The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is facing a severe staff crunch following the voluntary retirement of its staff last year. The Central government as part of its revival plan for the PSUs had announced the ‘BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019’ Close to one lakh employees opted for the retirement. There were also reports that management was coercing the employees to opt for the VRS scheme despite the voluntary nature.
As per the data, 78,569 employees of the 1.53 lakh workforce of the BSNL and 14,400 of the 22,000 BTNL had opted for the scheme. This sudden reduction in manpower is drastically affecting the day to day functioning of the sectors. Regular technical maintenance and even office services are every affected. There are no technicians to even manage the optical fibres and towers. Services such as bill payments are taking several hours. The BSNL has also started to outsource operations and maintenance work of its customer care.
To overcome the challenge, various field and other attached offices of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) have written to the Telecom Ministry, seeking clarification whether the employees who had opted for VRS could be “rehired as consultants”. The Ministry is yet to take a call on the matter. It has said that this matter is presently under examination in DoT HQs (headquarters) and guidelines in this respect would be issued as and when the decision on this matter is taken. It has asked that till then, applications of retirees of BSNL/MTNL under VRS-2019 may not be considered for engagement as consultants. Read: BSNL not to engage those who retired under VRS-2019 as consultants