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Sick BSNL salary bills keep rising

New Delhi, May 7 (): BSNL salary bills have shot up to Rs 13,406 crore which is half of the ailing state owned telecom’s revenues. Out of this Rs 5000 crore is salaries to one lakh employees who are in excess. In 2007-08 the salary bill of BSNL was only Rs 8,809 crore accounting for 23% of its revenues. A Parliamentary panel report has said that BSNL revenues dropped to Rs 27,934 crore in 2011-12 while the salary bills rose to 50% and when it had a revenue of 38,053 crore in 2007-08, it‘s salary bill was only 23% of the revenue.

The Parliamentary Committee on Public Undertakings noted in its report that in private sector salary expenditure is stated to be in the range of 5-10 %. The Sam Pitroda Committee constituted to suggest reforms to revive the ailing BSNL recommended the government to offer a voluntary retirement scheme and transfer around one lakh employees who are in excess for improving the finance of the PSU. The Union Government would have to arrange for Rs 18,000 crore to pay the VRS.

A parliamentary committee was told by BSNL CMD that it is up to the Government to decide on the issue of giving VRS and he also agreed that one has to reduce the staff to improve the finance of the PSU. The committee noted that a large number of employees is not skilled to manage mobile and broadband services and was trained to handle landline connections for which BSNL was once known for. The landline legacy has left BSNL with a huge staff while private player’s latest technology needed only less staff.

The employee strength of BSNL on March 31, 2012 was 2.58 lakh while it was 3.97 lakh in 2000 when it was created. About 841 executives out of a total strength of about 56,000 have taken VRS, while 27 have resigned in the last five years. Of private telecom companies attrition rate was 20% while in BSNL it was about 0.32 %. BSNL was in 2008 a profit making company with a net profit of Rs3009 crore and in last fiscal it had a loss of Rs8850 crore.