GS AIGETOA Shri Ravi Shil Verma and Dy GS AIGETOA Shri Pavan Akhand, along with Shri Pawan Kumar Ji Organizing Secretary (Northern Zone), BMS met Hon’ble MoC Shri Ashwini Vaishnav Ji in the presence of Hon’ble MP and State President Haryana BJP Shri Nayab Singh Saini ji on 8th December 2023. The meeting was held in the new parliament building in the office of Hon’ble MoC who was gracious enough to spare his time despite the session going on. Hon’ble MoC also acknowledged the telephonic discussions held with GS BMS Shri Ravindra Himte Ji and Organizing Secretary BMS Shri B Surendran Ji. He also acknowledged that he is aware of the earlier discussions held with AIGETOA and he has directed DoT to examine the submissions of the association. He told that due to busy schedule, the meeting with our team could not be held earlier. However, he assured that more meetings shall be held with the association herein onwards with a view to resolve various concerns raised by AIGETOA, BTEU and BDPS. We submitted the memorandum on behalf of AIGETOA and issue by issue discussion was held.
The issue wise details of the meeting is as stated below:
Residual issues of 2nd PRC related to implementation of Standard Pay Scales of E2 and E3 for the initial two levels of executive grade, implementation of 30% Superannuation Benefit to BSNL Recruited Executives and Issue of Pay Loss pertaining to executives recruited/promoted post 1.1.2007 including that of extending the initial basic of 22820 and JE Period Pay Loss:
General Secretary explained the details of the issues and the continued discrimination which has been meted out to the BSNL Recruited Employees with regard to the implementation of Pay Scales and 30 Percent SAB. The issues pertaining to Pay Losses of various executives recruited/promoted after 1.1.2007 was also explained. General Secretary informed MoC that all recommendations of 2nd PRC was implemented by BSNL including complete 30 percent fitment but when it came to implementing the benefits pertaining to the BSNL Recruits, things were mercilessly dragged till the issue was completely killed by BSNL as well as DoT. Hon’ble MoC told that he has enquired about the issue of Pay Scales from concerned officials in DOT and he has been informed that DoT has taken action as per the prevalent guidelines and has the concurrence of DPE. General Secretary AIGETOA explained to Hon’ble Minister that DPE has given its opinion only on the scales defined by them and not on the process of implementation by DoT/BSNL. General Secretary also told that the contention of DoT that pre-Revised E1A and E2A scales were only for DOT absorbed executives was a wrong notion taken by DoT as the Presidential orders issued by DoT for notification of E1 and E2A scales doesn’t has any such demarcation.
General Secretary further told that there was no affordability issue at the time of implementation of 2nd PRC and BSNL was in profit and now taking the shelter of non-affordability by virtue of BSNL being in loss making PSU should not be a reason to stop the implementation of residual issues of 2nd PRC pertaining to the BSNL Recruited Employees. General Secretary also informed Hon’ble MoC that same holds true for the implementation of full 30 percent SAB which is being denied by BSNL on the ground of being in loss. Full 30% SAB contribution must be extended to BSNL Recruits, as all other benefits of 2nd PRC was fully implemented without any botheration of financial losses. Hence, the current loss of BSNL should not be a reason for denial of benefits pertaining to the past.
We also submitted that BSNL is only PSU which is having three set of Basic Pay for entry level executives i.e. E1, E1 plus 5 Increments and 22820. This situation has resulted into almost all the youngsters of BSNL with heavy losses in their pay compared to their pay in case BSNL would not have implemented the 2nd PRC. We informed that while other PSUs resolved this anomaly by upgrading their entry level pay scales, BSNL acted to the contrary by trying to degrade the scales. We explained that the basic purpose of any Pay Revision for the period for which the Pay Revision is implemented i.e. minimum period of 10 years and that any executive either recruited post implementation or before the implementation of the PRC Benefits should not become subject of pay loss at any period of time when the PRC implementation is in force. Hence, BSNL must be directed to resolve various pay loss issues pertaining to the young executives recruited/promoted after 1.1.2007. Hon’ble Minister assured that he will definitely look into the matter and will direct the concerned authorities to re-examine the whole issue with a holistic consideration in light of the facts and documents submitted by AIGETOA. With our consistent persuasion and with continued support of all executives, we can definitely expect a positive breakthrough in regard to the residual issues of 2nd PRC.
Implementation of 3rd PRC in BSNL:
We highlighted that BSNL as national telecom carrier has been involved in fulfilling the social responsibilities towards the nation and its people by extending the services even in non-viable and non-profitable areas where no other private operator lends its service. BSNL and its employees have been doing their job dedicatedly which has been one of the major contributors in bridging the technology gap between rural and urban India. We also told that while BSNL has made a substantial progress in developing the Swadeshi 4G but still the same has not reached finality. Due to such factors, BSNL has been not able to increase its revenue beyond a point and employees do not have any role in this aspect as the level playing field is not available for BSNL to compete with private operators. Due to continuous denial of 3rd PRC benefits to the employees of BSNL, now the employees are also loosing their patience and are feeling demotivated. Even the Junior employees who didn’t opted for BSNL and remained in DoT are getting higher pay than their BSNL Counterparts who are basically being denied the benefits just because they accepted the proposal of the absorption. We told that just because an employee obeyed the orders of government, he or she should not be penalized. We further said that BSNL employees have been whole heartedly supporting the initiatives of government and will firmly stand for implementation of these objectives but at the same time, they must be extended minimum motivation in terms of implementation of 3rd PRC, so that they can contribute further also with whole hearted zeal and enthusiasm. Hon’ble Minister assured us that he is aware of the situation and assured that he will take all efforts to ensure that 3rd PRC in BSNL is implemented soon in BSNL. He advised us to continue working for the implementation of the revival measures and leave the rest to government. Hopefully the happy day can be expected in coming months with respect to 3rd PRC, if things go in line with the thought about scenario for BSNL.
Extending the promotional avenues for BSNL Executives:
General Secretary AIGETOA firmly and precisely explained the ongoing scenario of career progression in BSNL especially the ordeal being faced by the BSNL Recruits in terms of the snail-paced career progression extended to the professionally and technically qualified executives of BSNL. We informed Hon’ble MoC that situation is so critical that all these executives have been extended only one promotion in their entire career ranging from 10 to 22 years. We also expressed that we do understand that all executives cannot occupy the higher level posts but at least they should be given opportunity to aspire for the higher level posts by taking them to the foundation stone of the management services i.e. AGM grade with sufficient age profile on their side. Hon’ble Minister was surprised on knowing that even sufficient AGM level posts are not available for such talented work force of BSNL. He said that he has directed BSNL to implement a policy where each and every executive must be given opportunity to aspire for higher level posts. General Secretary told Hon’ble MoC that without taking each and every executive to the basic post in management hierarchy i.e. AGM/CAO grade, any type of policy will be of no use as professionalism and competence can be identified only if all are eligible to compete and aspire for the higher posts with sufficient age profile on their side.
General Secretary also apprised Hon’ble Minister that in BSNL competitive qualified candidates have been made junior and have been denied promotional opportunities by one-sided interpretation of Hon’ble Supreme Court orders which could have been done either way and perhaps BSNL may be the only organization which has not defended its own RRs and Seniority Lists. We also expressed that such is the state of the affairs in BSNL that they revert the competitive qualified candidates in the organization after serving in the grade for 10 to 16 years. We also told that those who topped the competitive exam have been placed in the Junior most list. Hon’ble Minister understood the depth of the issue and asked that what is the demand of the association in this regard. We explained that since things done in the past can not be undone now, extending the justice at least now is the only solution. We highlighted that justice can be extended only by considering all at par and extending the next promotions to all the eligible executives in the grade to the next grade. Hon’ble MoC enquired about the number of eligible candidates. General Secretary submitted the information of the eligible JTOs/SDEs/AGMs/JAOs/AOs/CAOs in the grade who have completed their residency period and are eligible to be promoted to the next grade of SDEs/AGMs/DGMs/AOs/CAOs/DGMs and also explained how BSNL can achieve the same. It will be pertinent to mention that we made our submissions with complete set of supporting documents including the opinion of the Retired Justice of Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Hon’ble MoC told us to not to worry and also told that promotion is definitely a key motivating factor which doesn’t involve any expenditure either and hence the minimum career aspirations must be fulfilled by BSNL for each and every executive. Hon’ble Minister firmly assured that he will direct BSNL Management to take necessary action to ensure the much-awaited promotion for the eligible candidates and will also ask management to discuss the proposed methodology suggested by AIGETOA. He also firmly told that he is determined to create a path for executives of BSNL to reach to the highest level including that of CGMs and above. We expressed our thankfulness to the kind and positive gesture shown by the Hon’ble Minister to ensure the much-awaited promotions for the executives of BSNL.
Pension Revision of BSNL/MTNL Pensioners, at par with Central Government Pensioners:
We requested for an expeditious action on the issue which has been pending for long. We also requested for directing the DoT for implementation of Hon’ble PBCAT judgement Dated 20/09/2023 for pension revision.
Discussion on issue of takeover of ALTTC by DoT:
We explained the prevailing unrest amongst the minds of BSNL employees due to unilateral taking over of assets of BSNL by DoT. We said that this is resulting into huge negativity and demotivation as each and every employee is fearful that DoT is taking over the assets of BSNL on their own wish and fancies. We said that such type of actions is in contravention to the efforts of government to revive BSNL and is basically creating a bad image despite the best efforts of government to support BSNL. Hon’ble MoC was quite categorical in his statement that the motive of government is only to create a world class Telecom Training Facility at ALTTC Centre and there is no such intention to take over the assets of BSNL. We said that improving the infrastructure to develop ALTTC into a world class Training Centre facility is definitely a good thought but the same should not be done by taking over the assets and harming the interests of BSNL. Hon’ble Minister assured us that BSNL interests will not be harmed and the assets shall remain within BSNL control only. We suggested that ALTTC and NTIPRIT has been co-existing for years and hence the mechanism to convert it into world class facility is possible through a MoU also. We requested and firmly submitted to Hon’ble Minister that this whole process needs a revisit and discussion should be held with all stake holders to ensure that this asset as well as any other asset is not taken away from BSNL.
Revision in TA/DA and other allowances at par with current market conditions:
We also submitted the inputs with respect to revision of TA/DA/Allowances at par with current market rates and informed that AGM/CAO and below level executives and non-executives are being made to work at 2002 rates which is resulting into extreme difficulties for the executing their responsibilities. We requested Hon’ble Minister to ask BSNL to take this matter seriously which basically is making employees reluctant to perform outstation duties as they have to spend huge sum of money from their own pockets while performing the duties assigned to them. We also highlighted that employees are being asked to mark attendance through Apps, take Directions through Whatsapp, uploading of the reports through mobile etc. such that the job profile of the employee is requiring the involvement of a Smart Phone with optimum features. However, management is paying a minuscule amount in the name of mobile reimbursement by which even a basic feature phone cannot be purchased. We requested for directing management to take care of such genuine requirements of the employees. It was assured to look into the same.
Exercising option for Old Pension Scheme and most humble request to grant one time option to be covered under the CCS (Pension) rules 1972 for the employees whose recruitment process was initiated by DoT before formation of BSNL:
We requested for the kind intervention of Hon’ble MoC in ensuring the extension of the one-time option to be covered under CCS Pension rules. We submitted to Hon’ble MoC that there are many employees in BSNL whose recruitment process was initiated/notified during DoT period and all such employees should have been absorbed in BSNL through a presidential notification instead of making them a BSNL recruit. We have highlighted that all such employees are entitled to be covered under CCS (Pension) rules and hence DoT must be asked to take the matter into cognizance to ensure that these employees are extended the option of pension under CCS rules. Matter shall be further examined by DoT with respect to our submissions in this regard.
Extending the facilities for person with disabilities (PwBDs) which is defined under RPwD act 2016 or instructions given by DOPT time to time by BSNL in its true spirit:
We submitted that directions with regard to the facilities extended to PWD employees are not being implemented in BSNL in a proper manner. We requested for his kind intervention in directing BSNL to examine the whole matter holistically and implement the provisions in totality. The matter shall be examined in light of the submissions made by association.
Submission of agenda points shortlisted by the Bhartiya Doorsanchar Manch (BDM):
GS AIGETOA also submitted the agenda points on behalf of Bhartiya Doorsanchar Manch and requested for his kind blessings on the points pertaining to welfare of various employees. We said that these points are not demands but are basically the rights of each and every employee and expressed the firm resolve of BDM to resolve the issues mentioned in the agenda and requested for kind intervention of Hon’ble MoC for its resolution.
Hon’ble Minister heard our submissions patiently and understood the points raised by us. The meeting lasted for almost one hour wherein the discussion on issues pertaining to BSNL viability, Pay Promotions and Pension issues of BSNL employees including the issue of 3rd PRC as submitted in the memorandum was held in detail. Discussion on issue of takeover of ALTTC was also held. The most pleasant thing and highlight of the meeting was that Hon’ble MoC was aware of the stand taken by DoT, BSNL and association on each issue which is clearly indicative of his concern & commitment towards uplifting BSNL and resolving the issues pertaining to its employees. Hon’ble Minister has immediately marked our submissions to DoT and directed his secretariat to arrange regular agenda-based meetings as a follow up to ensure that all the issues takes its logical conclusion through detailed discussions and interactions. We are expecting another detailed meeting on the agenda submitted very soon.
Friends, AIGETOA, BTEU and its alliance partners have been sincerely working on all the issues of importance for the executives, non-executives and retired employees. We request all the employees of BSNL to firmly strengthen our hands so that all issues of paramount importance can be firmly addressed and resolved. Our Umbrella Organization BMS has taken up the issues of BSNL employees with utmost sincerity and we are very sure that with their continued support and blessings, we will be able to resolve all the issues.