Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the government would take every possible step to revive debt-laden telecom operator BSNL Ltd. The government in October had announced a revival package that included the merger of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) with BSNL. Until the proposed merger, MTNL will operate as a subsidiary of BSNL. Besides the merger, the revival package also included raising sovereign bonds worth ₹15,000 crore, monetizing assets amounting to ₹38,000 crore, and a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for employees.
BSNL employs 1.76 lakh people across the county, while MTNL has around 22,000 employees. The employee cost of BSNL and MTNL is 75% and 87% of their total income respectively. Over 77,000 employees of BSNL have so far opted for VRS, according to a PTI report, of the total 1 lakh eligible for the scheme. The effective date of voluntary retirement under the present scheme is 31 January 2020.
According to the plan, all regular and permanent employees of BSNL, including those deputed in other organizations, posted outside the corporation on deputation basis, above the age of 50, or above are eligible to seek voluntary retirement under the scheme.