The Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which is chaired by BJP MP Dr Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, has pulled up the Department of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Communications and the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for their “casual approach” on the reservation in promotions for SC/ST employees.
The committee’s report, titled “Ways and Means to ensure reservation for SCs and STs in the light of privatisation, outsourcing of work and contractual employment in Government Services, PSUs and Autonomous Bodies with special reference to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited”, was tabled in Lok Sabha on Friday. The report observed that the promotions of SC/ST employees in BSNL have been on hold despite a 2018 Supreme Court order allowing the Union government to provide reservation in promotions to SC/ST employees “in accordance with law’’.
The BSNL, in its reply to the committee, cited ongoing cases in high courts and said the matter was sub-judice and may invite contempt of court.
One of the largest PSUs in the country, BSNL has a workforce of 1,53,823 employees — 44,983 in executive category and 1,08,839 in non-executive category. The percentage of SC employees in executive category is 17.86 per cent and in the non-executive category is 18.73 per cent. The percentage of ST employees in the executive category is 6.01 per cent and in the non-executive category, it is 5.35 per cent.
In view of the ongoing restructuring of BSNL, there is a likelihood of substantial changes in man-power composition at different levels, with the PSU having given the option of VRS to its employees. The BSNL has cited this is as another reason for the halt on promotions.
The committee observed that though the SC representation in executive and non-executive posts is adequate, the ST representation in executive and non-executive grade is below the required level of 7.5 per cent.
“The Committee strongly recommends that the management of BSNL should maintain strictly the prescribed percentage of reservation for SCs/STs in all executive and non-executive posts. The Committee re-emphasize the fact that it is mandatory to maintain percentage of reservation for STs to ensure more opportunity for the STs,’’ says the report.
Due to a stay order by Central Administrative Tribunal, the Department of Telecommunications has not issued promotion orders of 124 SC/ST officials since 2018.
“The Committee also feel that the Ministry of Communications (Department of Telecommunications) and BSNL should have consulted Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Legal Affairs) at the time of disposal and address these issue in the right direction. The Committee strongly deplore the casual approach of the Ministry in this regard,’’ the committee stated.
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