Telecom minister A Raja on Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is believed to have discussed the progress on the implementation of the Sam Pitroda panel report to revive the state-run telecom BSNL.
According to sources, the telecom commission, the highest decision-making wing of the department of telecom, is likely to consider the proposal of BSNL disinvestments and launching a VRS to up to 1 lakh employees.
Opposing the Pitroda panel recommendations, most BSNL employees had gone on strike last month, which was later called off after Raja assured them that they would be consulted before taking any decision.
Sources said Raja has briefed the Prime Minister and also indicated that implementation of these recommendations may lead to unrest in the PSU and may affect services.
Raja is also understood to have discussed the issue of banning the Chinese telecom equipment makers and pointed out that delay in equipment procurement is hurting the growth of the sunshine sector.
Earlier in the day, Raja also met home minister P Chidambaram and sought a review of the policy to ensure that the growth of this sector is not hampered. The meeting assumes importance as the home ministry is against Chinese telecom firms and apprehension of the industry that such an order or a blanket ban could hamper sectoral growth.
"I shall be grateful if you could kindly review the whole issue and lay down procedure in a manner so that the growth of telecom sector is not hampered," Raja said in a letter, which was handed over to Chidambaram.
The security agencies had expressed reservations on allowing the Chinese telecom and IT companies citing the incidents of Chinese hackers targeting sensitive data on government web sites. Two Chinese firms ZTE and Huawei have been doing telecom business here for many years and have supplied equipment to various private operators as well as government-owned BSNL and MTNL.
According to Raja's letter to Chidambaram, foreign vendors have also raised concerns saying the current stand is inconsistent with the government's commitments to intellectual property rights in multilateral forums such as WTO. "Chinese companies and Chinese embassy have raised issues about their business interest in India referring to sensitive and delicate state of India-China relations," the letter said.