Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has sent out a circular to its employees offering an opportunity, to those aged 50+, to opt for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS).
Currently, MSRTC has about 30,000 employees who have crossed the age of 50. The ‘golden handshake’ offer is expected to ease the salary burden on the corporation that is already facing a financial crisis. The corporation has incurred losses of about Rs 6,000 crore. In fact, MSRTC has been unable to pay salaries to its employees regularly, and two of its young employees — a driver and a conductor — recently took their lives because of the debts they had incurred due to non-receipt of wages for three months. The incidents had triggered protests among the staff, following which the state government had offered financial assistance worth Rs 1,000 crore to help MSRTC out of the crisis.
If a significant number of employees opt for the VRS, it will help MSRTC tide over the crisis and bring down overhead expenses. As a result, it will end up saving about Rs 100 crore a month.
The young employees of MSRTC are now receiving counselling to ensure mental health and stability. Additionally, all employees have been assured that salaries will be disbursed on time in the future, and that attempts will be made to revive the corporation and improve revenues. About 700 ST-trucks are already in business and petrol and diesel pumps are also being set up as a source of extra revenue.