There could be a forward movement in steps to overhaul Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) moving in to break a deadlock after Communications Minister A. Raja raised objections to the Pitroda Committee report on restructuring the PSU.
Raja is scheduled to meet Prime Minister's advisor on infrastructure, innovation and information, Sam Pitroda, on Monday to discuss key issues following Pitroda's report submitted last February that suggested radical changes.
HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh and secretary of the department of telecommunications (DoT) P. J. Thomas were the other members of the panel.
Raja strongly opposed the committee's recommendations on reducing staff strength by 100,000 through a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and also crossed swords on the issue of selecting the chairman and managing director of BSNL.
Pitroda's panacea: Loosening the BSNL red tape
Separate the posts of Managing Dirctor/CEO (from CMD).
Establish four independent business units.
Disinvest 30% through Indian strategic investor and an IPO.
Create a separate subsidiary for tower related infrastructure.
Create a separate subsidiary to hold land bank and other real estate assets.
The panel wanted the post split as two, with a separate chairman picked from the private sector.
The PMO accepted DoT's position on the selection of CMD and constituted a search committee headed by the cabinet secretary. The Communications Ministry is due to finally approve the selected candidate.
On slashing staff, the minister has said that like the Railways, BSNL has inherent strengths, and with a good leadership, the company can be turned around.
The committee has also recommended that the BSNL should go for the outsourcing of its GSM network to vendors such as Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) instead of buying equipment through tenders. The minister also disapproved of this.