BSNL faces huge tech­ni­cal, pol­icy , low mo­ti­va­tion chal­lenge : IIM-A re­port

There is lack of pro­fes­sional lead­er­ship in the or­gan­i­sa­tion. To­day me­diocre peo­ple are hold­ing im­por­tant lead­er­ship in the or­ga­ni­za­tion, it said

Financial Chronicle - - IN - AN­JANA DAS

The IIM Ahemd­abad re­port on BSNL re­vival has listed some of the chllenges faced by BSNL vary­ing from pol­icy to or­gan­i­sa­tional and made some cast­ing re­marks on the PSUs state of af­fi­ars.

The re­port ob­served the PSU lack­ing sev­erly on the tech­no­log­i­cal/mar­ket fronts : On tech­no­log­i­cal and mar­ket evo­lu­tion of new tech­nolo­gies like 5G, IoT , BSNL has sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges.

"These in­clude the rapid evo­lu­tion of tech­nol­ogy (5G, IOT), fast evolv­ing con­sumer needs of data con­sump­tion, chang­ing de­mo­graph­ics pat­terns and in­creas­ing role of con­tent in driv­ing busi­nesses. Such a com­bi­na­tion of tech­nol­ogy/mar­ket char­ac­ter­is­tics re­quires or­ga­ni­za­tions to have agility, build part­ner­ships, re­duce costs, and be in­no­va­tive. On all these di­men­sions BSNL has sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges", the in­terim re­port said.

The re­port notes that since BSNL is 100 % gov­ern­ment owned, it is of­ten sub­ject to the de­lays and de­ci­sions made by the gov­ern­ment. Elab­o­rat­ing it, the re­port said while the gov­ern­ment has trans­ferred its li­a­bil­i­ties (work­force) to BSNL, the trans­fer of land and build­ing as­sets are yet to be com­pleted. There seems to be a lot of con­fu­sion sur­round­ing the own­er­ship of the land and build­ing as­sets of BSNL.

The re­port was hard on BSNL for its lethar­gic ap­proach for util­is­ing its avail­able 4G spec­trum.

While BSNL was given spec­trum in the 2500 MHz band (a 4G band), the ecosys­tem was not well de­vel­oped at that point in time. BSNL wanted to re­turn that spec­trum. It is not clear why BSNL did not opt to use its 2100 MHz spec­trum for 4G. The ecosys­tem for this band is well de­vel­oped and is cur­rently be­ing used by var­i­ous pri­vate op­er­a­tor. While BSNL could claim de­lays in 4G spec­trum al­lo­ca­tion by DoT, ef­fec­tively, it has shown lit­tle ini­tia­tive in us­ing its ex­ist­ing spec­trum for 4G. This in­di­cates a lack of proac­tive ap­proach to com­pe­ti­tion", the re­port said.

The re­port makes a scathing at­tack on BSNL’s per­for­mance man­age­ment and pro­mo­tion pol­icy.

“Even after about 19 years of ex­is­tence, BSNL does not have well thought pol­icy. The per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem in BSNL is quite su­per­fi­cial. The pro­mo­tion hap­pens in a time bound man­ner and there is no recog­ni­sa­tion of merit in the sys­tem. There is lack of pro­fes­sional lead­er­ship in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. To­day me­diocre peo­ple are hold­ing im­por­tant lead­er­ship in the or­ga­ni­za­tion, it said.

The IIM-A re­port also high­lights the or­ga­ni­za­tional im­ped­i­ments spe­cific to the sys­tem and pro­cesses adopted by BSNL which are –de­lays in pro­cure­ment due to its in­ef­fi­cien­cies and the need to fol­low guide­lines for pub­lic pro­cure­ments, cen­tral­iza­tion of de­ploy­ment of tar­iff plans lead­ing to in­flex­i­bil­ity in ser­vice of­fer­ings ,poor linakge of per­for­mance with in­cen­tives, fre­quent trans­fers. The larger chal­lenges are fail­ure in build­ing part­ner­ships and mar­ket­ing ori­en­ta­tion.

As a pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment chal­lenge, BSNL op­er­ates as a sin­gle en­tity un­der UASL li­cence and for this pays 8 per cent rev­enue share from rev­enues from all ac­tiv­i­ties un­der the UAS li­cence. This makes BSNL bid for projects higher and turns it in­com­pet­i­tive whereas other op­er­a­tors have set up sub­sidiaries that can un­der­take such projects and thus do not pay any rev­enue share, elab­o­rated the re­port and added the PSU ;lacks a sep­a­rate project unit.

BSNL has a large legacy work­force of 1.71 lakh and 70 per cent of them came to BSNL from Dot at the time of for­ma­tion of BSNL in 2000. Their av­er­age age is 55 years and they lack in­ter­est in im­prove­ment of ser­vices, and even lack tech­ni­cal knowl­edge, the IIM-A re­port said.

Com­ing down heav­ily on the lack of cus­tomer ori­en­ta­tion, the in­terim re­port said there is tremen­dous de­mo­ti­va­tion in the BSNL work­force due to the poor per­for­mance of the PSU, illthought poli­cies, lack of com­mit­ment of the lead­er­ship, ag­ing work­force, non-im­ple­men­ta­tion of 3rd PRC . This lack of en­thu­si­asm has trans­ferred into poor cus­tomer ser­vice lead­ing to sub­scriber dis­con­nec­tion.

The other chal­lenge is the PSU has no clear-cut pol­icy on shut­ting down low-sub­scriber num­bered small ex­changes which to be op­er­a­tional also needs to main­tained and op­er­ated lead­ing to waste­ful ex­pen­di­tures.

Tele­com min­is­ter Manoj Sinha

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