After BSNL and MTNL submitted their proposal duly approved by their boards to seek financial support from the government for implementation of VRS; Air India might consider Voluntary Retirement Scheme as an option to trim its overloaded workforce. For its part MTNL has sought for 100 percent financial support from the government while BSNL has asked for nearly Rs 18,000 crores to enable VRS for its huge workforce. In the case of Air India too, it is expected that the central government would bear the costs because it would be a part of the government’s equity support. The ailing airline has roughly 400 people per aircraft on its rolls while the industry norm is 100 per aircraft. The annual salary outgo for the airline is a whopping Rs3,600 crore.
In 2007 too Air India had unsuccessfully tried to implement voluntary retirement for its cabin crew. The employee unions on their part are likely to oppose any such move. The employees believe that there is no need of VRS when the policy for a compulsory retirement scheme already is in place and also the service rules state that unproductive employees should be relieved.