No plans to shut down or sell BSNL: Prasad

No plans to shut down or sell BSNL: Prasad

Agency News

New Delhi, Mar 18 : The Government has no plans to shut down or sell BSNL to private players, Union Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

He was replying to a question by RSP member NSP Premachandran during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha that the government had brought a revival package for BSNL last year and out of 1,55,296 BSNL employees, 78,569 employees had opted for voluntary retirement scheme till October 1, 2019. Responding to supplementaries on salary delay to the BSNL staff, the Minister said salaries of the contractual employees falls under the purview of contractors.

He said the Central Government is very serious about Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and it is necessary to have public sector sub-sectors in the field of telecommunications and that is why the government revival package has been brought in for them. "Existence of a public sector undertaking like BSNL is important both for public service and also fairness in the entire system of communication. BSNL had suffered bad times but in 2014-15, 2015-16 it became a bit positive," the minister said.

On the issue of non-payment of salary to the BSNL employees working on regular and contract basis, he said the regular employees of BSNL have been paid till February and for employees working on contract basis, then the salary is the responsibility of the contractor and funds are being released for this. He clarified that VRS will be given to regular BSNL employees only. The scheme was launched on November 4 and closed on December 3, 2019. When a Member pointed out that BSNL was not overstaffed and asked what was the government's stand, Mr Prasad said the government's position was that the view that all those who took VRS, their posts will be abolished, is wrong.

These posts have to be filled in three months. On Dayanidhi Maran, DMK, stating that employees' strength has reduced by 33 per cent and wanting to know how many of its subscribers had moved to private operators, Mr Prasad said he did not want to go into the legacy of BSNL. (UNI)