Nearly 78000 employees of BSNL opted for the ‘attractive’ Voluntary Retirement Scheme in one of the largest mass retirement drives across the country. January 31 was the last day for BSNL employees over the age of 50 who put in their papers as part of Centre’s revival package to pull out the PSU out of the financial crisis. To recall, the government offered revival package to BSNL last year as part of which it provided VRS to the employees. The state-run telco will also launch 4G services in the coming months to compete with private telecom operators. “This is as per our target. We were expecting a reduction of 82,000 headcounts. Besides VRS applicants, around 6,000 employees also retired,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director P.K. Purwar said.
BSNL’s workforce is now reduced to nearly 50% with around 85,000 employees left following the voluntary retirement.
The Central government had earlier asked BSNL to cut back their 1.63 lakh manpower to reduce the financial crisis. The telecom giant now expects its annual salary expenses will go down from 2,272 crores to 500 crores.
What Will the BSNL VRS Scheme Offers to Employees?
The VRS 2019 scheme, now closed, was one-time retirement package for the BSNL employees over the 50 years of age. As per the scheme, all regular and permanent BSNL employees including those on deputation to other organisations or posted outside the corporation on deputation basis, and have attained 50 years of age or above could seek voluntary retirement.
BSNL will be doling out Rs 70000 crore to the voluntarily retired employees as per the scheme, reports The Week. Out of this Rs 17,169 crores will be allotted as ex gratia for the retirees and Rs 12,678 crores will be disbursed as pension allotment.
The compensation will be calculated with 125% of the employee’s 40-month salary and include pension and gratuity until the age of 60. The amount of ex-gratia for eligible employees will be equal to 35 days pay for each completed year and 25 days pay for every year of service left until superannuation.
The package has come as a huge relief for many as the cash strapped operator failed to pay salaries for many of its workers.
BSNL says operations are unlikely to be affected, even though a large number of engineers have retired. Landline, broadband services will be bettered and while 4G rollout will improve mobile services.