BSNL revival plans better than earlier proposals: Employees’ union

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on October 24, 2019

The Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA), an employees’ union of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), said it welcomes the revival plans for the PSU, which is “much better” than its earlier proposal. However, the union is cautious on the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) announced along with revival package.

Now the ex-gratia would be paid by the Government and not by BSNL, which saves about Rs 14,800 crore and interest to the company. Earlier BSNL had proposed to make the payment through bonds with a sovereign guarantee, SNEA General Secretary Sebastin K told BusinessLine.

Further, an 18 per cent GST totalling to Rs 2,806 crore for 4G spectrum would also be paid by the Government instead of BSNL. The Government’s permission for sovereign bond of Rs 15,000 crore for capex and opex would also be big relief as revival plans have denied setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), he said.

BSNL unions had suggested setting up of an SPV and transferring land holdings to the new firm for monetising land assets.

Also read: BSNL union seeks PM support on land monetisation plan

The proposed merger of BSNL and MTNL will make BSNL a pan-India operator, while delisting MTNL will be a major policy shift.

“Earlier there was a suggestion of giving VRS to employees aged over 50, following which the age of retirement would be reduced to 58. There is no clarity on the VRS plans, and we are awaiting details on this,” Sebastin said.

On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet announced a bailout package that included a merger of BSNL and MTNL, strengthening the finances through sovereign bonds, a VRS package and providing 4G spectrum at administrative rates. The entire package would cost around Rs 70,000 crore.

Also read: Diwali bonanza: BSNL-MTNL to be merged

Published on October 24, 2019

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