Largest mass retirement in India: Half at BSNL, 80% at MTNL opt for VRS

telcos, economy, banks
The Centre has made the offer to the employees in a bid to restructure the loss-laden telecom companies of BSNL, MTNL. Photo: iStock

Nearly 93,000 staffers of state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) have opted for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) offered by the central government.

This is the largest mass retirement of employees in the country, reports Indian Express.

The move comes as part of the government’s initiative to restructure the loss-laden companies. It will also substantially reduce the wage bills of these utilities and free up real estate that has a potential for monetisation in the future.

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Significantly, of the 1,53,000 employees working for BSNL when the VRS scheme was approved in October 2019, over half — 78,569 employees — have opted to retire.

At MTNL, which had an employee strength of over 18,000, nearly 80% — 14,400 employees — have opted for the VRS. 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, officials said.

Related news: Why Centre’s bid to resuscitate ailing BSNL, MTNL may go in vain

For the employees at both the state-run telecom companies, the VRS was opened for a month starting November 4. The last date for employees who had opted for the VRS at both the telcos was January 31. Any employee, aged 50 or above, at both these state-run firms was eligible to opt for the scheme.

What is the deal?

The lump sum compensation or ex-gratia payment to be given to employees of BSNL and MTNL has been fixed at 35 days of salary for each year in service and 25 days of salary for each year left until retirement. The first instalment of the compensation, which would be 50% of the total payment, would be paid this financial year while the second instalment is likely to be disbursed in the next financial year starting April, DoT officials said. To meet the VRS payment obligations as well as for capital infusion to revive the company, the government has allotted Rs 37,268 crore in the budget for 2020-21.

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