The government on Sunday said it has already prepared a comprehensive proposal for revival of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), even as the state-run telecom firm’s annual loss widened to Rs7,992 crore in the fiscal year ended March 2018.
Ahead of planned strike by BSNL employees, the government also on Sunday assured BSNL management and representatives of the unions and associations of BSNL that it would support their reasonable demands.
The All India Unions and Associations of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (AUAB) had given a call for a 3-day strike starting on Monday.
The Department of Telecommunications and BSNL management have been engaged in discussions with representatives of AUAB on ways to address the various demands raised by the unions and associations. DoT has been steadfast in its emphasis that it recognized the inherent strength and strategic position of BSNL in the telecom sector in the country and that it will continue to make all efforts to make BSNL robust and financially viable.
The main demands of AUAB include benefits to executives under the 3rd Pay Revision Committee (PRC) with 15 per cent fitment and to non-executives as per the 8th wage negotiations effective 1 January 2017, allotment of 4G spectrum to BSNL, revision of pension for BSNL retirees and delinking of pension from pay revision for PRC implementation, and deduction of payment of pension contribution by BSNL on actual basic pay instead of on the highest level of the pay scale.
DoT reiterated that pursuant to the decision taken in Digital Communications Commission (DCC) meeting held on 5 February, the issue of spectrum allotment for providing 4G services to BSNL is being referred to TRAI to recommend on the issue of administrative allocation, quantum, price and appropriate frequency band. Further action will be taken on receipt of the regulator’s recommendation, it added.
Meanwhile, an institutional mechanism in the form of a coordination committee comprising senior officers of the DoT, BSNL management, and representatives of AUAB has been set up. Representatives of AUAB have also held meetings with the additional secretary (Telecom), in which they have been duly apprised of the progress being made in relation to their demands. BSNL management has issued appeals to its employees not to resort to any agitation program at this critical juncture – when the organization is engaged in sincere and serious efforts to protect and enhance its’ market-share, and when any disruption in services can only adversely impact the interests of BSNL and its’ customers, employees and other stakeholders.
It may be noted that BSNL and private player Join have together added more than 10.8 million new mobile phone customers, while rivals such as Vodafone Idea, Bhatia Arielle and Tata Teleservices lost more than 10.1 million customers, according to the data released by telecom regulator in January this year. – Domain B