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BSNL VRS scheme closed with 78,000 staff on roll: CMD

A total of 78,000 employees at state-run BSNL have availed the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), BSNL CMD PK Purwar told PSU Watch
New Delhi: A total of 78,000 employees at state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) have availed the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), BSNL CMD PK Purwar told PSU Watch as the scheme closed on Tuesday. The VRS scheme was offered to employees aged 50 and above as part of a multi-pronged plan to revive BSNL. The figure is in line with what the management was expecting. Purwar had earlier said that BSNL is expecting 70,000-80,000 employees to avail the VRS scheme.

BSNL VRS plan

The total strength of the workforce at BSNL is 1.5 lakh. The VRS was open to employees who have attained the age of 50 years or above. Out of BSNL’s total workforce, at least 1 lakh employees are eligible for availing the benefit. The scheme closed on Tuesday. The amount of ex-gratia offered by the management to the employees is equal to 35 days’ salary for every completed year of service and 25 days’ salary for every year of service left until retirement.

‘BSNL to start rolling out 4G services by July’

One of the biggest demands made by employees at the time the government was considering disinvestment of BSNL was the allocation of 4G spectrum to the telecom service provider. Commenting on the matter, Purwar said, “We are expecting the government to allocate 4G spectrum to BSNL by the end of this financial year.” He added that the state-run telecom provider is likely to start rolling out 4G services in the next seven-eight months from now.

The backdrop

The government announced the revival of cash-strapped BSNL and MTNL last month. The Union Cabinet gave its nod to the plan for the two cash-strapped companies that included the merger of BSNL and MTNL, raising sovereign bonds, monetising assets and voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for employees. According to the revival package, after the merger, MTNL will be a subsidiary of BSNL.