Nearly 93,000 officials from state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) had opted for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) offered by the Central government. As a result, in a span of one and half years both the companies face operational lossess and staff crunch. To curb the challenge they seek clarification from the Telecom Ministry to rehire the employees who had opted for VRS as consultants.
As per the report, the DoT has, for now, asked all the field and attached offices to stop any such recruitment of BSNL and MTNL staff who had taken VRS as consultant until it examines the matter.
Back in 2019, the Central government had approved the VRS scheme for BSNL and MTNL employees as part of the restructuring and revival plan of the company.
For BSNL, out of the 1,53,000 employees, over half — 78,569 employees in all — had opted to retire, while at MTNL, nearly 80 percent (14,400 employees) of the total staff strength at the company, had opted to retire. The VRS scheme was for employees aged 50 or above. As per the scheme, the retiring employees were to receive the lump sum compensation or ex-gratia payment at 35 days of salary for each year in service and 25 days of salary for each year left until retirement. The report suggests that while several employees at BSNL and MTNL have received the first instalment of their VRS payments, the second one has been delayed in most cases, owing to expenditure cuts following the economic downturn due to COVID-19 restrictions.
If the request for rehiring some of the retired employees as consultants is accepted, how will they bring people back and compensate them will be a key decision.