The government has no plan to privatise BSNL, Minister of State for Communications, Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
BSNL had invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) on January 1, 2021, for prior registration/Proof of Concept (PoC) from Indian companies interested in participating in its upcoming 4G tender, he said.
“BSNL will follow the applicable Rules/guidelines/Public Procurement orders of the Government, including Rule 144(xi) of the General Financial Rules, 2017 in this regard,” he added.
BSNL expects the rollout of 4G services to be completed in 18 to 24 months, Dhotre informed.
The government had approved the revival plan for BSNL in 2019, which includes an administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services through budgetary allocation to the company.
To another question, Dhotre said the telecom department, at present, has no plan to frame legislation to regulate internet shutdown in the country.
However, in order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the country, the DoT had notified ‘’Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017’’ in August 2017, under a section of the Indian Telegraph Act.
“Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency and Public Safety) Rules, 2017 has been amended vide Gazette Notification dated 10.11.2020,” Dhotre added.
Replying to another question pertaining to a temporary suspension of telecom services, Dhotre said the amendment has been forwarded to all chief secretaries/administrators of states and Union Territories, emphasising that the Supreme Court has mandated the publication of suspension orders, and all orders for suspension of telecom services must adhere to the principle of proportionality and must not extend beyond the necessary duration.