Friday, June 24, 2011

No decision yet on offering VRS to BSNL staff

Friday, 24 June 2011 20:01

Loss-making telecom PSU Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) today said that no decision has been taken so far to offer voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to its employees who are nearing the age of retirement.

The Telecom Ministry is understood to have asked BSNL to reduce its workforce by 50,000 as one of the measures to become profitable.

"No decision has been taken by any authority as yet to give VRS to the employees of the organisation," a BSNL source said.

The huge workforce has been eating into the revenues of BSNL, resulting in huge outflow of cash from the country's exchequer pocket. BSNL has a workforce of about 3,57,000 personnel.

BSNL, once the country's flagship telecom company, posted a net loss of Rs 1,823 crore on revenue of Rs 32,046 crore in 2009-2010. The company had a net profit of over Rs 10,000 crore in 2005-06.

In fact Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister on infrastructure, had also suggested BSNL to downsize its workforce by about 100,000, prompting the employees unions to threaten agitations.

Last month, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had said the government is committed to turn around BSNL in the next six months.

BSNL labour union have been opposing the recommendations by Sam Pitroda Committee to retrench one lakh employees through VRS and to reduce the retirement age from 60 to 58.

Earlier, BSNL had informed Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) that it expects to turn profitable in the year through March 2013, but projects a net loss for the just-ended fiscal year and the ongoing year that began on April 1.

The company expects to post a net loss of Rs 2,725 crore on revenue of Rs 31,738 crore for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, and the loss is expected to narrow down to Rs 623 crore on revenue of Rs 36,569 crore during the current fiscal year (2011-12 fiscal).

Earlier, DoT had also directed another loss-making sister concern firm MTNL to work on reducing staff. MTNL, which offers telecom services in Delhi and Mumbai, has asked DoT to clear a VRS to be offered to 15,000 employees in the current financial year, a third of its workforce.

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