DoT has instructed BSNL to ensure business continuity and smooth transition in the wake of receiving overwhelming response for its Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) plan that will cut BSNL’s staff by almost half, PTI reported.
India’s Department of Telecommunications is considering that the matter requires urgent focus, and meetings are on to find a solution to ensure there is no impact on day-to-day operations of exchanges and other business, once the VRS plan concludes.
57,000 BSNL employees opted for VRS on Friday evening, four days after the VRS plan was rolled out. Nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the VRS out of its total staff strength of about 1.50 lakh.
BSNL’s internal target for VRS is pegged at 77,000 employees, which essentially means that if the VRS reaches full target, the staff strength will come down by half. The effective date of voluntary retirement under the present scheme is January 31, 2020.
BSNL chairman and MD P K Purwar said that the telecom operator is planning business re-engineering and business continuity.
“We have to work meticulously because we have started taking the data, which SSA, which unit, how many people are taking VRS. We will still be left with about 80,000 people. So, the numbers are not less…but it will be almost half. The work culture will also have to change,” Purwar said.
BSNL may be considering the hiring of the personnel opting for VRS of as consultants in order to ensure business continuity. The other options include tendering or outsourcing some of the work or roping in retired officers of the telecom department who are already familiar with the tasks.
DoT source said that outsourcing certain operations will require time, including transition period of 2-3 months after finalisation of tender, and given that the VRS will come into effect from January, a solution will have to be arrived at soon.
BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme – 2019 that was rolled out last week will remain open till December 3. BSNL is looking at savings of about Rs 7,000 crore in wage bill, if 70,000-80,000 personnel opt for the scheme.
According to the scheme all regular and permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organisations or posted outside the corporation on deputation basis, who attended the age of 50 years or above are eligible to seek voluntary retirement under 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.