BSNL over the past few months has struggled to pay salaries of the employees on time. The remuneration is regularly getting delayed due to the shortfall in funds, and the company has consistently been late in paying wages for the past few months. BSNL had paid the August salary after an 18 days delay, while July’s staff wages were given on August 5, after February salary paid later in March. It is expected that the company will fail to credit the salaries of the employee on time for September too.
This cash crunch has rendered the organization unable to manage its operating expenses including electricity bills, labour costs, rent (for towers and rural exchanges), transportation costs and fuel costs
(vehicles and towers). The statutory payments include Tax Deducted at Source (TDS), Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) and Goods and Services Tax (GST), among others.
The reason behind this deficit in the fund is the shortage of money coming from internal accruals. Although BSNL is generating about INR 1,400 crore per month, this is not sufficient to cover the wages, as the lion share of this revenue is utilized in managing operational expenses and statutory payments. A crucial meeting presided by PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, to bring out the company from this predicament failed to reach any conclusion.
Over the years, the government has failed miserably to revive BSNL through the introduction of any robust policy. The plight of the company has become worse due to the lack of any substantial decision taken by the government in this regard. BSNL has been demanding for long for the allocation of 4G spectrum. Both Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and BSNL do not have 4G spectrum, though the latter is providing 4G services using new Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in certain circles. The service is delivered using 3G spectrums, but BSNL needs a 4G spectrum to provide both 3G and 4G services using the new Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in certain circles. The government is seeking assurance that the allocation of 4G spectrum will help in BSNL’s revival. Unless the government addresses these issues, formulates a strong policy and takes decisive actions, BSNL is bound to stay in this precarious situation.