A total of 92,300 employees at state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) have opted for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) offered by the central government. While more than half of the employees at BSNL have opted for VRS, close to 80 per cent of those employed at MTNL have chosen the retirement scheme.
At BSNL, 78,569 of the total 1,53,000 employees have opted to retire. Of the 18,000 employees working for MTNL, 14,400 have opted for VRS, reported The Indian Express. Most of the employees of BSNL who have opted for the VRS are learnt to be in the non-executive category and in the age group of 55-60 years. Any employee above 50 years of age was free to opt for the VRS pacakge.
The government brought in the VRS option for employees of the two bleeding telecoms as part of measures to merge the two entities. The VRS plan, which will cost the government Rs 70,000 crore, will significantly bring down the cost of wage bills of these firms. In fact, BSNL claims that its wage bill be reduced as much as 50 per cent post VRS, while it will come down by about 75 per cent for MTNL.
In addition, the move will also free up buildings of the companies and will help in the real estate monetisation plans of both BSNL and MTNL.
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The VRS offer was open from November 4-December 31, 2019. 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.
According to Department of Telecom, the first instalment of the compensation will be paid in the current financial year, while the second instalment will be paid in the next fiscal. The Centre has allocated Rs 37,640 crore for 4G spectrum and implementation of voluntary retirement scheme at BSNL and MTNL in Budget 2020.