NEW DELHI: The Congress Thursday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "promoted" firms of his "capitalist friends" at the expense of state-owned BSNL and MTNL.
Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala's attack came over a media report which claimed that in order to better the financial condition of BSNL and get it back on track, its board has approved several proposals, including voluntary retirement for 54,000 employees.
"Whose telecom companies are BSNL and MTNL-- of the countries 130 crore people. Government-owned BSNL and MTNL have been destroyed. Both companies are in debt," Surjewala claimed.
"Modi ji has promoted the firms of his capitalist friends. BSNL and MTNL are now on the verge of closure," he alleged.
Surjewala cited the example of ILFS, which now has a debt of Rs 1 lakh crore due to the "economic mismanagement and financial bungling" of the Modi government and is being saved through state-owned LIC and public sector banks.
He also alleged that public money of ONGC was used to buy out a Rs 20,000 crore scam ridden GSPC for Rs 7,700 crore and hard-earned savings of 38 crore LIC policyholders worth Rs 9,000 crore was used to save IDBI Bank.
The Congress leader also alleged that State Bank of India and other PSU banks were "used" by PM Modi to "bail out a bankrupt private company Jet Airways", which has a loss of Rs 7,355 crore and which owes Rs 8,500 crore to banks "The state-owned BSNL and MTNL are facing the financial wrath of pro-rich, anti-people Modi government," he said.
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The board of state-run telecom operator BSNL Limited has reportedly approved the proposal to lay off over 54,451 employees and this constitutes around 31 per cent of the 1.74 lakh-strong workforces.
BSNL employs 1,74,312 people and MTNL employees about 45,000 people. He alleged that the board has accepted three back-breaking suggestions that will destroy the future of 54,000 families -- of reducing retirement age from 60 to 58 years, voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and blocking allocation of 4G spectrum to BSNL.
"The move to trim the retirement age alone will end up reducing the employee count by 33,568 employees," he said, alleging that for the first time a large number of BSNL and MTNL employees were not given salaries for months.