ANDHRA PRADESH

RTC defers plan to offer VRS to surplus staff

HYDERABAD March 30. The AP State Road Transport Corporation's plans to offer voluntary retirement to the identified surplus staff appears to have been put on hold, at least temporarily, thanks to the non-availability of funds required to provide terminal benefits to employees opting for VRS.

The corporation had been contemplating offering VRS to its surplus staff to bring down the huge staff costs staring it and accordingly, over 3,000 employees in the cadre of Class I, II, III and IV services including those on deputation to other organisations had been identified as surplus in the first phase. But the proposal to implement VRS, according to senior RTC officials, would result in an expenditure of over Rs 100 crores, at the rate of Rs 35 crores per every 1,000 employees, to the fund-starved corporation. "We are trying to tie up the funds, but the scheme can be taken up some time next year since there are no funds with the corporation as of now,'' a senior official of the corporation told The Hindu.

According to the guidelines of the VRS proposals, the criterion for acceptance of the applications would be in the descending order of the age of the employees in the case the number of employees opting for VRS exceeds the surplus identified by the corporation in a given category. Vacancy caused by the voluntary retirement would not be filled up normally except in case of introduction of additional bus schedules to meet the traffic demand.

An employee seeking VRS under the scheme would not be eligible for re-employment in RTC, government departments and in other public sector companies/corporations/undertakings/ cooperative societies. The scheme will be open for a period of one month from its notification for each phase of implementation.

The scheme, however, should not be construed as a revision of the existing scheme in the corporation and as such no claim from any employee who had already retired voluntarily will be accepted by the corporation. The employees who apply for the VRS would be permitted to withdraw the application within a week of submission or before it is accepted by the corporation, whichever is earlier.

In terms of the benefits, all the employees who are regular or permanent as well as those who are physically handicapped and unable to perform their designated duties properly are eligible to apply for the VRS.

The employees who are due to retire from services within one year from the date of application and those who have not completed the minimum service period as per the agreement executed with the corporation are, however, ineligible to apply for the scheme.

The VRS benefits that would be paid to the employees whose applications are accepted by the corporation include an ex gratia payment equivalent to one and half months' salary for each completed year of service or the monthly salary multiplied by the balance left over months before of service before normal due date of retirement, whichever is less subject to a minimum of Rs 30,000.

For the purpose of calculation of the ex gratia amount, the last drawn salary (pay+DA) would be taken into account and the payment would be made through an account payee cheque.

In addition, the employee and his family would be entitled to one bus pass travel by the eligible service from the place of employment to settle at the home town within the State.

All the outstanding amounts and dues payable to the corporation such as advances, loans and cooperative society's loans as well as amounts payable under any court decree would be adjusted against the VRS compensation and only net income benefit amount would be paid.

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