Do what is expected of you or pack up, Telecom Minister Vaishnaw’s ultimatum to BSNL employees – Economic Times

The employees of the struggling telecom PSU BSNL received a stern message from telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw who asked them to shed their ‘sarkaari’ attitude as those who are not performing as per expectations will be forced to compulsorily retire and sent home packing.

TOI reported that the minister said MTNL has ‘no future’. “MTNL does not have a future. We can’t do much there. We all know the constraints of

and what problems it faces. We will do a different exercise for that, and determine what should be the next steps,” he said.

Vaishnaw reportedly warned the 62,000-strong workforce of BSNL that there should be no doubts regarding the ultimatum issued. In a meeting with the senior management of the struggling telecom PSU, Vaishnaw – who just spearheaded a massive Rs 1.64 lakh crore revival package for BSNL — said, “You have to do what is expected of you. Otherwise, pack up. You should not have any doubt on this. This will be the norm, and this will be the new normal – perform or perish,” TOI reported.

The government recently approved a Rs 1.64 lakh crore revival package for BSNL, comprising of converting dues into equity, financial support and allocation of spectrum in a bid to turn around the loss-making telecom PSU.

Sources say the Minister has asked the staff to be fiercely competitive now, especially as they have to fight top private sector companies such as Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel for customers.

The Minister said, “People who do not work are free to take VRS and go home. If they show resistance in taking VRS, we will use 56J (a Rule used to order premature retirement)… So, you have to perform the best, or be ready to pack up and go home. That’s absolutely clear. Don’t have any doubts about this in your mind.”

The Minister said that apart from managing operations inefficiently, the staff of BSNL have also failed to provide a clean and hygienic environment at the telephone exchanges and their offices. Giving an example of the dirt and filth that he faced at a BSNL exchange in Jharsuguda, he said, “Chullu bhar pani main doobne kaa mann kare, itni gandagee thhee. (I was ashamed to see the filth over there). It was so dirty, and in bad condition.”

The Minister said that such poor maintenance will not be tolerated, and heads will roll.

“The top leadership will be chopped off. I am being very clear. The top leadership will have to go home. People working there and the supervisors over them are also responsible. I am being very clear.”

The Minister said that having taken a “risk” of awarding yet another mega bailout for BSNL, he would now be monitoring the performance of the company’s staff on a monthly basis. “Whatever issues were there, we solidly stood behind BSNL. And now we are asking for the same level of commitment from each and every one of the 62,000 employees. I will measure the KPIs, the performance, the result, every month.”

The steps taken by the ministry are in-line with expectations of government not allowing a duopoly in the telecom sector. To that effect, the Centre has announced measures to strengthen the telecom sector in the country.

“Duopoly will not happen, the September reforms have resulted in good stability in the industry, we are looking at new players to enter the segment, and there is going to be good healthy competition in the sector. BSNL will emerge as a good market balancer,” he had said last week.

The 5G auction is doing well, which shows that the industry is taking off, and the results are very good. Close to Rs 1.49 lakh crore has been committed by the industry for buying spectrum, this shows how the sector is maturing, he added.

The minister also stated that the government is planning to change the entire legal structure that will enable the telecom industry to grow seamlessly.

“We have to make a modern law so that countries the world over emulate our legal structure as a global benchmark, since this is a global industry, not an isolated industry,” he said.

(
With TOI and agency inputs)

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