The Delhi High Court may have authorised the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to audit books of accounts of private sector telecom companies, but a look at the audits conducted reveals that it has not done a commercial audit (performance, transaction and revenue audit) of the two state-run telcos — BSNL and MTNL — since 2008-09.
While the commercial audit of telecom sector was conducted by the top audit institution for all 10 financial years in the period between March 1999 and March 2008 (barring March 2003), it has not conducted such audit for the last five years, even as the performance of BSNL has slipped significantly.
From a net profit of Rs 7,805 crore in 2006-07, BSNL’s net profit slipped to Rs 574 crore in the year ended March 2009. However, in the following two years it slipped to a loss of Rs 1,822 crore in the year ended March 2010 and further down to a loss of Rs 6,384 crore in 2010-11. Even though the losses at BSNL have been compounding, there has been no check by the CAG and no audit conducted by it.
The situation at MTNL is no different as the company, which had revenues amounting to Rs 6,369 and net profit of Rs 1,150 crore in 2003-04, saw its profits declining on a continuous basis till March 2009, when it hit Rs 214 crore and then slipped into negative. For the fiscal ended March 2013, the revenues for MTNL stood at Rs 3,438 crore while the net loss jumped to Rs 5,321 crore.
On Monday, the Delhi High Court had ruled the CAG to audit private telcos on the premise that they share revenue with the government.