When we first looked (in June 2011), state-owned telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) was headed for losses of Rs 2,725 crore for the year ended March 2011. In August, reports suggested unaudited losses had jumped to Rs 6,000 crore from Rs 1,823 crore in 2009-10. The final loss figure for 2010-11 stands at Rs 6,384 crore.

Worse, 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. We take a closer look at some of BSNL’s numbers that highlight a problem symptomatic of most state-owned organisations, except of course, for an honourable few. Read more