The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This PagePrint This Page
Move to split telecom PSU top slot nixed

New Delhi, Nov. 11: The Cabinet Secretariat has rejected the Union communications ministry’s proposal to bifurcate the post of chairman and managing director of all telecom public sector units within its ambit.

The proposal was mooted by communications minister Pramod Mahajan to carve up the post of chairman and managing director of Telecommunications Consultant of India, and follow it up at Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.

Senior Indian Telecom Service (ITS) officers in all telecom PSUs had objected to the move. The officers had also lodged a protest with the minister and also with the Cabinet Secretariat, which decides the appointment of CMDs for telecom public sector undertakings (PSUs).

Sources in the communications ministry said: “The proposal was that the managing director of PSUs will be selected by Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) or the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), while the chairman will be a political appointee. Normally, officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) control public sector companies. If the proposal had been accepted, we could have had persons from political backgrounds too.”

The ITS officers had objected to the bifurcation of the post on the grounds that the board should have the first say in accepting or rejecting such proposal. “Even if a change has to be made in the structure of the organisation, the board should have the right to accept or reject it,” said a senior official in Department of Telecommunications.

BSNL is one of the largest public sector telecom companies with a net worth of Rs 60,000 crore. The decision to split the responsibilities and offer the chairman’s post to a political appointee was viewed within the state-owned company with concern.

Telecommunications Consultants of India (TCIL) is a Rs 350-crore public sector company under the communications ministry. Its core competence is in network projects, software support, switching and transmission systems, cellular services, rural telecommunications and optical fibre based backbone network. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam is the biggest telecom service provider in Delhi and Mumbai with a net worth of more than Rs 8000 crore.

Email This PagePrint This Page