Over 92,000 Employees Of BSNL, MTNL Opt For VRS Scheme
BSNL signage stands on a building. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Over 92,000 Employees Of BSNL, MTNL Opt For VRS Scheme

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Over 92,000 employees of state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. have so far opted for the recently announced Voluntary Retirement Scheme, according to a government source.

The source said the scheme and the strong response it has generated marks the biggest milestone in the history of these state-owned corporations.

Over 92,000 employees of BSNL and MTNL have opted for the scheme so far, the source added.

Nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the VRS out of its total staff strength of about 1.50 lakh. The effective date of voluntary retirement under the present scheme is Jan. 31, 2020.

The 'BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019', that was rolled out recently, will remain open till Dec. 3. BSNL is looking at savings of about Rs 7,000 crore in wage bill, if 70,000-80,000 personnel opt for the scheme.

According to the plan, all regular and permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organizations or posted outside the corporation on deputation basis, who attended 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.

MTNL too has rolled out a VRS for its employees. The scheme, based on Gujarat Model, will be open for employees till Dec. 3.

The Union Cabinet had last month approved a plan to combine MTNL - which provides services in Mumbai and New Delhi - with BSNL that services the rest of the nation.

The rescue package approved by the government includes infusion of Rs 20,140 crore for purchase of 4G spectrum, Rs 3,674 crore for Good and Services Tax 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 two firms will also monetise assets worth Rs 37,500 crore in the next three years. MTNL has reported losses in nine of the past 10 years and BSNL too has been ringing in loss since 2010. The total debt on both companies stood at Rs 40,000 crore, of which half of the liability is on MTNL alone.

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