Government’s think tank Niti Aayog has valued government telecom assets at Rs 35,100 crore which can be monetised by financial year 2024, according to the National Monetisation Pipeline released on Monday. The Aayog has valued over 2.86 lakh kilometres of optical fibre assets laid by BBNL and BSNL under rural broadband project Bharatnet at Rs 26,300 crore.
The National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) has valued 13,567 mobile tower assets of BSNL and 1,350 of MTNL at Rs 8,800 crore that can also be monetised by financial year 2024. Both the PSUs jointly own 69,047 mobile towers. “Indicative monetisation value of Rs 26,300 crores has been considered over FY23 and FY 24. It may be noted that the actual private investment towards these packages could be lower than the estimated capex and a portion of capex may be met out of grant,” the NMP document said.
According to the document, the indicative monetisation value for Bharatnet fibre assets is considered based on a capex approach. The total approved cost for Bharatnet project is Rs 61,109 crore which includes Rs 42,068 crore for BharatNet (Phase-I and Phase-II) and a maximum of Rs 19,041 crore on viability gap funding (VGF) for implementation of the PPP model of BharatNet in 16 states, according to government information shared in Parliament.
As of March 31, 2021, the government has utilised Rs 24,201 crore for the project.”The bidding process for this project (Bharatnet) is expected to be initiated during FY’22 and the actual outlay of capex will happen over 2 years from the date of award,” the document said. According to the NMP, 5,25,706 kilometres of optical fibre has been laid under Bharatnet project which aims to connect all villages in the country with a high speed broadband network.
Earlier the scope of the project was limited to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats which has now been extended to village level. The NMP proposes to realise 6 lakh crore from asset sale during FY 22-25 across various sectors of which 6 per cent value is expected to be realised from the telecom sector. “The NMP is meant to serve as an essential roadmap for the Asset monetisation of various brownfield infrastructure assets across roads, railways, shipping, aviation, power, telecom, oil and gas, and warehousing sectors,” the document said.
The government in the union-budget 2021-22 envisioned preparation of NMP to provide a direction to the monetisation initiative and visibility of investors and NITI Aayog was tasked with creation of the NMP for brownfield core infrastructure assets.