Meeting with Secretary, DoT by Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations:
In continuation of the discussion with BSNL Management, Forum leaders held detailed discussions with Secretary(DoT) on the charter of demands on which BSNL employees gone for two days strike on 21st and 22nd April, 2015. CMD/BSNL, Smt Rita A Teaotia/Special Secretary(T), Sri N. K. Yadav/Member(Services), Smt Annie Moreas/Member(Finance), Smt Aruna Sundaraj/USO Administrator, Sri V. Umashankar/Joint Secretary(T), Smt Sujata Ray/ED (Finance), Sri Shameem Akthar/Sr. GM (SR) and Sri Sanjeev Gupta/Director (PSU) were present in the meeting. Sec(T) assured that Govt is committed to support BSNL and at the same time BSNL should improve the services to retain the subscribers. Govt is getting lot of complaints even from MPs and Ministries about the poor services and even they are opposing any assistance to BSNL due to poor quality of services. This problem has to be addressed by BSNL Mgt and employees together, then DoT will be in a better position to extend help to BSNL from various agencies, Secretary told us. The discussion continued for about two hours on various issues. GS attended the meeting on behalf of SNEA(I).
Discussion on various issues:
1. Immediate refund of about Rs 15,000 Crores BSNL money with Govt on following accounts: Forum leaders explained that when an amount of Rs 15,000 Cr BSNL money is with Govt, BSNL is forced to take loan from banks for the capital expenses. If the amount is returned to BSNL, it can easily fund the projects without any loans or interest payment.
a) Refund of balance Rs 4700 Crores on BWA spectrum charges: About Rs 2000 Crores already adjusted. Forum demanded that balance 4700 Cr to be refunded in a single lot so that BSNL can utilise for expansion purposes. Sec/DoT informed that DoT is in constant touch with Finance Ministry to allot more budgetary funds so that maximum repayment can be made to BSNL. Sec/DoT himself spoken to the Secretary in Finance Ministry i9n this regard.
b) Reconciliation of BSNL accounts by DoT for refund of Income Tax. An amount of Rs 7000 Crore is held up in IT Dept. Forum requested to complete the reconciliation of BSNL accounts in a time bound manner so that BSNL get the refund from IT Dept. Sec/DoT informed that a committee has been formed in this regard under Jt Sec(T) and work is already started. Jt Sec further informed that the reconciliation work for two years already completed and the remaining 7 years is targeted to be completed by 31st May, 2015.
c) Excess payment Rs 2400 Cr on pension contribution: Forum explained the issue in details where as BSNL is compelled by Dot/Finance to make the pension contribution to the maximum of the pay scale where as the DoPT order is for actual basic pay. After discussion Sec/DoT assured that the issue is under active consideration of DoT and DoT is in constant touch with DoE to settle the issue in favour of BSNL.
d) USO Fund subsidy for 2012-13, Rs 1250 Cr:
It is informed that it is in advanced stage and the entire amount will be refunded.
e) Refund of salary to the employees deputed to TERM Cell, Rs 400 Cr.
It is informed that DoT is working out the modalities to refund the entire amount.
2. Transfer of Land and Assets to BSNL. It is informed that the work is in progress. More than dot, BSNL has to take a lead in this regard. More than 98% of land and buildings can be transferred without any problem as documents are clear. The mutation work can be expedited.
3. Compensation for loss making Rural services.
Compensation can be made based on the recommendations of agencies like TRAI only. Last recommendation was for 2011-12 and 2012-13 years by that subsidy will end. Otherwise fresh recommendation has to come from TRAI. In order to help BSNL, most of the Govt projects are given to BSNL on nomination basis like defence project, NOFN project, LWE project etc. However, Forum demanded further support from Govt as it is making losses to the tune of Rs 7000 to 8000 Crores per year to maintain Rural telephone network.
4. Merger of BSNL and MTN: Forum demanded that merger should happen only after the settlement of issues like loan of Rs 11,000 Crores taken by MTNL, 44% share of MTNL and HR issues. Sec/DoT assured that if Govt is taking a decision to merge both BSNL and MTNL, these issues will be addressed before that.
5. Govt support for expansion of network. Forum demanded for soft loan to BSNL to fund the expansion of network. Sec/ DoT informed that this demand cannot be considered now as it will affect the level playing field. All operators are taking loan and expanding the network, BSNL also can do the same. Forum further requested for infusion of more Govt equity in BSNL so that it can be utilised for further expansion. Sec/DoT was non-committal on this issue.
6. Filling the posts of Directors of BSNL Board: Sec/DoT informed that DoT is using its whole machinery to expedite the appointment of Directors in BSNL.
7. Automatic pension revision in the future without linking it with pay revision.
Forum demanded that the pension revision should be referred to VII CPC or 3rd PRC with specific terms of reference that it should not be linked with pay revision of the serving employees or the profitability of the company. After discussion it was agreed that it will be referred to 3rd PRC with specific reference of pension revision and delinking pension revision from pay revision.
8. 78.2% IDA merger for the pensioners. Forum expressed strong resentment over the abnormal delay in settlement of the issues. Finally Sec/DoT assured that the issue will be resolved soon and DoT is in touch with DoE also in this regard to finalize the cabinet memo. Forum further requested to expedite the same.
9. 30% superannuation benefit to BSNL directly recruited employees. Secretary(T) told us to discuss the issue with BSNL Management and DoT is nothing to do with this.
The response from Secretary/DoT and other senior officers were positive and they shown keen interest to resolve the issues one by one.