A parliamentary panel has asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to take up once again the proposal to grant Defence PSU status to Indian telephone Industries (ITI) with the Department of Defence Production. Taking note of “lack of follow-up action”, the Standing Committee on IT, chaired by BJP MP Anurag Singh Thakur, has said the proposal needs to be “favourably considered” as it will increase the state-owned telecom company’s prospects of getting more work orders.
“It appears that no follow-up action has been taken by the department on this recommendation of the committee… The committee desires that the department should once again impress the Department of Defence Production for granting of DPSU status to ITI and upgrade necessary infrastructure,” the panel has said in a recent report on revival of the sick PSU.
The basic idea is that apart from taking up projects like Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON), NFS, radars, it may be able to participate in various other projects reserved for Defence PSUs. Studies conducted by the Ministry of Defence and DRDO had found ITI capable of meeting their requirements, the report said, to buttress its point. The committee, in its report, pointed to the huge Defence requirements of the country and said most PSUs, be it Bharat Electronics Ltd or Bharat Dynamics Ltd or Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd, are “over-flooded with demand”.
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The committee suggested that the Telecom Department and ITI should collaborate with Defence PSUs “to extract some work from them” and sought to be updated on the action taken. It said a study conducted by the Ministry of Defence in 2013 had suggested that ITI could be classified as Defence
PSU, and that DRDO too had echoed the view. However, the Department of Defence Production (DDP) had not favoured the proposal on the ground that it would not “facilitate” Defence orders for ITI, given that the PSUs have to compete with private players for getting contracts.