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BSNL to cut staff strength by 100,000.
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Pitroda panel had suggested BSNL to cut staff strength by 100,000.

Kuldeep GoyalState-run telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is on a major recruitment drive to add 10,000 employees in its sales and marketing division. This will push the size of the division to 25,000.
It has already redeployed and trained about 10,000 people from other departments for the division and would hire about 10,000-15,000 people in the next one to two years, Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal told Business Standard.

The move is contrary to the recommendation of the Sam Pitroda committee, which had suggested BSNL to reduce the number of employees by 100,000 from the current 350,000. The recommendation has been opposed by staff unions, who say they will go on strike it it is implemented.

BSNL is also in the process of integrating its operations across the country. The public sector undertaking would implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project at an estimated cost of Rs 400 crore to integrate all its segments — finance, personnel, marketing, real estate and others, Goyal said.

“The implementation of ERP will increase our productivity and efficiency. Further, we will be able to access information across all segments immediately, as all the processes will be automated,” he said.

The company had also started giving incentives to employees, specifically in the sales department, on achievement of targets within the stipulated time, he added. For the first time, BSNL has set up a sales division in each of its four business verticals — fixed line, mobile, enterprise and new businesses.

The company has started to focus more on marketing activities to regain its lost ground in the 2G mobile space. BSNL also wants to push aggressively for its 3G mobile and broadband services before the entry of private companies in this space early next year. It would also try to increase its retail and distribution footprint across the country.

Industry experts say BSNL has so far failed to make much of its first-mover advantage in the 3G space. The firm has launched its 3G mobile services in 450 cities and plans to take it to 750 cities by the end of this year, with a target of four million subscribers from 1.3 million presently.

Due to increased competition, BSNL’s market share has come down to 12 per cent, in fourth position. The company is also under severe financial strain, as it has given Rs 3,700 crore in pay arrears and may end 2009-10 (it is yet to declare results) with losses. At the end of December 2009, BSNL had a net profit of Rs 175 crore, but due to the payout of arrears on wages of around Rs 3,700 crore, is expected to post losses. It has also asked for refund of 3G and BWA spectrum fees of about Rs 18,500 crore.

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