In a bid to strengthen the debt-ridden state-run telecom operators MTNL and BSNL, the Cabinet on Wednesday gave an in-principle nod to a merger of the two entities. "The government is neither shutting nor divesting stake in MTNL and BSNL," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a press briefing on Wednesday, after the meeting of the Cabinet. The move comes at a time public sector companies MTNL and BSNL are facing financial stress amid intense competition in the telecom sector. "To make the proposed joint venture between MTNL and BSNL, the government would invest Rs. 15,000 crore through sovereign bonds and assets worth Rs. 38,000 crore will be monetised", Mr Prasad said.