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Nirmala Sitharaman has accused previous Congress regime of turning BSNL into a loss making entity

New Delhi:

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has accused the previous Congress regime of bleeding the state-owned telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to “death almost”, while adding that the BJP-led NDA government is giving money to the company to buy 4G spectrum and become competitive.

She was responding to Shiv Sena member Arvind Sawant in Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the government was killing state-owned BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), while at the same time it was helping private sector players like Vodafone.

“BSNL is a part of our strategic asset… we are giving (the company) money to buy 4G spectrum and become competitive,” she said while intervening during a discussion on general budget in the lower house.

BSNL, she said “lost full ten years” because of the treatment met out to it by the previous Congress government. “There was 2G exploitation because of which BSNL lost out… you (Congress) allowed all kinds of corruption in 2G”, she added.

When the NDA government came to power in 2014, BSNL was in a bad shape and did not have money to pay salaries, she said, adding that the NDA government provided funds so that the company could come out with a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and clear dues of its employees.

The Modi government has given money to the company to buy 4G spectrum, she said.

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