India will merge its twin state-run telecom companies in an effort to turn around the money-losing firms, which it considers core assets. The strategy would also see the government look at ways to exploit the vast land assets of the two companies while rationalising their manpower by offering incentives to employees to avail an early retirement plan. The ₹56,000 crore merger and revival plan for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Ltd (MTNL) was approved by the Union cabinet on 23.10.19. MTNL operates in Delhi and Mumbai, and BSNL in the rest of India. The turnaround plan would include the allotment of spectrum for fourth-generation or 4G services at 2016 prices to the two companies with the costs borne by the government and issue of sovereign bonds worth ₹15,000 crore to be serviced by the two companies. In addition, assets worth ₹38,000 crore will be monetised over the next four years and a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) will be introduced to cut employee costs. MTNL is listed but its net worth has totally eroded. BSNL is unlisted. As of March 2018, it owned land worth ₹70,000 crore and buildings worth ₹3,760 crore. It also has considerable tower assets. The two companies have a total debt of around ₹40,000 crore.