More than a year after nearly 93,000 officials from state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) opted for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) offered by the Central government, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has reportedly approached the Telecom Ministry, seeking clarification whether the employees can be “rehired as consultants”.
In October 2019, 78,569 BSNL employees out of the 1,53,000 had opted to retire, while at MTNL, as many as 14,400 employees, which then was nearly 80 per cent of the total staff strength at the company, had opted to retire.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha in November 2019, Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Dhotre had said that the government is not planning to change the retirement age of BSNL and MTNL employees to 50 instead of the current age of 60.
Following the retirements, both BSNL and MTNL are reportedly facing operational issues due to a staff crunch. Citing a senior government official, The Indian Express said that the DoT has asked to put all such recruitment of BSNL and MTNL employees who opted for VRS to be put on hold until it examines the matter.
“This matter is presently under examination in DoT HQs (headquarters) and guidelines in this respect would be issued as and when the decision on this matter is taken. Till then, applications of retirees of BSNL/MTNL under VRS-2019 may not be considered for engagement as consultants," an official communication of the DoT said.