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|December 12, 1997||
VSNL board is being reconstitutedThe Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited board will be reconstituted. The communications ministry is expected to clear the proposed expansion of the VSNL board soon and give it more commercial freedom.
The ministry has constituted a search committee headed by Public Enterprises Selection Board Chairman N Vittal to locate senior professionals in finance, marketing and telecommunications for sprucing up VSNL's existing board of directors.
Gokak said "The panel will soon submit its report to the communications minister for approval, following which, it will be sent to the Cabinet Committee for Appointments for final clearance.''
According to Gokak, "The government hopes to clear the proposal at the earliest as it has realised the importance of a wide-based board to equip VSNL professionally to take independent commercial decisions, especially as its monopoly status will end after 2004."
The new-look VSNL board is expected to enjoy far greater commercial freedom in pursuing future development projects. Significant among them are: The board will be empowered to clear capital expenditure proposals up to Rs 2 billion either for creating new assets or replacing existing ones without prior approval of the Public Investment Board and the communications ministry.
The revamped board will be let to create additional posts (below the board level) for deployment in future ventures. At present, it is not authorised to create new posts without ministerial sanction.
The board will be allowed to initiate voluntary retirement scheme without central approval.
It will be able to firm up joint venture proposals and strategic alliances (with both domestic and global partners) within the ambit of government guidelines.
In this regard, Gokak stressed that although PSUs like VSNL had been allowed to skip the formal tendering route to invite global JV proposals, the reconstituted board would be allowed to approve them only if they were within the purview of central guidelines.
Regarding the DoT licence agreement norms on value-added services, Gokak reiterated that they were unfair. As a result, he said "DoT has taken an in-principle decision not to penalise private licensees whose projects have suffered due to delayed clearances.''
- Compiled from the Indian media
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