BSNL Employees’ Unions Seek Withdrawal of Officers Posted From DoT

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All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) has raked up the issue of “excess officers” who are on deputation from the DoT and asked for their recall, as the company is finding it difficult to pay its own staff salary. A withdrawal of these officers would help the company save Rs 100 crore per year, while Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA), which also raised the same demand earlier, had sought their immediate redeployment to high-revenue circles.

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL) employees unions have sought withdrawal of officers posted from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on deputation, as the operator is struggling to pay salaries of its own staff.

BSNL Wants to Save Rs 100 Crore

The All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB), the umbrella organisation of all unions of the company, is the latest one to seek recall of “excess officers”, claiming it would help in savings of about Rs 100 crore per annum.

About 425 senior officers - Principal General Managers (PGMs) and General Managers (GMs) - are on deputation from DoT, which is creating a huge financial liability to the company. This is an excess of 225 personnel as per the Union Cabinet decision of November 3, 2013.

Strangely, this comes at a time when BSNL has reduced its own employees by more than 50 per cent through a voluntary retirement scheme a year back. Further, the Government’s decision to depute an additional 15 GM and PGMs early this year is adding to the woes.

According to AUAB, about 20 PGMs and GMs are in excess at BSNL Co itself. Similarly, the number of PGM and GMs posted in the circle offices are “exorbitantly high” compared to that in other major circles. Many large circles with revenues of more than Rs 50-100 crore does not have PGMs or GMs, and many of them are posted at places of their choice and not where they are required.

AUAB has also taken up the issue with BSNL Chairman and Managing Director P.K. Purwar and Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash.

As per an earlier Union Cabinet decision, no DGMs were to be posted with BSNL from 2021-22 onwards, and all of them were to be sent back to DoT. This also comes at a time when BSNL has capable and experienced officers to handle all the DGM posts.

However, this is not the first time a BSNL union has raised this issue.

Earlier in March, Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA) had also asked the government to withdraw 128 additional PGMs and General Managers (GMs) working with the company on deputation. In case of a delay in recall of these officers, SNEA had sought their redeployment to major business areas or to field units for “optimum utilisation”.

In 2020, about 78,569 employees, nearly half of its total 1,53,000 employees, opted for VRS, which were mostly in the non-executive category and in the age group of 55-60 years. Earlier in March this year, a parliamentary standing committee report said that BSNL would not be able to make profits, at least for another two years, despite saving nearly Rs 10,000 crore annually following the VRS.

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