State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd will reduce its workforce by nearly 7% in 2017-18, from the employee-base of 2,09,996 in 2016-17.
BSNL expects total employees as on April 30, 2017, to be 1,96,162, the state-driven telco said in response to an application filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The workforce phase out is part of employees attaining retirement age, which according to the service provider would eventually help in bringing it back into the black in the following year.
"Nearly 10% staff goes off the rolls every year as they achieve retirement. We are not filling up new positions and it could eventually help us in increasing operational profit," BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava had earlier told ET. Backed by steady reduction in staff costs, land monetization scheme, tower and spectrum assets sharing, the PSU aims to turn into a profit-making business by 2018-19, according to the top executive.
The VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) proposal aimed at bringing down headcount is however on hold, according to Shrivastava.
Of the 22 telecom circles, Andhra Pradesh has the highest number of 22,000 PSU employees.
BSNL, when compared to private sector competitors, has a mammoth outgo of more than 50% of its annual revenue towards meeting salary expenses of its staff. In 2015-16, the telecom company spent nearly Rs 15,000 crore in salary disbursements.
Rival companies including Sunil Mittal's Bharti Airtel, Aditya Birla group's Idea Cellular and UK-based Vodafone India unit spend a mere 5% to 6% on staff salaries.
Market leader Bharti Airtel has around 20,000 employees across India while the country's second-largest telco Vodafone India has an employee base of little over 13,000.
BSNL posted an Rs 8,234 crore loss in 2014-15, highest among all public-sector companies for that year, followed by Air India's Rs 5,860 crore loss.
Source:-The Times of India