New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today approved 9 percent increase in pension of 1.88 lakh BSNL employees who retired between 2007-13.
The revision entails an estimated recurring annual expenditure of Rs 129.63 crore for pensioners and Rs 24.93 crore for family pensioners and arrears from 2013-14 would be Rs 239.92 crore for pensioners and Rs 44.62 crore for family pensioners, an official statement said.
"Today we have taken a big decision with respect to pensioners of BSNL. When BSNL was formed as a new entity, salary of employees was given by BSNL but obligation of pension was on the government," Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
The decision will impact higher pension for 1,88,500 BSNL employees who retired between 2007-13. BSNL employees were earlier given salary and 68.8 percent driving allowance. Later the government decided to merge 50 percent of DA in their salary and 18.8 percent was calculated on resultant salary. This leads to 9.4 percent higher pay-out for employees but pensioners who retired between 2007-2013 were left out.
"Cabinet also approved it (higher pay) for them (retired pensioners) also. This will affect 1,18,500 pensioners," Prasad. Prasad said BSNL, which has been in heavy loss reported operating profit of Rs 672 crore during first year of his regime and this year the state-run telecom firm is expected to post operating profit of about Rs 2,000 crore.
"Audits are going on. When results will be finalised in August, we expect BSNL to report operating profit of Rs 2,000 crore," Prasad said. He said the telecom firm used to earlier add 6-7 lakh mobile customers in a month and this year it has shown
improvement by adding around 20-22 lakh new customers from January this year.