The Bharti Airtel-Telenor merger, which recently received the green signal from the Department of Telecom (DoT), has reportedly resulted in around 700 Telenor employees losing their jobs. Meanwhile, experts estimate that the mega Vodafone-Idea merger is likely to result in over 5,000 job losses.

According to a report by human resources consultancy CIEL HR, the telecom industry saw around 40,000 job cuts in 2017, and another 50,000 employees are likely to be axed this year.

In light of this, the DoT has said it is opening up employment opportunities through schemes such as public wi-fi and Bharatnet.

Speaking to the media on Thursday at the 5G India international conference in Mumbai, telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said, “We are working with the Telecom Sector Skill Council to see how people can be retrained and redeployed into some of the new job opportunities that will be opened.”

She added that efforts to protect jobs in the telecom space were on at multiple levels. “We have to ensure that the futures of those who work at lower-level jobs, retail outlets, etc, are sustained. For that, we need to stabilise the sector. In the new telecom policy, we are working on stabilising the sector,” she said.

The new telecom policy will be announced in June. When asked if there could be some relief in the policy for bleeding telecom operators in terms of reduction in fees and charges levied on them, Sundararajan said, “Wait for the policy to come out.”

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