Over 22,000 Employees Opt For BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme In Two Days
Signage for BSNL is displayed atop the company’s head office in the Churchgate area of Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Over 22,000 Employees Opt For BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme In Two Days

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More than 22,000 employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. have opted for its voluntary retirement scheme plan, within two days of the state-owned corporation announcing the scheme, a senior official said on Thursday.

In all, nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the VRS out of its total staff strength of 1.50 lakh. The scheme that was rolled out on Nov. 5 will be open till Dec. 3.

The number of employees opting for the VRS plan has already crossed 22,000, out of BSNL’s internal target of 77,000 employees, said the BSNL official who did not wish to be named.

Of this, 13,000 employees belong to Group C category, the official told PTI while adding that the response had been good across all cadres. BSNL is looking at savings of about Rs 7,000 crore in wage bill, considering anywhere between 70,000-80,000 personnel opt for it.

According to BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019 all regular and permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organisation or posted outside BSNL on deputation basis, who attained the age of 50 years or above are eligible to seek voluntary retirement under the scheme.

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.

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., too, has rolled out a VRS for its employees. The scheme, based on Gujarat Model of VRS, will be open for employees till Dec. 3.

In a notice issued by MTNL to employees recently, it mentioned that “all regular and permanent employees of 50 years and above as on Jan. 31, 2020” are eligible to opt for the scheme.

The government last month had approved a plum Rs 69,000 crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetising their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years.

The Union Cabinet has approved the plan to combine MTNL - which provides services in Mumbai and New Delhi - with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. that services the rest of the nation.

The rescue package approved includes infusion of Rs 20,140 crore for purchase of 4G spectrum, Rs 3,674 crore for GST to be paid on spectrum allocation, companies raising Rs 15,000 crore in debt on the sovereign guarantee and government funding Rs 17,160 crore VRS and another Rs 12,768 crore towards retirement liability.

The proceeds of the sovereign bonds issue will be to restructure debt and meet other expenses. The bond will have to be serviced by the PSUs only. The two firms will also monetise assets worth Rs 37,500 crore in the next three years.

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