New Delhi, Nov 3 : Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has directed the ailing telecom PSUs, BSNL and MTNL, to initiate a dialogue to implement voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) as revival package for staff of BSNL and MTNL has been approved by the government and January 31, 2020 is the last date for employees opting for VRS.
It will give Rs 17,160-crore for VRS settlements and another Rs 12,768 crore towards retirement liabilities.
“If an employee is 53-and-a-half years old and opts for VRS, he will get 125 per cent salary, pension and gratuity till the age of 60,” Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ravi Shankar Prasad has said.
Government of India will be putting in Rs 29,937 crore on ex-gratia account and Rs 12,678 crore for pensionary benefit, the minister stated. The government will also adjust GST worth Rs 4,000 crore that will have to be paid for granting 4G spectrum to BSNL and MTNL, he said.
The Union Cabinet had last month approved a revival package for BSNL and MTNL which includes a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for their staff. The aim is to reduce the employee cost of the two companies by offering VRS to their staff aged 50 years and above based on the Gujarat model with some modifications.
BSNL has 1.76 lakh employees, of which some 1.06 lakh are over 50 years of age. The telco is keen that 80 per cent of the employees should opt for the VRS.
MTNL has around 22,000 employees. BSNL’s employee cost is 75 per cent of its total income and MTNL’s employee cost is 87 per cent of its total income.
The financial health of both PSUs depend on the success of the VRS, the implementation of which would take a minimum of 90 days.
“The Minister on Friday met the boards of both BSNL and MTNL and conveyed to them that the scheme must be implemented with a proper dialogue with the employees, and by presenting them with questions and answers,” sources said.
“He told the boards of the two PSUs that it was the finest VRS announced by any PSU, and BSNL and MTNL must be proactive to make it a success,” said the sources.
For employees currently more than 55 years of age, on opting for VRS, the pension will be commuted only when they attain 60 years of age (the current retirement age). For the employees, currently of age 55 years and less, on opting for VRS, the pension will be commuted in the sixth year 2024-25.