BSNL to hire senior execs from private sector

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New Delhi: BSNL is considering to hire senior executives from the private sector to its management ranks to help prop up falling profits and stand up to competition. According to PTI reports, the telecom firm is willing to pay the chief executive as high 10 crore. The proposal also suggests paying deserving board members up to RS. 5 crore annually. It has discussed at a meeting at the Department of Telecom (DoT) last week to implement recommendations of the Sam Pitroda committee on improving BSNL's performance. The proposal is possible only if BSNL is taken out of the purview of Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) and Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) as the PSU doesn't have power to recruit people to higher level positions like Chief General Managers. The DoT meeting was chaired by Telecom Secretary P J Thomas and attended by Kuldeep Goyal, Chairman and Managing Director, BSNL and other senior officials. The Pitroda panel has recommended enhancing the quality of senior executives so that the management team and the decision making process could respond to the competitive business environment and the changing market realities. The market is currently led by private player Bharti Airtel. BSNL's profits declined to as low as Rs 175 crore in the first nine months of last fiscal and is expected to register net losses for the entire 2009-10 fiscal as against profits of over Rs 10,000 crore in 2004-05. It was pointed out at the meeting that after implementing the second pay revision, persons at Board level can earn as much as 200 percent of their basic as bonus and other fringe benefits. This is almost three lakh per month or Rs 36 lakh a year besides other perks like housing, LTC and medical. But this is far less compared to what top executives get in the private sector. BSNL CMD Goyal, however, pointed out that in the past the PSU itself has performed quite well, even in the face of competition from private sector companies. "What is required is freedom of action by the Board," he said. Goyal is understood to have told the DoT that in order to act as fast as competition, the Board needs to be given the freedom to act without questioning.