During the BSNL heads of circle conference in Delhi in September 27, Manoj Sinha, minister of communications and information technology, asked the company to consider implementing “performance-related pay”. BSNL has always been infamous for its customer relationship. The minister said the mindset that salary would come on the first day of each month whether or not work was done had to change.
The telecommunication industry is facing a major upheaval following Reliance Jio’s entry with free voice calls and cheap data services. Like other telecom operators, the state-run BSNL announced various tariff plans to counter the Jio threat. BSNL, which once controlled the telecommunication market, has only 9.73 per cent market share now.
In 2014-15, BSNL earned an operating profit of Rs 672 crore for the first time in seven years. Its income from services has increased by 4.16 per cent in 2014-15 as compared to the previous financial year. BSNL should have done better since it has more reach than any other telecom company in India. But more than 50 per cent of its revenue is going to pay salaries. Although the number of employees has been reduced from 3.25 lakh in 2000 to 2 lakh now, BSNL is spending Rs 15,000 crore on wages. Sinha said performance-related pay was implemented in many companies, so BSNL, too, could discuss it.
Sinha asked BSNL to strictly adhere to the deadline for completion of national optical fibre network project. The project, renamed as BharatNet, aims to give broadband connectivity to all gram panchayats (approximately 2.5 lakh) in the country. BSNL is already providing the large chunk of network connections in rural areas, with 98 lakh connections. The rural investment is not going to generate profit in the near future. Private players are keeping a distance from the rural connectivity, even with government support.
Sinha also asked BSNL to set a deadline to achieve a 15 per cent market share. As Anupam Srivastava, chairman and managing director of BSNL, said, “data is part of the key strategy for the turnaround. We missed the voice bus, so now our main focus is on data.” In the market, consumer is the king and his loyalty is only to his needs. The response of consumers towards BSNL is not so promising. To improve the market share, and even to maintain it, BSNL needs more investment and employee efficiency. Along with offering the lowest data plans, it has to give its customer relations a professional touch.