Govt repays Rs 9.2 crore to BSNL

Government has paid Rs 9,249 crore to the state-run BSNL as reimbursement of licence fee and spectrum charges as per a commitment made at the time of the PSU’s corporatisation.

The five-year commitment was made to ensure that BSNL does not go back on its social obligation of offering rural telephone services.

BSNL has been reimbursed Rs 9,248.64 crore from 2001-02 to 2005-06 for the license fee and spectrum charges, an official sources said.

BSNL was set up in October 2000 through corporatisation of the Department of Telecom’s operations and services except policy making. Government at that time had decided that a package of measures would be provided to ensure that BSNL’s viability is not impaired on account of its social obligations.

As a corollary, government reimbursed 100 per cent licence fees and spectrum charges net of universal service levy payable by the firm for 2001-02 to 2003-04. The PSU was also paid 2/3rd and 1/3rd of the combined total of licence fee and spectrum charges, net of USO levy, during 2004-05 and 2005-06 respectively. There was no reimbursement proposed from 2006-07 onwards.

The termination of the packages has already started showing signs as BSNL has posted a drop in revenue at Rs 39,715 crore and net profit of about Rs 7,806 crore in 2006-07.

BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal attributed the decline to non-reimbursement of licence fee of Rs 560 crore by the government and very low tariffs leading to low average revenue per user.

Besides, the PSU also faced a network crunch, leading to a fall in its subscriber base. After being delayed by months, the GSM expansion plan of the company finally took off recently with a contract to Ericsson.