A day after the Report to the Nation 2006 was presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the National Knowledge Commission chairperson Sam Pitroda said that the public sector telecom major BSNL could be sold and the proceeds invested in education. The Prime Minister had, on Friday, identified education as a sector which needed reform to provide knowledge access to all.
Pitroda said the BSNL could fetch Rs 80,000 crores which should be enough to take care of the immediate needs of the education sector. “I don’t understand what business the government has in the telecom sector. It could sell BSNL and invest the money in the future of the country through education,” Pitroda said.
Pitroda who laid the foundations of India’s telecom revolution 20 years ago, said BSNL is bound to lose its value with the private sector’s market share increasing. “By selling it now the government will fetch good money,” he told HT on Saturday. But, he admitted that such a ‘bold decision’ would require ‘a lot of guts’.
Such a decision could also help increase the GDP for education to six per cent as promised in the National Common Minimum Programme.
“There is no system of education in the world that is not based on significant public outlays,” he said in the report.