More than 22,000 employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) have opted for its Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) plan, just within two days of the state-owned corporation announcing the scheme. Of this, 13,000 employees belong to Group C category.
Last month, in order to revive the PSU telecom bodies, BSNL and MTNL, the government had decided to merge the two telcos and as part of the revival package, the government had come up with a four-step revival plan which also includes offering employees of both the subsidiaries a Voluntary Retirement Scheme.
In all, nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the VRS out of its total staff strength of 1.50 lakh. The scheme was rolled out on November 5 will be open till December 3. As per media reports, BSNL's internal target for the scheme is of 77,000 employees.
As per the `BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019' all regular and permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organizations or posted outside BSNL on deputation basis, who are above the age of 50 years or above are eligible to seek voluntary retirement. The amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days salary for each completed year of service and 25 days salary for every year of service left until superannuation.
Meanwhile, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) too has rolled out a VRS for its employees. The scheme, based on the Gujarat Model of VRS, will be open for employees till December 3, 2019. All regular and permanent employees of 50 years and above as on January 31, 2020, are eligible to opt for the scheme.
The development comes as the government last month had approved a Rs 69,000 Cr crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetizing their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years. Through the VRS, BSNL is looking at savings of about Rs 7,000 Cr in wages, considering anywhere between 70,000-80,000 employees opt for it. Hopefully, the schemes will make some significant dent in the loss making sprees of the two firms. MTNL has reported losses in nine of the past 10 years and BSNL too has been ringing in losses since 2010.
Meanwhile, things are not at all looking up for the telecom sector otherwise as well. The Indian telecom sector is facing about 40,000 job cuts in total over a period of six months. This analysis comes after the Supreme Court’s verdict that mandates telcos to pay upto Rs. 92,641 Cr to the Department of Telecom because of the AGR (adjusted gross revenues) dispute.