Foreign Direct Investment seems to be manna frm heaven in India. I d agree to an extent about the inflow of money in this country; not in crucial sectors of Telecom. I held this view long time back and still hold it now too.
Over the past 2 days, there has been a quiet tectonic shift in the Indian Telecom; I have yet to see it’s condemnation. First, Maran insists that Access Deficit Charge(ADC) should stay on to subsidise BSNL for rural operations I fail to understand as to how this is actually helping the growth of telecom. In any case, it’s a sheer fallacy that BSNL is increasing it’s wireline infrastructure in the rural areas. Buoyed by increased demand for mobile and CDMA services, it is getting congested. Hence, the percieved benefits of affordable telephony are simply missing.
Further, Broadband would remain a pipe dream and a whole generation would grow up with a digital divide. This is not in the best interests of the nation.
Now, the juvenile fascination with merger between MTNL and BSNL. Why dont they leave these two companies alone? In anycase, we have had to suffer them for years together. “Synergies” would only double the misery. Period. More than that, it may be a prelude to selling them en block since either alone it wouldn’t make a good selling proposition to any “foreign buyer”. Don’t get me wrong here. I d still hold that it is an attempt to subvert our crucial infrastructure.
A significant development this week; Singtel upped it’s investment in Airtel. I had earlier mentioned that Singapore based companies remained a front for Chinese to enter India through backdoor. This is indeed a graver security threat ; any economist would know. I vae no idea as to why BSNL persisted with Huawei modems and not anyone else. Why patronise the Chinese and not spur on development in India for the same?
What is more disturbing here is the typical PRO speak here. It says and I quote,”We believe that SingTel’s increase in the stake is an expression of confidence in India,” said New Delhi-based Bharti Tele-Ventures.
All in all, I d still hold that Indian Telecom party has lot to achieve on it’s own rather than stand on the crutches of foreign funds. It is debatable. Still wondering. Reliance and Tata’s have considerable presence in India- we don’t get to hear much on that front. Why Bharti and their ilk are diluting their stakes in their own infrastructure?