The proposals of telecom PSUs BSNL and MTNL to reduce their workforce by 1.21 lakh by offering voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to staff will cost them over Rs 17,445 crore, the government said today.
“DoT has received from BSNL, a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) aimed at reducing its workforce by one lakh.
Likely expenditure on ex-gratia is estimated to be about Rs 12,371 crore. In addition, there will be expenditure on normal retirement benefits such as gratuity, pension, leave encashment and transfer grant,” Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
MTNL, which offers services in Delhi and Mumbai, has also planned a VRS aimed at reducing its workforce by 21,000 and the estimated expenditure likely to be incurred is about Rs 5,074 crore, he added.
MTNL has estimated that VRS will reduce pressure on MTNL’s wage and salary payout to the tune of Rs 1,130 crore per annum, he said.
“BSNL and MTNL have requested the Department of Telecom (DoT) to finance their VRS and refund the BWA spectrum charges paid by them,” Deora said.
These steps would help in steering these state-run firms, which face stiff competition from private operators, back to profitability.
The companies have approached DoT to surrender their Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum in certain circles and refund of the one-time upfront BWA spectrum charges paid.
While MTNL has asked for refund of Rs 4,533.97 crore (paid for Delhi and Mumbai circles), BSNL has requested for refund of Rs 6,724.51 crore for surrendering spectrum in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, the Minister added.
“The requests of BSNL and MTNL are under examination in the DoT,” Deora said.
Responding to another query, Deora said BSNL and MTNL have 21 mobile towers running on renewable energy sources, while the number for private operators is estimated to be about 4,000.
“The Government has undertaken 20 pilot projects on renewable energy technology and has worked out capital requirement for use of renewable energy technology in telecom sector. No incentive scheme exists for use of renewable energy technology in telecom sector at present,” Deora said.
Capital required for use of renewable energy technologies to power one mobile base terminal station is Rs 10—12 lakh. 104 renewable energy technology powered mobile towers are likely to be operational by October 31, 2012 for BSNL,” he said.