Shri Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Telecommunications, stated yesterday in the sidelines of the Indian Mobile Congress that, the government wants to give more relief to the telecom sectors who are facing financial crisis. The Minister stated that the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) has recommended that the period of payment for spectrum could be extended from 10 years to 16 years. However, the Telecom Commission the highest decision making body has asked the IMG to comeback with more relief to the telecom sector, said the Minister. Here telecom sector means, virtually private telecom operators.
The biggest advantage being enjoyed by the Modi government is the steep fall in the price of crude oil, in the international market. The price of crude oil was more than 100 US dollars before 3 years. But, in the past 2 years, price of crude oil has steeply fallen and it is being sold at around 50 US dollars. For example, the price of crude oil in the international market was 54.10 US dollars in December, 2016, 50.41 US dollars in July, 2017 and 50.93 US dollars on 18th August, 2017 (source: marketrealist.com). Thus, the Modi government has saved billions of US dollars, by way of importing crude oil from international market. However, in our country, the prices of petrol and diesel are continuously being increased by the government, and the people are being silently looted. For example, the Hindu dated 30.08.2017 has reported that in the past 2 months alone the price of petrol has increased by Rs.6.02 per litre and the price of diesel is increased by Rs.3.89 per litre. The price of petrol in Chennai on 30.08.2017 is Rs.71.62 per litre and price of diesel is Rs.60.02 per litre. Of course, the government has invented a novel method to loot the people, by introducing the "Daily Pricing Mechanism". As a result of the introduction of this method, common people are unable to understand how much the price has changed. The steady increase in the prices of petroleum products, increases prices of all the essential items, and the common people are suffering. Where is the assurance given by the Modi government to control price rise?
The Modi government has targeted to raise Rs. 72,500 crore through disinvestments in Public Sector companies, in the next financial year. This is almost double the target of the current financial year, fixed at Rs. 45,500 crore. This means severe attack is going to be launched on the public sector companies, including BSNL. Already, the government has taken decision to raise Rs. 11,000 crore by way of disinvestments in general insurance companies. The working class has to unitedly stop this onslaught.
Mukesh Ambani, the richest Indian, is using his financial muscle to finish off all other telecom companies, including BSNL, so that he can loot the people with high tariffs, after all other telecom companies are killed. The free voice calls and data being offered by Reliance Jio, is nothing but 'predatory tariff'. First, Reliance Jio offered a promotional offer, as 'welcome offer'. However, this promotional offer can be only for a period of 90 days from 5th November. But, once again Reliance Jio implemented another offer as 'Happy new year offer', which is valid till 31st March, 2017. The Happy New year offer is nothing but the extension of the Welcome Offer, but in a different name. This is a clear violation of norms. However, the TRAI, which is supposed to guard against predatory tariffs, has said that the Happy New year offer is not the extension of the welcome offer. This decision only shows the influence that Reliance Jio is having over the government and over the Regulator.
Former Minister of Communications, Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanidhi Maran and others are discharged yesterday, by the CBI court, in the Aircel Maxis case. Dayanidhi Maran was the Communications Minister from 2004 to 2007. Aircel promoter C. Sivasankaran made a complaint to the CBI that, during the above period, he was coerced by Dayanidhi Maran to sell his stakes in Aircel, to the Malaysian company Maxis, owned by T. Ananda Krishnan. In consideration for this, Rs. 742 crore was paid to Dayanidhi Maran, by two Mauritius based companies, accused the Enforcement Directorate(ED). However, the CBI court has held that there is no prima facie evidence against the accused persons. The ED has said that it would appeal against the order of the CBI trial court. Advocate Prashant Bushan has stated that, the discharge by the CBI court, without even a trial, in a case which has strong evidence, is absurd.
[ Source : The Hindu dated 03-02-2017]
The budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has not mentioned any thing about the important demand of the trade unions that, the minimum wage should be increased to Rs. 18,000 per month. 90% of the work force in India are contract workers, whose wages are abysmally low. Increasing their minimum wages to Rs. 18,000 will not only help the workers, but will also give a boost to the economic growth, since increase in the wages of a very large section of the workers will certainly increase the demand for goods. However, nothing is mentioned about this in the budget.
However, it is clearly mentioned in the budget that, the government will move fast, to bring the Labour Law reforms. Indian and multi national corporates have been telling the government that, Indian Labour Laws are very stringent, and have been demanding that these Labour Laws should be diluted in favour of the investors. They say that, these laws are outdated and need to be changed. However, due to the stiff opposition from the Indian working class, the government is not able to implement the so called reforms. Now, it is mentioned in the budget that government will speedily bring the Labour Law reforms.
Leading Kannada film hero, Shivraj Kumar, the son of legendary Kannada actor, Dr.Rajkumar, has become BSNL's post paid mobile customer today. The marketing to get this 'star customer' was done by the leading BSNLEU comrades of CGM office, Karnataka, com.P.Girish, district secretary, CGM Office and com.R.K.Rao, superintendent, CGM office. CHQ heartily congratulates both these comrades for their good work. This is an example that others should also emulate.
A special CBI court in Ahmedabad has convicted a former senior BSNL official for possession of disproportionate assets (DA) and sentenced him three-year imprisonment besides slapping a fine of Rs 27 lakh. Kiran Premchand Patel, former assistant general manager, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), in Gujarat's Bhavnagar has been convicted for DA to the tune of 29.84 lakh, which was 148 per cent of his income during the check period of January 1997 to January 2004, CBI officials said here today.
Com Swapan Chakraborty Dy GS and com Jhon Varghes, AGS met shri D.Chakraborty, PGM (Pers.) and demanded that the restructuring of Hindi Translators, both Junior Hindi Translators and Senior Hindi Translators to provide them promotional avenue to the post of Rajbhasa Adhikari (AD-OL), which is pending with the BSNL management for a long time . It was demanded that the process should be completed with out further delay. The GM (Pers.) informed that proposal was sent to the DoT, for restructuring of the Rajbhasa Adhikari post, with creation of 175 intermediary post of Asstt Rajbhasa Adhikari in E-1 pay scale, so that Hindi Translators in Non- Executive posts can get promotion through LICE to E-1 scale.100% posts of Asstt. Rajbhasha Adhikari are to be filled up through LICE. The DoT has sent back the proposal to BSNL for certain queries and the EF cell in BSNL is processing the reply of those queries. He further assured that the proposal will be re-submitted to the DoT at the earliest to get it approved by the DoT.
A felicitation meeting was held for Com Suresh Kumar, General Secretary, BSNLMS, in the CTO Sabhagar, Eastern Court, New Delhi, on 30th January, 2017, for his retirement on superannuation. The meeting was presided over by com Mallikarjun,President, BTEF. Leaders and workers from BSNL and MTNL attended the meeting in a large number. The meeting was addressed by com V.A.N.Namboodiri, com Swapan Chakraborty, Dy GS and many others. On behalf of BSNLEU, com.Suresh Kumar was honoured, by offering a shawl. Com Jhon Vhargese, AGS,BSNLEU and com R.S.Chouhan,vice-president(CHQ) were also present in the meeting.
DoT has cleared the file in favour of the DR JE selected candidates. BSNLEU conveys hearty congrats to all the selected candidates. At the same time, BSNLEU also assures that it will ensure prompt processing of the case by BSNL Corporate Office, for completion of document verification, etc. BSNLEU also heartily congrats the BSNL Management because, the recruitment process done by the Corporate Office has been upheld by the enquiry conducted by the DoT.
Com. Swapan Chakraborty, Dy.GS and com. John Verghese, AGS met Ms. Madhu Arora, PGM (Estt.), BSNL CO., on yesterday, the 30.01.2017 and demanded that the DoP&T has issued orders to grant Child Adoption Leave on the lines of Maternity Leave admissible to natural mothers in 2006. In 2009, the DoP&T has enhanced the Child Adoption Leave from 135 days to 180 on the lines of Maternity Leave. It is informed that the BSNL C.O. has not endorsed the orders of the DoP&T issued in 2006 and 2009. Since, BSNL is following the Leave Rules of the Government of India, the Union representatives demanded that the Child Adoption Leave should be endorsed by the BSNL C.O., so that eligible women employee can avail the same. The PGM (Estt.), assured to look into the matter.
The 7th circle conference of West Bengal circle, started jubilantly at Kolkata on 27-01-2017. Com Shyamal Chakraborty, President CITU West Bengal, inaugurated the conference. Com Saibal Sengupta, AGS, addressed the Conference on behalf of the CHQ. Com Om Prakash Singh, Circle Secy, Telecom Factory & Organising Secretary (CHQ), Com. Tapas Ghosh, Working President, BSNLCCWF, Com. Biplab Das, Secretary, BSNL Coordination Committee also addressed the inaugural session. A working women's convention and a seminar on the development of West Bengal Circle also took place in the Conference. Com Kalyani Chakraborty, Convenor, All India Bank Employees Federation, com. Animesh Mitra, CS&VP(CHQ) com. Banani Chattopadhyay, com. Jhumur Baandyopadhyay, com. Sutapa Roy and com. Mamata Sarkar addressed the Women 's convention. The Seminar was addressed by com. Animesh Mitra, CS, West Bengal circle & Vice president (CHQ), shri R N Jha CGMT WB circle, com Tapas Ghosh, CS, SNEA, com. Ranjit Mukherjee, NFTE, Com Arindam Choudhury, SNATTA, and Partha Das, SC/ST Welfare Association.
A very effective convention of the Central Public Sector Trade Unions was held at Bengaluru on 29.01.2017. Wage Revision to the Central Public Sector employees w.e.f. 01-01-2017 and fighting against the attacks being launched on the Public Sector, by the Narendra Modi government, are the important issues discussed in the Convention. BSNLEU is represented in the Convention by it's President, com. Balbir Singh. On the previous day, i.e., on 28-02-2017, a massive rally of the Central Public Sector employees, numbering around 20,000, took place in Bengaluru, demanding to stop the attacks on the Public Sector, and demanding immediate settlement of wage revision to the employees.
BSNLEU strongly condemns the steps reportedly being taken by the government to gradually privatise the Indian railways. This measure is reportedly being started by handing over the running of the prestigious and heritage trains linking the hill stations. Quoting railway officials, ‘Economic Times’ has reported that the routes linking Kalka and Shimla, Siliguri and Darjeeling and the Nilgiri mountains with the plains, Neral and Matheran and the Kangra valley railways would be among the first to be handed over to the private operators including foreign companies. It has reported that the private companies, including the foreign corporates will not only run the trains but also maintain the lines and the stations and also own the station on these lines. They will reportedly be allowed to decide the fares after the approval of the Rail Development Authority of India that is going to be constituted.
It is a very good news that BSNL's losses have come down to Rs 4,890 crore for the period from January to December, 2016. The losses of BSNL during the same period in the previous year, ie., January to December 2015 remained at Rs 6,121.
BSNL's income from services has also increased by 5.8 % during this period. It has increased to Rs 19,379.6 crore during this period. The figure stood at Rs 18,314.9 crore in the same period during 2015. BSNL also expects that the losses will further come down for the full financial year, as the fourth quarter is a seasonally strong quarter.
BSNL has started an application (app) based "Limited Fixed Mobile Telephony (LFMT) service, which enables customers to convert their mobile phones into cordless phones, for making and receiving landline calls from indoors. However, private mobile companies, represented by the COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) have complained to the TRAI and have demanded to immediately stop this application based "Limited Fixed Mobile Service". The COAI- has claimed that as per TRAI norms, no "Termination Charge" is applicable for calls between landlines, and that BSNL is misusing this provision.
US President Donald Trump has imposed strict immigration policy. He has banned people of 7 Muslim majority countries from entering America. The countries are, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. However, widespread protests have taken place in America, against Trump's mad decision. Silicon Valley's top executives, including India-born CEOs Google's Sundar Pichai and Microsoft's Satya Nadella, condemned President Donald Trump's immigration ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, voicing concern that the move could directly hit their own staffers and stop bringing great talent to the US.
Condemning the move, Nadella, in a post on LinkedIn, said "As an immigrant and as a CEO, I've both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic."
The two monthly magazines being run by BSNLEU, viz., Tele Crusader (English) and BSNL SWAR (Hindi) are playing an important role in educating the employees on the wrong policies of the government, and on various happenings within India and at the international level, which are connected with the working class movement. CHQ is taking much care, to publish these two magazines in manner, so that they are very useful to the workers. Our Union stands benefited to a great extent from these journals. This is understood from the high quality of debate, made by the delegates in the last All India Conference. Apart from time and energy, CHQ is also spending a lot of money on these magazines. CHQ has decided to improve these magazines, if required, by spending more money also. A large number of employees have since retired. And also 16,000 employees are retiring every year, out of which, a major portion is the Non-Executives. Thus, certainly, the number of copies need to be printed, has also come down. Hence, CHQ wants to know the exact number of copies of Tele Crusader and BSNL Swar, required by each one of our branches. Further, every month, a number of magazine bundles despatched to the branches, are being returned to the CHQ. This may be due to the reason that the addresses are not updated, or due to the merger of branch unions, with the nearby branches, due to the fast phase of retirements. In view of this, CHQ is urgently in need of the following information, to streamline the publishing of our magazines.
1) The number of copies of Tele Crusader / BSNL Swar, actually required by each branch in a district. Number of members in the branch may also be mentioned.
2) An updated mailing address of all the branch secretaries in each district.
3) Details of the branch unions, merged with nearby branches, due to the fast phase of retirements.
All district secretaries are requested to send these information within two weeks, to their respective circle unions. Circle unions are requested to collect these information from all the districts of their circle, and to send it to the CHQ, by the end of February. Let us ensure that each paisa that we spend on our magazines, is spent usefully.
The BSNL Casual Contract Workers Federation (BSNLCCWF), is organising a March to the Parliament on 22nd February, 2017, to highlight the demands of the casual and contract workers. BSNLEU always remains in the forefront, in fighting against the injustices being meted out to the casual and contract workers. The 8th All India Conference of BSNLEU, held at Chennai, has given a call to the regular workers also to massively participate in this rally, and raise their voices in support of the demands of the casual and contract workers. The CHQ of BSNLEU has called upon the circle unions of BSNLEU, nearer to Delhi, to take special efforts to mobilise maximum number of regular employees in the rally. Let us make the March to Parliament a grand success.