Over 80,000 employees of BSNL and MTNL have already applied for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) notified by the companies last week. Going by the response, it seems that the firms are set to achieve their target of 94,000 employees.
BSNL had estimated that about 79,000 people will opt for the scheme while MTNL had set a target of 15,000 staff to take retirement. As per an official, over 72,000 employees in BSNL and 8,900 in MTNL have already applied for VRS.
After the retirement of excess staff, BSNL is likely to save over Rs. 7,500 crore per year in salary costs. The current salary outgo is over Rs. 14,000 crore for the company. The government had last month cleared a package worth around Rs. 70,000 crore, which includes Rs. 29,937 crore for VRS.
BSNL has about 46,000 executives, which include ranks of junior telecom officer (JTO) and higher. Non-executives staff count like junior engineer, accountant, technicians, etc, stood at about 1.18 lakh.
According to the VRS scheme, all regular and permanent BSNL employees aged 50 years or more, including those on deputation to other organisation or posted outside BSNL on deputation basis, are eligible to avail VRS.
Currently, over 77% of BSNL revenues goes into paying salaries but after the scheme, it will come down to 20-25%.
As per the scheme, the amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days salary for each completed year of service and 25 days salary for every year of service left until superannuation.
Apart from the funding for VRS, the government had also announced to infuse Rs. 20,140 crore in the state-run telecom firms for purchase of 4G spectrum and Rs. 3,674 crore for GST to be paid on spectrum allocation. The companies will raise Rs. 15,000 crore in debt, for which a sovereign guarantee will be provided by the government. Apart from that, the two firms will also monetise assets worth Rs. 37,500 crore in the next three years. Both the firms have been reporting losses over the past few years. The total debt on both the companies stood at Rs. 40,000 crore.