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New Indian IT Plan Drops Telecom Privatization Proposal

BANGALORE, India — A plan for IT and communications issued by India's new government would cancel the proposed sell-off of government equity in two Indian telecommunications carriers.

The two carriers, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.
(MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), would
not be privatized under the plan. "They are off the disinvestment list," said Dayanidhi Maran, the new IT and
communications minister.

The previous government had proposed a list of government-owned companies to be be privatized. Among the were MTNL and BSNL, which together employ thousands of Indian workers. The carriers are busy handling the emerging competition from private wireless and landline phone services.

The government-owned Indian Telephone Industries Ltd. (ITI), the country's oldest public sector company, will be revived, Maran said.

ITI, a manufacturer of telecom equipment in partnership with overseas firms such as Alcatel, had almost been written off as a viable company.

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