BSNL: Six Pillars, Five Makeshift?

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Who would believe that a company with a turnover of Rs 24,300 crore would be

running without a permanent head? Well, that’s the state of affairs at India’s

biggest telecom company, BSNL. Its CMD, Prithipal Singh, has been functioning in

a look-after position for the last ten months now.


Other senior management positions, director (finance) and director

(commercial and marketing) are also not permanent. Thus, three out of top six

posts are in the look-after state. Needless to say, this will slow the decision

making process, and the biggest beneficiaries would be the private service


BSNL’s Organizational Chart

CMD : Prithipal Singh

Holding additional charge since 1 April 2002, after Dr DPS Seth was transferred to DoT as member (services)



SD Saxena

Director (O)

Prithipal Singh

Director (C&M)

VP Sinha

Director (P&NS)


Director (HRD)

Shabbir Ahmad

Vacant since 31 March 2002.

SD Saxena,

Sr DDG (Efc) holds additional charge


Vacant since

1 Jan 2003.

VP Singh, Sr DDG (policy planning), DoT holds additional charge


on 28 Feb 2003


on 28 Feb 2003

Who is to be blamed–the minister, the secretary, or DoT?

Looking back, the corporatization of DoT and DTS had led to the formation of

BSNL. The main purpose of forming BSNL was to have a more flexible and

autonomous organization. Will the vacant top posts help achieve the objective?


The CMD post that is being looked after by Prithipal Singh, director

(operations), has been lying vacant since 1 April 2002, after the transfer of Dr

DPS Seth as member (services), DoT. Director (finance) is a post being looked

after by SD Saxena, senior DDG (establishment, finance and costing) since 1

April 2002 with the superannuation of SP Purwar. Even Saxena has not been

confirmed after 10 months.

More recently, on 31 December 2002, BR Khurana retired as director

(commercial and marketing) and VP Sinha, senior DDG (policy planning), DoT was

asked to look after the post.


Organizational Chart


Vinod Vaish



Dr DPS Seth



N Parthasarthy







28 Feb 2003



31 July 2002



31 Oct 2002.

Dr DPS Seth has taken additional charge


Kranti Kumar, director (planning and new services) and Shabbir Ahmad,

director (HRD) are retiring on 28 February 2002. If no confirmations are done by

then, five out of six top management posts will be look-after.

Moreover, these people are also performing two roles each. Prithipal Singh is

performing the duty of acting CMD and director (operations). SD Saxena

performing the duty of acting director (finance) and senior DDG (EFC) and VP

Sinha performing the duty of acting director (commercial and marketing) and Sr

DDG (policy planning), DoT.

In large companies, even one portfolio demands a lot of attention. Dual

portfolios not only become too much of a burden but also delay the decision

making process. Moreover, since the person is in a look-after position, he’s

hesitant in taking decisions that may displease the political bosses.


For example, with margins coming down in voice, service providers are looking

at data and value-added services as a major revenue source to boost the topline.

But BSNL has not taken the lead in terms of broadband and other value-added

services despite the fact that it has a market share of 98.55 percent in basic


With the posts lying vacant, chances of BSNL officials becoming members of

DoT are also ruled out. Within BSNL too, upward movements are restricted as

three people have dual responsibilities. Filling up of the posts can help lift

the morale of people who have worked for several years in the organization.

It seems that even the PMO notice has not been adhered to in this respect. A

couple of months ago, the PMO had issued a notice specifying that all posts

should be filled up immediately and wherever superannuation cases are involved

appointment should be done six months in advance.

Pravin Prashant