The government of India today clarified that it will not be implementing any pay revision for the employees of state-owned telecom provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd as the company has failed to meet the profitability criteria applicable for all government enterprises.
BSNL has racked up tens of thousands of crores of accumulated losses since 2009-10 due to a failure to adapt to changing customer preferences and new technology, combined with a perceived lack of customer friendliness.
“BSNL does not fulfill the criteria under affordability clause as per Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) guidelines dated 03.08.2017 on pay revision in Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) with effect from 01.01.2017. Therefore, the pay revision in BSNL has not been considered due to poor financial condition and continuous losses in BSNL,” junior minister for communications, Sanjay Dhotre informed the parliament today.
Dhotre also disclosed the final numbers from the Rs 30,000 cr voluntary retirement plan offered by the government to the employees of BSNL and MTNL.
According to the final numbers, a total of 78,569 employees of BSNL and 14,387 employees of MTNL have opted for the VRS, out of an estimated 1.7 lakh total BSNL employees and an estimated 21,000 total MTNL employees.
Unlike employees of other telecom companies that have gone bankrupt, BSNL and MTNL employees get paid to retire and also get continued payment in the form of monthly pension.
The government is releasing Rs 29,937 crore to the two companies to help them retire these employees.
Out of this, Rs 17,169 cr will be paid as a lump sum amount on retirement and Rs 12,768 cr will be the extra amount of pension that will be paid to these employees as they have opted to step down from the companies.
Employees of other telecom companies, such as Reliance Communications, Aircel Cellular, Tata Teleservices and so on, were let go without any lump-sum payment or monthly pension.
In addition to the above financial support, the government is also giving spectrum worth thousands of crores of rupees so that BSNL can expand its 4G network, without taking any money from the company.
Today, it also promised that BSNL will get 5G spectrum without having to participate in the upcoming auction. The company has been doing 5G trials and may turn out to be one of the first to bring the technology to the market.