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BSNL to use Rs 53,000 cr for 4G, 5G roll out

State-run BSNL will use about Rs 53,000 crore in upgrading its network to 4G and 5G this year as well as revamping landline network across the country, Union Minister for IT and Telecom Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday.

The Government has announced a capital infusion of Rs 52,937 crore in BSNL during the next fiscal year starting April 1, 2023.

While speaking on Budget 2023-24, the minister said BSNL’s capital infusion is part of the Rs 1.64 lakh crore revival package announced last year and most of the balance sheet items of BSNL have already been addressed.

“BSNL has raised new debt using the sovereign guarantees which were announced in the package. Now, the physical installation of new towers, upgradation from 2G, 3G to 4G and 5G and a major revamp in the landline systems of the MTNL and BSNL network will be taken up in this year using the capital allocation of Rs 53,000 crore which has been made for BSNL,” Vaishnaw said.

The government has allocated Rs 1.23 lakh crore for postal and telecom projects. Total allocation includes Rs 97,579.05 crore for the Department of Telecom and Rs 25,814 crore for Postal projects.

The government has allocated Rs 2,158 crore for Optical Fibre Cable based network for Defence Services and Rs 715.8 crore for telecom projects in the North Eastern states.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her speech announced setting up of 100 labs for developing applications using 5G services in engineering institutions.

In the receipt budget for 2023-24, the government has raised non-tax revenue collection estimates from the telecom sector by 30 per cent to Rs 89,469.17 crore.

“Revenue realisation in telecom is consistent. Telecom today is a sunrise industry and this is reflected in the higher revenue realisation which has been budgeted,” the minister said.

The government has revised the revenue estimate to Rs 68,784 crore for the current fiscal from the earlier projection of Rs 52,806 crore in the previous budget.

The actual revenue of the government in 2021-22 was Rs 85,828 crore.

The non-tax revenue from the communication sector mainly relates to licencing fees from telecom operators and receipts on account of spectrum usage charges The Rs 25,814 crore allocated to the Department of Posts includes a Rs 250 crore capital infusion in the India Post Payments Bank. PTI

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