A meeting of the General secretaries and representatives of Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) held today (24.11.2021) with the officials of the Dept of Telecom at Sanchar Bhawan, New Delhi on call of the DoT, where Sr GM(SR) Smt Anita Johri also participated from the BSNL side. The department of Telecom side was lead by the DDG (PM), who is also in charge of the JS(Admin) with DDG (PSU) and other officials. The AUAB was represented by General Secretaries of Associations and Unions in which AIGETOA was represented through General Secretary, Shri Wasi Ahmad. The meeting of Associations and Unions with the DoT officials held after a long time due to Covid Pandemic. The meeting deliberated on all agenda points submitted by AUAB including 4G roll out, 3rd PRC, Standard Pay Scale of E2-E3 and SAB to BSNL Recruits.
In the meeting, it was apprised that indigenous 4G Technology is the rout to be deployed in BSNL and government is ready to extend all possible support. The PoC with Indian Core through the consortium of TCS, C-Dot and Tejas has already been deployed and testing is going on in advance stage and it is expected to be completed by 31st Dec, 2021. The commercial supply and actual roll out of 4G in BSNL through the indigenous technology may start by July-August, 2022.
It was apprised that BSNL is unable to improve its financial health due to non availability of the most important services of the 4G, which is resulting in serious stagnant cash inflow and no major investment in CAPEX in aging network resulting in serious constraint in expansion of various services and finally the employees are the end sufferer in all terms. The debt on BSNL is also standing rock high and not settling in the absence of much talked Land Monetization and the payable by the DoT is also unaddressed. Similarly, other pending dues and support from the government as assured at the time of Revival Package. The employees are paying the price for the government policies.
It was apprised to us that the government is fully aware of the situation and committed to extend all due supports to BSNL, which is supporting country’s First Indigenous 4G deployment and so the government will very soon come up with a very good package for BSNL to sustain in the market. There were various items deliberated in the meeting including CAPEX of the 4G, Supported Transmission Network, Spectrum for 2G, AGR dues of BSNL, PS redemption etc. A decision in this regard is expected within December, 2021 itself, which will be helpful to BSNL. Further. The land monetization process has been started, which will pave the way to expedite it.
Discussion on 3rd PRC and Wage Revision also held but no assurance could be achieved in that direction and further dialogue will continue.
The issue of approval of standard scale of E2 for E1A for JAO/JTO equivalent and E3 for E2A for AO/SDE equivalent executives have still not been approved by the DoT as per the proposal sent by the BSNL on 06.06.2016 after its approval by the Management Committee of BSNL Board. Is a residual due of the 2nd PRC and resulting in the huge loss and demotivation to the initial grades of the executives? It was apprised that the PO released by DoT on 28.03.2017 was not implemented in BSNL on the ground that it was violating the DPE guidelines and degrading the scale of the executives. Hence it was requested to approve these two pending scales by the DoT at the earliest as 3rd PRC discussion is already going on, whereas our due of 2nd PRC are pending.
Thereafter the issue of Superannuation Benefit Fund (SAB) was raised to the DDG (PM) and apprised that against the 30% of SAB value, the BSNL recruited employees (executives as well as non executives) are getting just 21.8% (EPF-12%, Gratuity-4.5% & SAB Pension Fund-5%), which is a shortfall of 8.2%. Further it was started very late i.e. 3% wef 04.05.2016 and then 5% wef 01.04.2017. Whereas it was directed by the government at the time of formation of BSNL to make a mechanism of Pension for the employees being recruited by BSNL also as the employees absorbed from the DoT was protected Govt Pension through Rule 37A.
On these two issues of standard scale of E2-E3 and SAB enhancement, AIGETOA also submitted detail presentation and supporting documents to the DDG(PM) for consideration. The DDG(PM) was kind enough to deliberate it and further agreed to provide time to discuss on these two issues separately with the Recognized Association, AIGETOA. It will definably pave the way to start these two old issues, which is residual due of the 2nd PRC before implantation of 3rd PRC.
The meeting lasted for about One and half hours in a very positive atmosphere and started the dialogue process once again with the DoT. Although, no concrete could come out in the meeting but it has started the ball rolling once again for the various issues of the BSNL Sustainability as well as Employees matters.
Thereafter, GS AIGETOA requested for a separate meeting with the DDG(PSU) Shri Ravindra Prasad ji in his chamber to apprise the E2-E3 Scale issue, which he agrees and we discussed for about an hour on the issue and its journey from beginning till date. He is the officer dealing the subject from the DoT side. The meeting was very fruitful and further dialogue will continue with more submissions on the issue.