It is a major indicator of the government’s priorities that the state-owned enterprises like BSNL, MTNL, HAL and Air India are running out of funds to pay salaries to their workers while statues worth thousands of crores are being inaugurated.
As per The Hindu reports, J.J. Mathias, President, MTNL Executives’ Association commented that “Generally we get our salary credited by the end of the month. December salary was credited on January 5, 2019, January salary was credited on February 21 and we are yet to receive our salaries for February.”
BSNL employees are yet to receive their February salaries and there is a video doing rounds on social media where a BSNL employee is saying how she is unable to feed her children and pay fees in the wake of delayed salaries. The concern grows higher as it is the time of the festival when majority of households are in an urgent need of cash. The problem doesn’t end here; both the PSUs carry a considerable amount of debt too. MTNL carries a debt of Rs. 20,000 crore while for BSNL, the amount is Rs. 15,000 crore.
Apart from BSNL, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited CMD R Madhavan commented that “Our cash-in-hand is in the negative, we’ve had to borrow close to Rs 1,000 crore as an overdraft (OD). By March 31 we’ll have minus of Rs 6,000 crores, which becomes unsustainable. We can borrow for day-to-day work, but not for project purchases.”
HAL is working on getting its OD limit extended from the present Rs 1,950 crore. The major reason for the troubles is dues owed by its largest customer, Indian Air Force (IAF), which hasn’t paid up since September 2017. In October, the outstanding dues, or receivables, were about Rs 10,000 crores.
Moreover, another state-owned enterprise Air India had failed to pay to their over 20,000 employees on time for most of the months last year. Like other public sector enterprises, the airline is supposed to pay the salaries on the last day of the month.
“Air India has not paid the December salary to its entire staff till today (Jan 7). Worst, there is no word on the date of payment,” an airline official said. For years the airline has been making losses. However, Air India’s net loss declined to Rs 5,337 crore in FY18 from the previous fiscal when it had a higher loss of Rs 6,281 crore, as per the latest Public Enterprises Survey 2017-18.
It is the job of the government to take care of the well-being of the common public and make the best use of the taxpayer’s money. The priorities of Modi government can be seen in their full glory when hundreds and thousands of government servants are defaulting on their bank loans and other financial commitments due to delayed salaries.
On the other hand, to sway the masses in a nationalistic fervour devoid of substance, government constructed the gargantuan statue of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel that cost the taxpayers no less than Rs. 3000 crores. How and why it happened are the questions the voter needs to put in front of the leaders in charge.