Tuesday, July 3, 2012


 The telecom department (DoT) will move a Cabinet note to ring in the "permanent deputation" model, which was recently tried out by national broadcaster Prasar Bharati, to stop the exodus of Indian Telecom Service (ITS) officers comprising the senior management of BSNL and MTNL. 

If implemented, all 'Group A' ITS officers opting for permanent deputation will be bound to work in either BSNL or MTNL till retirement but will earn compensation (including pension) in line with central government pay scales, which is higher than PSU pay, executives aware of the development told ET. 

A bulk of the 1800-odd ITS officers, who have more than 10 years of service left, have told DoT they are open to working in BSNL or MTNL till retirement but wish to remain in government service to enjoy the fruit of scheduled pay revisions by the Pay Commission in 2016 and 2026. "Permanent deputation is a possible solution, which has worked in government earlier. 

It has been implemented in Nuclear Power Corporation of India and more recently at Prasar Bharati when Parliament approved the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Amendment Act, 2011, earlier this year, paving the way for central government officers on deemed deputation to continue working in Prasar Bharati till retirement," said a member of the DoT panel which is trying to thrash out a compromise formula to ensure ITS officers to remain in BSNL and MTNL. 

But since BSNL and MTNL were spun off into corporate entities from DoT through Cabinet decisions in 1986 and 2000 respectively, any move to embrace the permanent deputation model will require Cabinet approval. Such a move will also have to be endorsed by all concerned nodal ministries, including the fin ministry and the departments of legal affairs, personnel and training and pensions and pensioners welfare, said the official quoted above. 

Apparently, most ITS officers are averse to absorption in either BSNL or MTNL since both telecom PSUs have been stung by losses and remain cash-strapped since the outbreak of fierce competition in the telecom market and high cost of third generation, or 3G airwaves. 

As a result, they are unsure whether these loss-making telcos will be able to foot their end of the pension cost. More so, since under PSU pay regulations, the government shoulders only 60% of the pension liability of BSNL and MTNL, while the balance 40% hinges on the financial status of these  state-owned telcos. 

However, about 600 ITS officers who have less than 10 years of service left are open to retiring from government service and seeking re-employment in BSNL or MTNL, provided the government fixes a prospective absorption date that protects their pension dues accumulated during their period of deputation in these telcos. (Economic Times)

PS: But employees of DoT may not be aware of the wage discrimination and uncertainty prevailed in Prasar Bharati as half of the employees are granted corporation scales and remaining employees are on deemed deputation without any deputation allowance and deputation scales and drawing only Central government scales.  Prasar Bharati is striving for years to settle the issue. The fate of Prasar Bharati employees is in doldrums in the absence of finalizing recruitment rules and Pay Scales.  

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