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BSNL: Living on past glory till you succumb

State-run telecom giant BSNL was unable to report a single new subscriber in February. Unless, those in power stop its deterioration, the once undisputed king of telecom sector will be sold out or die unnatural death sooner than later

I still remember the days when one had to wait years to get a telephone, LPG connection or even the ‘Hamara Bajaj’. However, supportive policy changes and the desire to move ahead prompted both Bajaj and LPG providers to reach higher levels in their business. On the other hand, telephone service provider, especially, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL), are still living on their past glory and may succumb to outside pressures.

In fact, in February, BSNL could not even report a single new subscriber in its mobile telephony business, while MTNL just managed to get 39,000 new users, says a release from Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). It still is good news for MTNL because during February last year, it added just 23,000 new subscribers. There are others like STel and Etisalat, who also scored a big zero in February, which is not surprising as their licenses have been cancelled and they do not wish to apply for new ones. But for BSNL, this kind of performance raises a big question on its survival. In the numbers game, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone and Idea are already ahead of BSNL in mobile segment.

It must be noted that there still are some people who are eager to get hold of all the properties and machineries of the state-run telco at any cost. In the past, many people, including top corporates and politicians along with some top officials have tried, but could not grab BSNL. There were even talks about listing BSNL on the stock exchanges, but in 2010, the Department of Telecom (DoT) clarified that unless the financial performance of the telecom major improves, it cannot be listed. Over the years the ‘system’ has successfully 'restricted' and cut the wings of BSNL so that it can either be sold out or left to die an ‘unnatural’ death.

Just last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a case against former officials of BSNL and a private company for illegally awarding leased service area (LSA) contracts for wi-max services in six telecom circles. The officials from BSNL include its former chairman and managing director, Kuldeep Goyal, RK Aggarwal, Pradeep Nagpal and Anil Kumar. Rajesh Kumar and S Manoharan, both directors of Kolkata-based Starnet Communication have also been charged.

Here is how the interested parties are playing their games. Before the third generation (3G) and broadband and wireless auction (BWA) it was agreed that both BSNL and MTNL would have to pay similar charges as per the winning bids. After the auction, BSNL got a bill of Rs18,500 crore, while MTNL got for Rs11,098 crore. For FY2010-11, BSNL’s losses widened to Rs5,997 crore from Rs1,823 crore in the year-ago period.

But that’s not all. An independent report by IndiaSpend, a non-profit alternative journalism initiative, said, “…like state-owned Air-India, BSNL too appears to be in terminal decline with sales shrinking at an alarming pace and costs, including a staggering employee bill, still rising.”

Similar to other public sector units (PSUs), BSNL is also facing huge costs on employee salaries and other benefits. As of end-March 2011, the state run telecom company had staff of 2.25 lakh and 56,113 executives. On the other hand, Vodafone, the most successfully running telecom operator in India had about 84,000 employees, while Reliance Communications employs around 28,000 people. This explains why BSNL continues to make losses, year after year. The biggest chunk from revenues it earns is being spent on employees. That too when they rarely show any interest either in running or promoting BSNL’s business or services.

A few days back, I visited one of the offices of BSNL for making an enquiry. The scene there was of a typical ‘sarkari’ office. I was told to visit another office as my enquiry did not fall within their purview. So I went to the other office, about 2-3 km away from the first one I visited. The scene in this office was ‘sarkari’ as well as; more like a 'ladies club'. There were 5-6 women employees busy discussing shopping and family issues. The lone male employee had no other option but to listen. The person Mr X (the in-charge of that wing) I was supposed to meet was not in office. I waited for 10 minutes and nobody even bothered to ask me why I was there. Finally, I took the initiative and asked where Mr X was and when he would be back. I received standard answer, they don't know.

BSNL has not kept itself updated with the world, in fact they seems to have kept themselves insulated from the rest of the world. A majority of its employees are past their prime, there is no (or less) young blood, no new ideas in the organisation. In addition, I doubt if they have even heard the word “customer service”. Even the security guards in BSNL speak as if they are doing a great service to you, the common customer. And they had plenty of them (the subscribers), so one less (if you decide to leave) does not make any difference in their salaries.

Now let’s see the numbers. According to a latest report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), in wireless segment, including GSM, CDMA and fixed wireless phones (FWP), private operators hold 88.56% market share while both state-run BSNL and MTNL hold just 11.4% together, as of January 2012. In the wireline (telephone) segment, BSNL holds 70.2% market share followed by MTNL at 10.7% and Bharti Airtel at 10.1%. Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications hold 4.4% and 3.9% share, respectively in the wireline telephone business. As of January end, there were 3.23 crore subscribers across the country who use wireline phone services.

In the broadband service segment, again BSNL with its wide network, reach and last mile connectivity, is the leader with 64.6% market share with 86.8 lakh subscribers. Bharti Airtel holds 10.1% in broadband services, while MTNL and other service providers hold 7.6% and 17.6% market share, respectively, the report from TRAI said.

While there is no doubt that both BSNL and MTNL offer cheapest services in terms of price, in wireline, mobile and broadband, majority of their subscribers face issues all the time. You will not find a single subscriber who will say that he gets good signal strength, clear voice and reception on either BSNL or MTNL networks. No wonder, several subscribers from MTNL moved to other operators like Vodafone, Idea and Bharti Airtel as soon as the mobile number portability (MNP) started.

In an open market environment, I really have no sympathy for BSNL or MTNL. But their mere presence makes other operators to behave or be subscriber friendly. Both, BSNL and MTNL have the last mile connectivity and power to offer cheaper tariffs for their services. In addition, both the companies have been funded, time and again, with your and my (the taxpayer’s) money. There are many ways, the telecom giant can become the king again, provided the rulers take some harsh decisions, like reducing unnecessary employees and asking it to improve service quality and fend for itself, instead of asking funds from the public exchequer.



Avinash Murkute

5 years ago

Mr. Yogesh, You have done a commendable job. Those who are unhappy with your article should now talk about the corruption in BSNL. Hope they do consult vigilance organization in Bribe Sanchar Nigam Limited.


5 years ago

Mr Yogesh.. Everybody has the freedom to express their views.. but while presenting an an issue before the public you should have gone through the details first.. In my point of view you are absolutely wrong by writing "In fact, in February, BSNL could not even report a single new subscriber in its mobile telephony business" The report from COAI is the base for ur statement.. COAI is one of the associations which represents the corporates in telecom sector in india, not an independent body. They are here for business, not for charity.. and they know the ways to make profit.. They have their own goals.. They have the power... In india where a country is governed by a "corporate" government we cant expect anything in favor of common man or national assets like air india or bsnl.. both BSNL and AIR india are the victims of the present policies of government to help the private operators..

Common man thinks in a way that BSNL is a company owned by the government and it is geting all the support from it.. but in actual practice, the government and all its agencies like TRAI,TDSAT, ED and even DoT is acting for the rivals.. In a hyper competitive and fast growing sector like telecom, It is the responsibility of the government to make its arms(PSUs) competetive by giving freedom to do business and by taking timely decisions... But here BSNL is a "shackled Jumbo" which have no freedom to do its business. the best example is the expansion of its mobile network.. When BSNL was in pace with the private operators in 2007.. The telecom minister(Owner of the company!!!) cancelled the tenders for GSM expansion.. it was just a begining of the game.. to reverse the growth of BSNL and to help the corporates who are the MASTERS of the ministers and beaurocrats.. since then I think it is more than 5 times bsnl had to cancel its tenders.. because of the RESTRICTIONs by its own OWNER, ie the Govt and its agencies.. A raja served his masters wery well.. After that, it was the turn of Mr SIBAL, one of the “four Prime Ministers” presently ruling india.. He is also doing his duty to the corporates very well.. If Raja was interested in 2G scam, Mr Sibal is the mastermind behind 3G roaming scam.. He is all the way helping the TRIOs Airtel/Idea and Vodafone in this 3G scam.. The DoT, TRAI and its associates had taken more than a year to find the 3g roaming is illegal.. anyway DoT ordered the Private telcos to immediately Stop illegal 3G roaming on 23rd Dec 2011.. but even after 3 months nothing is happening.. They are continuing illegal roaming now too.. the cartel between govt and Private telcos are going on in daylight. by delaying decisions he is also in the same way as that of Raja...

But it is really unfortunate that no one has any concern over these matters. The Media, the employees unions and associations, the opposition... In my point of view BSNL is being treated as an enemy of the government.. Just go through its Administartion.. It was being run by thedeputed ITS officers for the last 11 years.. but by last october, when bsnl was giving some positive results in business.. the DoT gave a deadline to ITS officers to make a decision on absorbtion, DoT said , It will finalise this issue of absorption at the earliest and BSNL will have its own managemnt soon.. but Everybody opted out BSNL.. in simple words .. BSNL has been running without any management for the last 6 Months... and no decision in this matter so far... I feel It was one of the wise decisions by the present telecom minister to help rivals.. It is the way a NATIONAL ASSET is being treated by the elected members...Who are supposed to save the national assets !!!
The next threat is from within the company itself.. which are existing in many ways.. The employees unions are the no 1 among these... they are hiding the real facts from its members.. They are using this situation for bargaining with the management... even the recogniced union is running pillar to post to solve the issues of casual labours and Pensioners.. absence of management and national interest are no where in their ajenda.. Those selfish guys have no stand on such matters too..
I also agree, the customer care is the worst in the industry.. its because of the absence of monitoring.. and the absence of professionalism.. and the worst work culture.. But there are exceptions too.. pls go through the achievement of BSNL Kerala in MNP.. In kerala, Net MNP gain of BSNL crossed 3 Lakh in March.. which is more than 2.5 lakhs against the second gainer in MNPin kerala... The Best gainer in FEB 2012, in terms of your COAI, ie No 1 operator by subscriber base in KERALA.. IDEA could not add even a sigle customer here ..BUT IDEA HAVE LOST NEARLY 4500 CUSTOMERS IN FEBRUARY ALONE... WHILE BSNL GOT MORE THAN 1 LAKH CUSTOMERS in february...!!! It is because of the efforts of BSNL kerala itself.. u can see something like this in ANDRAPRADESH, TAMILNADU, KARNATAKA. etc IT SHOWS THAT “WHERE THERE IS A WILL.. THERE IS A WAY”... but the OWNER (govt), MANAGEMENT or its EMPLOYEES associatons have no time to think in that way... Still BSNL is not away from its PAST Glory.. If we have a Govt which safe guard the nation.. If BSNL has a Mangement having proffesionalism and Freedom, If BSNL employees have a genuine Leader who has some commitment to it more over those who loves the NATION....!!!


5 years ago

"In fact, in February, BSNL could not even report a single new subscriber in its mobile telephony business" Thus is the most absurd part in your whole article, I doubt whether you are in your right senses when you right this , even the minnows in telecom industry will add subscribers every month. And I have to say you have to rely your article on much reliable sources, say TRAI which publishes subscriber additions for every month, COAI is association of private operators and they will never get the figures, like number of coustomer from a psu. So check out the crediblity of your sources next time when you think of writing an article.



In Reply to kp 5 years ago

Dear KPji,
Thanks for your comment and taking out time to write it from your 'busy' schedule at the teleco. Till last month, every operator, including BSNL was reporting the numbers to COAI. Then why suddenly there are no number reporting in this month? In addition, as I mentioned in my article, BSNL was not the only one. STel and Etisalat also did not provide any new additions as they are winding up their operations. And the subscriber addition is just a point to start discussion on bigger issue, "survival of BSNL". Hoep you are also interested in saving your employer from further deterioration.
Thanks again,

Ramzi Rahman

In Reply to Yogesh 5 years ago

Mr. Yogesh,
While writing an article like this, atleast study well the sources you have . At the bottom of the
COAI february report it is clearly written in red "* Note - Figures of following operators are as of January 2012 - BSNL, Stel and Etisalat". Will it mean 'BSNL didnt add a single costumer' as u said?? Here in kerala itself BSNL added around 3 lakh subscribers after MNP.


In Reply to Ramzi Rahman 5 years ago

Dear Ramzi Rahman,
Thanks for your comment and taking out time to write it from your 'busy' schedule at the teleco.
Kindly read what I wrote once again: "In fact, in February, BSNL could not even report a single new subscriber in its mobile telephony business, while MTNL just managed to get 39,000 new users, says a release from Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)."
I never said, what you are trying to force onto me. I said, BSNL did not report a single new subscriber.
In addition, as I had alredy mentioned to Mr KP, the subscriber addition is just a starting point for initiating discussion on bigger issue, "survival of BSNL". Hoep you are also interested in saving your employer from further deterioration.
Thanks again,


In Reply to Yogesh 5 years ago

dear yogeshji,

instead of writing an article in hasty manner, it appears that you could have verified the facts. However if the article is intended to break the slumber, then it is ok.

shyam kr mandal

5 years ago

i think the author is a agent of some Private company may be airtel/idea/vodafone/reliance.
he dont have any knoeledge of BSNL work scenerio.
todays bsnl changed almost and is really eligible the most trusted telecom brand in india.
if we add all type of subscriber then bsnl is no.1 operator in india.
he tells about the signal of bsnl mobile , then he should be checked up their brain and then travelled throughout india...he will sure get every where good bsnl signal


BSNL Subsciber

In Reply to shyam kr mandal 5 years ago

The author of the comment is mistaken.
I am a BSNL postpaid mobile customer since 6 yrs.I recently lost my phone.Now to get a new SIM, I was asked to submit my Address/ID proof and since I changed home. I was asked to come next week as the officer was on leave , and then the concerned officer would approve it. And after approval only will they give me my SIM but with the catch that I again have to submit my documents the second time.i.e next week.
I am temped to leave BSNL. will port out I think.


In Reply to BSNL Subsciber 5 years ago

Inconvenience deeply regretted. Asking documents 2nd time is carelessness on part of employee. please contact next in hierarchy, say SDE incharge of Customer care centre. _a BSNL employee.


In Reply to BSNL Subsciber 5 years ago



In Reply to biswas 5 years ago

Thanks for placing your comments about good experience with BSNL. A very few people spare time to write the positive points. However it is natural to complain if someone has a bad experience especially with a government body. It is because a govt body is expected to care the most for public-The master in democracy. Whether we complain anybody when a private bus operator asks you to change the bus on the route because now passengers are less; on the other hand think of such act by a govt bus service and our response. Decision making is a complex process in Government body where transparency and rules must be adhered to. This causes delay and this complex procedure itself creates avenues for miscreants also. Everybody knows the most talented guys get a chance to join govt jobs. Why these guys fail to serve public as expected is a big question.


5 years ago

After the Janata rule was abruptly ended in 1990, all copies of the Shah and Maruti Commission reports were ordered to be removed and destroyed anywhere in the country. These were actually proscribed.


5 years ago

As quite a few learned commentators have opined earlier in this regard, our main malaise is corruption, an all-pervasive and degenerative process destroying whatever is human and Indian. The classic instance of corruption having been legalised by the government is the fact that, amidst all this media hype regarding the "missing" Emergency records, not one person has questioned as to whether there is any copy in any library--govt. or private--in India or abroad of the Reports of the Shah Commission and the Maruti Commission. Any RTI activist can ask for this information and the true character of a totally corrupt edifice will be manifest. In a democracy where every "election" to any elected position, from the college/university students' unions to the top most political bodies can be fought only by, for and with unlimited money supply, it is idiotic to expect any deviation in any sphere of life from the accepted norm, i.e., CORRUPTION. Otherwise, how can a person with nothing at all to fall back upon becomes a millionaire in less than five years after entering into politics or a govt. job (like in the police, sales tax, income tax, customs, excise, RTO, or any office of the civic bodies)?
Let honest people in India pose these questions to our politicos.


5 years ago

The dta is wrong that BSNL could not add any subscriber in GSM , plz verify it again. I'm not going to that poinbt at all. BSNL is facing loss there is a lot of factors 1st : It is being betraied when the demanad is high, ie when GSM service demand was very high it did't get the further equipments to expand the further subscriber capacity for nearly five years,it has to manage the incerasing subscriber capacity with same equipment capacity. Reason ....... to make a wide way path for private operaters, which leads to 2G spectrum ghotala, and result is Loss for BSNL.
2nd : BSNL is running in loss so, SAM PETRODA with his advisory comittee suggested 13 points for upgradation of BSNL but till date it has not been approved by DoT or Gov of India. And as per BSNL Mgmt can't implement without approval from above both authorities.
3rd: BSNL is forced to provide service in remote to remotest areas where there may be 15 to 20 connections in an Exchange equippped with boradband facility, for that it gets rent of 50X 20= 1000and Call charge say 2000 per month, but for that it has to pay House rent say 2000/pm, Electricity Bill say 15000/pm, Generator Oil Bill, say 5000/- , Staff cost say 20000/-pm, mntce cost say 1000/pm etc. Net loss 40000/-pm this service could have been easily provided by either 3G BTS or CDMA BTS or Wimax, but BSNL is forced to set up a wired line connection to fullfill the social obligations and ministrial demands. Such Exchanges are in multiple of hundreds.....
There are so many points for financial degradatiopn of bsnl, in todays date if Sam Petroda recomendation is fully implemented and PSU independance is being provided to BSNL it will rise like Arctic summer Sun.
Thanks a lot for reading it patiently...


5 years ago

i think author is agent of private operator which showing wrong data of month feb-2012. please go and see the remote area of india where only bsnl is hope for poor people . you metro city people always think about yourself. means if i am not getting good service it means BSNL sevice through out india is bad. and people know who is behind to bank rupty of BSNL ... A RAJA and all corporate people who says we serve the people well

Vaibhav Dhoka

5 years ago

Sarkari naukary have become synonym as NO WORK or you can lable as Jagiri.The higher ones are in nexus with private players and lower are intrested only in their monthly pay Nobody care for COMMON MAN.


Avinash Murkute

In Reply to Vaibhav Dhoka 5 years ago

Yes, son of the one senior official in TRAI got senior position in Reliance because of his qualifications(?) and the official in TRAI can't read corruption in BSNL.


5 years ago

BSNL Bachao is a great initiative.
If anyone from BSNL wants to send us information please write to us in confidence. We will be happy to investigate.
There is merit in the claim that they are plagued by netas who want to rip off BSNL. However, it is also true that BSNL executives have become so laid back and unaccountable, that you need 10 times the number of people to do one person's job.
It is the same with MTNL - the sad decline of triband, which debuted as the best services is an example.
Fortunately, even private players have patchy service, so exodus is limited.



In Reply to mld 5 years ago

how to reach you


5 years ago

I am a subscriber of BSNL mobile as well as land line and also some of private operators.I have full sympathy for BSNL.They are simply in loss because they don't deduct your balance without your knowledge.Many of subscribers of private players will agree with me that they deduct your money without your information on one pretext or other.I came across one of the employees of a private operator who conceded that they deduct money to achieve sales target of any month.BSNL does not have such sales target and hence they don't do so.
As far as employees are concerned,private players pay very meagre amount to their employees(except a few) which in my view is not good.We want good service
but also want to see employees happy
and not only few Ambanis amd Mittal to prosper.



In Reply to Shail 5 years ago

Shail, private telcos do no deduct money to achieve sales target, they do it for additional income and boost ARPUs. And Ambanis and Mittals are the not the only ones, there are others like Tatas, Dhoots, Singhs etc. Read about the Niira Radia tape leakage episode for more info on pvt telcos

Brajesh Sharma

5 years ago

I m getting compratively higher bill amount of my broadband BSNL services for last 2 months . When I contacted, somehow,over phone to their billing section, I was badly treated by the the lady talking to me & used some filthy language .Under the circumstances , I m compelled to stop payment & sending complaint in writing to DE(Internal) & area manager.Lets see if there is any hearing happens or not?


R Nandy

In Reply to Brajesh Sharma 5 years ago

Please don't talk with Call centre agents,they don't have authority to solve your problem.Please contact "Accounts Officer" in your local exchange along with previous and current bill.He has full authority to solve your problem then and there.Tried and tested method.
The problem of BSNL is that they don't have clear process.But,once you figure out the methods to solve your problem,it is much easier than Airtel.

Avinash Murkute

In Reply to Brajesh Sharma 5 years ago

Try writing to DTO, SDE, DE, AM, AOTR, DGM, DGM ADMN, PGM, CGM, CMD, DE VIGILANCE, GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL MECHANISM, PRO and so on. If anything works Good Luck, if not welcome to world of Private Telcos and Bribe Free Telephone where there is no Bribe Revenue Sharing Agreement across the organization. If anyone need more details on Corruption in BSNL, may please be reached. Offer open to BSNL authorities also. * As per order in force.


5 years ago

The fact of no new subscriber in moblie telephoney for the month of Feb 2012 in BSNL is wrong. The author has not updated the latest sub scibers in BSNL.



In Reply to Lakshmana 5 years ago

What about other issues raised by the author? Is he wrong there as well, especially about the rising cost of salaries? I heard, BSNL spent Rs548 crore last year just on medical expenses and Rs1,399 crore on pensions. Isn't ot true?


5 years ago

It is surprising that author has not even taken small care to take a response from BSNL about subs figures before focusing its entire article on the Zero figure (another sibbal?)

Actually BSNL added nearly 358288
connection in Feb. 2012 .

And for that matter entire telecom sector is in dire state. Even market leaders are not able to sustain the business dynamics as their operating margins are rapidly depleting.

Off late BSNL with its own compulsion has started showing recovery trends.

Private Sector will definitively see a good competition from BSNL in near future.



In Reply to N K 5 years ago

Dear NKji,
Thanks for your comment. Till last month, every operator, including BSNL was reporting the numbers to COAI. Then why suddenly there are no number reportin this month? In addition, unless, you are an official representing BSNL, we take the figures provided by you with a pinch of salt.
You are talking about the dire state of the entire telecom sector now. May I ask what happened or who stopped BSNL from retaining its top position over the years when telecom was a sun rising sector? And how come, private operators are maintaining their lead position, in all weathers, where as BSNL and MTNL are only losing?
Dont you think what you had said should have been implemented a decade ago?
Also, read comments of other readers and BSNL customers about non availibility of modems for broadband. My personal experience is BSNL is no more interested in selling wireline connections and I can prove it, if needed to any competent authority.
Thanks again,


5 years ago

This article is full of misleading facts and Mr Sapkale seems promotor of Vodaphone. I am a BSNL employee and Sapkale's statements like zero mobile connections of BSNL in Feb is far from truth. 11469 GSM mobile connections were sold in Hisar district alone that too in "Choose your Mobile Number scheme". Quality of service issues like no clear voice is also misleading. I travelled from Delhi to Rameswaram and i was not disappointed by BSNL service anywhere including GPRS services. Further i supported a vodafone customer by let her make a call from my mobile because her's was not successful. COAI is a cartel of private operators and BSNL donot share data with them. I am writing from office by reaching office at 9am an hour before office start time.



In Reply to Rakesh 5 years ago

Dera Rakeshji,
Thanks for your comment. Can you please enlighten me and other readers, where I had promoted anyone.
Also the statement about zero number of connections is not mine. Its the COAI and till last month your employer BSNL used to submit all data. What happened suddenly this month?
Quality of service would never be an issue with an insider or employee. It is customers like me, who are suffering.
I am delighted that you reached your office one hour before the office start time. Does this means you work between 10 to 6? What happens then if someone has a problem with BSNL service after 6? Or you haven't heard about 24x7 customer service? Correct me if I am wrong, but whatever I mentioned in the atricle has been written because I like several other customers of BSNL feel like saving it from deterioration. Hope at least you would understand our sincere desire.
Thanks again,

Share prices still under pressure: Friday Closing Report

Nifty is trapped in a narrow range of 5,200 and 5,400

Gains in the second half of trade, despite unsupportive global cues, helped the market close nearly 1% higher on Friday. The gains were also supported by Goldman Sach’s latest Asia-Pacific Quarterly Outlook report, which upgraded Indian stocks to ‘marketweight’ from ‘underweight. However, the sentiment remains guarded with the market still under pressure. The Nifty is expected to remain trapped in the narrow range of 5,200 and 5,400. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a comparatively low volume with 66.70 crore shares traded today.

Recovering from the steep losses seen on Thursday, the domestic market opened higher on renewed institutional buying at lower levels. However, global cues were not very supportive as the US markets settled lower overnight on concerns about global economic growth. The US trend was reflected in the Asian pack, which was mixed in morning trade.

Back home, the Nifty gained 28 points to open trade at 5,256 and the Sensex resumed trade at 17,228, up 62 points over its previous close. Across-the-board buying helped the indices stay in the green till 10.05am. However, the market came off the highs as investors resorted to profit booking at higher levels. The benchmarks dipped into the red to their intraday lows at around 10.25am. At that point, the Nifty stood at 5,220 and the Sensex touched 17,179.

The fall was short-lived as fresh buying soon lifted the indices into to positive. Fluctuating in the green, the upmove expanded as trade progressed. Early gains in the key European indices also supported the sentiments in the post-noon session.

Goldman Sachs, in its  latest Asia-Pacific Quarterly Outlook report released on Thursday, upgraded Indian stocks to ‘marketweight’ from ‘underweight’, saying domestic growth will pick up, while stock valuations remain "relatively attractive."

The market hit its intraday high in the last hour with the Nifty rising to 5,312 and the Sensex touching 17,458.  However, volatility resulted in the indices paring some of the gains at the close. The Nifty closed 50 points higher at 5,278 and the Sensex settled 165 points up at 17,362.

The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 756:662.

Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.61% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.40%.

BSE TECk (up 1.62%); BSE Realty (up 1.61%); BSE IT (up 1.38%); BSE Bankex (up 1.27%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 1.16%) were the top sectoral gainers while BSE Metal (down 0.51%) and BSE Consumer Durables (down 0.11%) settled lower.

Hero MotoCorp (up 4.08%); Bharti Airtel (up 3.69%); Sun Pharma (up 2.71%); GAIL India (up 2.39%) and HDFC Bank (up 2.24%) were the toppers in the Sensex list. The losers were led by Jindal Steel (down 1.90%); Maruti Suzuki (down 1.68%); ONGC (down 1.26%); Coal India (down 1.25%) and Hindalco Industries (down 1.02%) were the main losers on the index.

The top performers on the Nifty were Jaiprakash Associates (up 4.31%); Ambuja Cements (up 3.90%); Hero MotoCorp (up 3.59%); Bharti Airtel (up 3.57%) and Cairn India (up 2.77%). The top laggards were Jindal Steel (down 2.13%); Maruti Suzuki (down 1.75%); Siemens (down 1.09%); Coal India (down 1.05%) and ONGC (down 1%).

Markets in Asia closed mixed on growth concerns as German and French manufacturing activity witnessed a sharp decline in March. The news follows similar grim news from China yesterday. Meanwhile, Singapore’s Straits Times index gained as a report showed the city-state’s inflation rate unexpectedly slowed for a third month in February.

The Jakarta Composite gained 0.13%; the KLSE Composite rose 0.16%; the Straits Times advanced 0.36%; the Seoul Composite added 0.04% and the Taiwan Weighted climbed 0.21%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite declined 1.10%; the Hang Seng dropped 1.11% and the Nikkei 225 tanked 1.14%. At the time of writing, the key European indices, which opened higher, slipped into the red and the US stock futures were mixed.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares totalling Rs246.56 crore on Thursday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities amounting to Rs133.13 crore.

Manappuram Finance today said it will reduce the loan amount to 60% of the gold value, at par with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directions. Currently, the average Loan-to-Value (LTV) offered by Manappuram Finance on its gold loan is at 66%. RBI earlier this week had directed all NBFCs not to sanction loan beyond 60% of the value of gold jewellery. The stock declined 1.63% to close at Rs36.30 on the NSE.

ING has selected Finacle to transform its core banking software and Infosys will power multiple business areas of the bank such as deposits and loans, savings and current accounts amongst others. With this transformation, ING aims to modernise its growing customer base in Belgium. Infosys settled 1.65% higher on the NSE at Rs2,875.10 apiece.

German carmaker Audi has chosen Steel Strips Wheels (SSWL) for the supply of steel wheel rims for its A6 platform. The business has a potential of exports worth over 20.28 million euros (equivalent to around Rs137 crore) over a period of four years. The company expects to start supplies in 2012-13. SSWL climbed 1.16% to close at Rs227.10 on the NSE.


SKS securitises loans worth Rs321 crore

Two rated pool assignment transactions worth Rs221 crore and two non-rated assignment transactions worth Rs100 crore from two public sector and two private banks totals to Rs321 crore, SKS said in a statement.

SKS Microfinance, India's only listed micro lender said it has completed securitisation of Rs321 crore with four leading banks.

The Rs321 crore securitisation transactions come close on the heels of two other transactions worth Rs243 crore and Rs354 crore in January and February 2012 respectively. There have been six transactions in this year so far are worth Rs918 crore.

In addition, the company had obtained term loans worth Rs240 crore from three public sector banks. All these add up to a debt inflow of Rs1,158 crore.

Two rated pool assignment transactions worth Rs221 crore and two non-rated assignment transactions worth Rs100 crore from two public sector and two private banks totals to Rs321 crore, SKS said in a statement.

The present set of four transactions worth Rs321 crore has been obtained at an annual interest rate of 12%, priced 150 basis points lower than the previous two transactions, it added.

According to S Dilli Raj, chief financial officer, SKS Microfinance, fund flow has been gaining momentum in recent months with the overall environment turning positive for the microfinance sector.

“Contributing in a big way to such optimism is the fact that the RBI has issued guidelines for the NBFC-MFIs on 2 December 2011 coupled with the firm steps taken by the central government to table the Microfinance Institutions Development and Regulation Bill in the present session of Parliament and also Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s special mention of the Government's decision in this regard during his Budget speech last week,” Mr Raj said in a statement.

SKS Microfinance Limited has so far completed 15 assignment/ securitisation transactions post the AP MFI Act.

The pool comprises receivables from micro women borrowers from the weaker section as defined by the RBI. Pool receivables are identified from 18 non-Andhra Pradesh states where SKS operates, it added.

All these rated papers have shown robust collection efficiency of more than 98%. Credit enhancement has not been utilised in any of these structures, according to SKS.


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