in January, 2008. As per the licence conditions, they have to launch services within stipulated time period. However, none of these operators could meet the roll out obligations.
"There are many reasons for delay in meeting roll out obligations. Some of them did not get spectrum in time. However, some of these operators are now aggressively launching services," said a DoT official.
The PMO on Wednesday approved constitution of a search committee under Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chadrasekhar for the selection of the CMDs.
Generally, CMDs of all public sector undertakings are selected through the public enterprise selection board (PESB). Though PESB is an independent body, the concerned ministries have an important role to play in the selection of CMDs.
With the Prime Minister constituting a search committee, the selection process has become broadbased.
Secretaries of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) P. J. Thomas and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Shantanu Consul are other members of the search committee. The outside members include former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Member and ex-CMD of BSNL D.P.S. Seth; HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, and the US-based scientist Paul Raj.