During the extraordinary general meeting of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) which was held on Wednesday, 99.89 votes were cast in favour of the issuance of "guaranteed, unsecured, listed, redeemable non-convertible debentures in the nature of bonds (NCDs), in one or more series/tranches, aggregating up to Rs 6,500 crore on private placement basis," MTNL said in a filing to BSE.
The company has received interest from 14,387 employees for the voluntary retirement scheme which Kumar expects will result in annual savings of Rs 1,700 crore for MTNL.
The company would seek shareholders' approval for issue of non-convertible redeemable non-cumulative preference shares (NCRNCPS) on a private placement basis to the government towards payment of 4G spectrum cost.
The PSUs had set December 3 as last date for employees to opt for VRS.
Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a total of 79,000 employees of BSNL and 14,000 out of 20,000 employees of MTNL have applied for the VRS scheme which the government has come out with to reduce the employee cost in these PSUs which is currently very high as compared to the industry.
Nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) out of its total staff strength of about 1.50 lakh. The effective date of voluntary retirement under the present scheme is January 31, 2020.
The package includes infusion of Rs 20,140 crore for purchase of 4G spectrum and Rs 3,674 crore for GST to be paid on spectrum allocation.
BMS general secretary Vrijesh Upadhya was addressing a press conference to announce celebrations beginning November 10 for the birth centenary of Dattopant Thengdi, an economic thinker and founder of the BMS, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Kisan Sangh. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will be the chief guest on the occasion, he said.
The pending payments are against the supply of telecom gear and other goods to BSNL and MTNL as well as Rs 45,000-crore rural broadband project BharatNet
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Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said that BSNL and MTNL get relief from the fund that they will realise from the sovereign guarantee bonds.
GST of Rs 4,000 crore on spectrum will also be adjusted by the government from budgetary provisions.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) had earlier said it forwarded a proposal to the Cabinet, recommending VRS for BSNL and MTNL employees above 50 years of age
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The employees have also planned lunch-hour protests and want to know what the government is doing to revive the two companies.
The government had earlier rejected a Rs 74,000 crore bailout package for BSNL and MTNL.
The direction has come after the finance ministry raised objections to a proposal moved by the telecom department (DoT) for reviving the two PSUs.
It should not be viewed as selling the family silver but for changing the structure of PSUs and improving their efficiency.
Saddled with past claims and HR-related bills from the two cash-strapped firms, DoT has now shot-off letters to the two ailing corporations asking them to withdraw such employees.
The Department of Telecom is examining the claims that have been made by the state-owned corporation, sources said.
The employees are demanding release of salary and pay revision before the government brings in the proposal of a voluntary retirement scheme.
BSNL has 1.76 lakh employees across India while MTNL has around 22,000 employees.
The source, privy to the development, said merger is "one of the many components" of the overall revival plan being worked out for the two corporations, and that a final call on the matter will be taken by the Cabinet.