Millennium Post

Paying salaries to BSNL employees govt's priority: Dhotre

New Delhi: The government's priority is to pay the outstanding salaries of BSNL employees and contract workers once the condition of the debt-laden firm improves, Union minister

Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The state-owned telecom company is in loss since 2010 and has a debt of around Rs 20,000 crore.

"Our priority is to give salaries to the employees. The entire House knows BSNL's condition. A revival package has been given by the government for BSNL and MTNL and once the situation improves our priority will be to pay salaries," the Minister of State for Communications said during the Question Hour.

Replying to another query, he said the government's priority once the funds are arranged will be to pay the contract workers engaged with BSNL.

In a written reply, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said due to poor financial condition of BSNL, it has not been possible for the government to agree to the demand of pay revision of its retired employees. Hence, the issue of pension revision has not been agreed to as on date, he added.

Prasad said the pension revision of retired BSNL employees gets linked to the pay-revision of the serving employees in as much as pension is calculated on the basic pay which the retired employee was earning at the time of retirement.

Pension may be revised if the said basic pay is revised on account of pay revision of serving employees.

Dhotre informed the Upper House that 78,000 BSNL employees and 13,500 MTNL employees have opted for VRS and the government will finalise it before January 31.

Nearly 1 lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) out of its total staff strength of about 1.50 lakh. The effective date of voluntary retirement under the present scheme is January 31, 2020.

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