New Delhi: Over 92,000 employees of BSNL, MTNL have opted for Voluntary Retirement scheme, which will help the ailing telecoms save over Rs 8,700 crore. The scheme was opened on November 4 and was closed on December 3.

The scheme was launched after the Cabinet approved a plan to merge MTNL with BSNL.

MTNL currently operates with the strength of 18,500 staff. Among them, 16,370 employees were eligible for the VRS. Out of them, 14,383 employees opted for it leaving the company with only 4,117 employees.

BSNL, on the other hand, has a strength of 1.6 lakh staff. Over 78,000 staff have opted for the scheme.

According to the scheme, all regular and permanent employees of the company, including those on deputation to other organisations, or posted outside BSNL on a deputation basis, aged 50 years or above were eligible to seek voluntary retirement. They will get 100-125 per cent of the salary for the remaining years of service.

According to reports, the employees are opting for the scheme as this would be monetarily beneficial for them. At the same time, there are fears of a massive transfer of staff once the two companies are merged.

In an attempt to revive loss-making BSNL and MTNL, the Centre approved the merger proposal of the two ailing firms. MTNL will be merged with BSNL and before the merger will act as a subsidiary of BSNL. The Centre approved a four-step revival plan for the two companies. The plan includes infusion of Rs 20,140 crore for the purchase of 4G spectrum, Rs 3,674 crore for GST to be paid on spectrum allocation, companies raising Rs 15,000 crore in debt on a sovereign guarantee and government funding of Rs 17,160 crore for VRS and another Rs 12,768 crore towards retirement liability.