New Delhi: According to HW News YouTube channel, the Atmanirbhar and Make in India have got a massive push from the Modi government during post Coronavirus crisis, and India-China border clash. Especially, after the border tensions between India-China escalated, there were reports that the government is seriously considering to promote Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India vigorously. But that has posed a set of new challenges for the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
BSNL’s 4G services
HW News says, the 4G services roll out of BSNL still continues to face many hurdles after being delayed for many years already. In a latest, complaint made by the Telecom Export and Promotional Council (TEPC), by the government stating that BSNL has not followed the public procurement norms which is in interest to make in India for the tender. The main concern raised by the TEPC was that the conditions were formed in such a manner that no Indian company could participate. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) has organized a meeting on 5 June to deliberate the possibility of deploying the 4G network BSNL using the indigenously design, developed and manufactured products. The meeting was attended by many local vendors in the telecom industries Tech Mahendra, Tejas networks, Saankhyalab, 4Chip, BSNL etc. and these companies discussed about their products. After the meeting it was decided that BSNL and the department of telecommunication must trust the Indian echo system and provide an opportunity to locally design and manufactured 4G products. The duty has already decided to revoke or cancel the existing BSNL 4G tender, it has also formed a committee to recommend technical specifications for the revived BSNL 4G tender. The eight-member committee will examine and recommend modifications to the technical specifications prepared by the BSNL for the tender.
The BSNL employee union has slammed what it calls the vested interest tolling BSNL for procuring 4G equipment.
HW News has interviewed BSNL secretary P Abhimanyu pertaining to this issue. When asked that there are reports that government may ask BSNL and MTNL to not to use Chinese equipment. Do you think it will be a setback for BSNL?
Abhimanyu replied, “government is taking its own decision even earlier the USA was exerting much pressure on the government of India not to utilize for Huawei products for the 5G network roll-out. . . . The foreign Minister Jaishankar told this is not a political decision, this is the commercial decision and ultimately government of India decided to utilize Huawei for the 5G network rollout. Now as a kneejerk reaction some statements are coming but I do not know to what extent the government is going to take the decision ultimately. The government cannot easily take such a decision because even BSNL or for that matter all the private networks a vast portion of the networks are installed with Chinese equipment. Now, if all of a sudden government of India takes a decision to shut these Chinese companies, I do not know practically how it can be implemented. These are all very big questions. So far as I know, some statements and opinions have come from DOT system, but ultimately the government of India has to take the decision.
If the government of India takes such a decision, then certainly it will deny a level playing ground for BSNL. When all private networks will utilize the equipment from Chinese vendors, how BSNL alone can be prohibited?”
He was asked, TEPC has filed the complaint against the tender conditions of BSNL. The statement he released mentions “Vested Interest” behind it. Who are these vested interests?
Abhimanyu replied “I did not mention the vested interest their names in the statement, it is JIO, Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, private operators. Private operators are very much scared that BSNL is going to roll-out their 4G service. Who is this TEPC? All inconsequential organization they could have been purchased. Because precisely this happened in 2006 and 2007. At that time BSNL floated 45-million-line tender to procure 2G equipment. Various cases were filed. Cases were filed in almost all the high courts of India. And it took almost one hand a half year for BSNL to get all the cases cleared in those high courts. And thereafter, Minister A Raja, you know how clean handed he was? He ultimately cancelled our tender and this is the handiwork of the private network operators. Because they do not want …. In my statement I have mentioned that. It is easy to understand who will be benefitted if BSNL does not roll-out its 4G network and I am telling the hands of private operators are behind this complaint given by TEPC, otherwise, I am a leader in the telecommunication sector, I have not come across this name ‘Telecom Equipment and Services Promotion Council’. And these great fellows are claiming that they have perfected 4G technology. Who should believe it . . . yes, I have mentioned that this TEPC has complained, and this vested interest has the blessings of government of India. Because, at the drop of a hat the commerce Ministry have told BSNL you should not proceed with the tendering process.” He further added, “all the private operators are procuring world-class equipment from multi-national vendors, why should BSNL be told to procure equipment from some inconsequential companies whose 4G technology is not been proven. They do not have experience of managing such vast network. BSNL has rightly laid down conditions in its tender, that any company which wishes to participate in the tendering process should be having an annual turnover of 8000 crore rupees for the past two years. Another condition is that any company which participates in the tender, should have the experience of providing 20 million 4G lines and these companies are opposing these conditions. Suppose, they are not having 8000 crore turnover during the past two financial years, suppose some of the Indian companies selected where they will be having money to manufacture this equipment and supply? BSNL cannot pay any advance, first they should have financial worth to supply this equipment and secondly they should be having the experience of managing such a vast network. So, conditions laid down by BSNL is perfectly OK. I am telling plainly, that Narendra Modi does not want BSNL to get revived because it will hurt his friend Mukesh Ambani. I am not boasting. FDTH (fiber to home) is one sector where Jio has been defeated by BSNL. Jio started Jio fibre and BSNL is already providing (fiber to home) FDTH and still there is great demand for BSNL’s FDTH. We are having large number of waiting lists but there is no one to take Jio Fiber. Jio FIBER is a great failure. Jio knows that. BSNL starts 4G service because BSNL is having its own customer base. It will be a very big problem for them. So all dirty games are being played with the blessing of the government.
Make in India
The anchor asked Abhimanyu whether the push for make in India Aathmanirbhar Bharat hampered the level playing field for BSNL?
Abhimanyu replied, “ Narendra Modi is a very big wheeler dealer, all making political gimmicks. On one side, I do not know how he is talking about Aathmanirbhar Bharat. The entire public sector is being handed over to the multinational companies. To Railways, 100% FDI already allowed. The 100% FDI means tomorrow or day after tomorrow it will be taken over by multinational companies. In fact, in the coal industry, the entire coal Federations are going on three-day strike on 2nd, 3rd and 4th of July against privatization and handing over of coal mines to the multinational companies. Once again, in the Defence sector 82,000 defence employees are conducting indefinite strike because 41 ordinance factories are going to be handed over to multinational companies100% FDI is allowed. This great Narendra Modi is talking about Aathmanirbhar Bharat, it is completely bogus. A similar thing has happened when great Indira Gandhi was there. See, I am an old fellow and at that time, people used to say, if Indira Gandhi says yes, it means no. if Indira Gandhi says no, it means yes. She did directly the opposite compared to what she said. Same applies to Narendra Modi. Also the private corporators want to kill the BSNL in governance with Narendra Modi government. if possible we will fight against it.” Abhimanyu concluded