'Not planning to reduce retirement age in BSNL, MTNL'

The Logo of BSNL and MTNL. Photo by Wikipedia

The government on Thursday said it is not planning to reduce the retirement age of employees of state-owned telecom firms BSNL and MTNL to 50 years.

"The government is not planning to change the retirement age of BSNL and MTNL employees to 50 instead of the current age of 60," Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

The minister also responded on delay in payment of salary at BSNL and MTNL.

"BSNL has informed that salary to its employees has been paid up to the month of September 2019. MTNL has informed that salary to its employees is paid up to the month of August 2019. The delay in salary payment is due to financial constraints faced by these two companies," Dhotre said.

Recently, BSNL employee unions alleged that the management is threatening employees of reduction in the retirement age to 58 years and far away postings if the employees don't opt for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS).

In a reply to a separate question in the Upper House, Dhotre said the government at present has no proposal under consideration to sell or privatise BSNL and MTNL.

For the revival of both the loss-making firms, the government had last month approved Rs 29,937-crore package, comprising Rs 17,169 crore on account of ex-gratia on VRS and Rs 12,768 crore due to preponement of pensionary benefits spread over a period of 10 years through budgetary allocation for VRS.

"Full cost of the spectrum (excluding goods and services tax) of Rs 14,115 crore for BSNL and of Rs 6,295 crore for MTNL will be funded by the government through equity infusion and subscription to non-cumulative preference shares, respectively. GST component of Rs 3,674 crore on the cost of the spectrum will also be funded through a budgetary allocation from the government," Dhotre said.

The government has also approved sovereign guarantee bonds of Rs 15,000 crore to be raised and serviced by BSNL and MTNL, he said. 

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