Thursday, December 27, 2007

CIRCULAR - 8

Posted by Secretary General on 3:38 PM with No comments
CIRCULAR- 8/07 Date: 11.12.07

Dear Comrades,

Kindly find enclosed the copy of the letter sent by this association to the Chairman and other Officials seeking urgent intervention in settlement of our various demands. These letters are towards launching agitations as planned in the Bangalore CEC. But before embarking upon the agitations, it is desirable to consider the level of participation in the following agitations at the level of each Branch and Circle. An agitation programme is to show our strength to the Administration based on which alone we can expect a decent deal.

1) The National One-day strike on 30.10.07.

2) The lunch hour demonstrations on 30.11.07.

If the agitations are bound to show luke-warm reactions even from the membership, the administration cannot be expected to take the charter seriously.

In this regard, the circular of the C-o-C of Federations/associations in the Department of Revenue is also enclosed.

All Office bearers of the Association at the All India level and at the Branch/Circle levels are requested to urgently respond to this circular.

Fraternally yours,

(R.Manimohan)

Encls:
1) Letters to Chairman during Vigilance awareness week.
2) Letter to Chairman enclosing the seven-point charter of demands.
3) Circular of the C-O-C dated 11.12.07.

Ref.No. AICEIA/VIG-AW-WEEK/01/07 Date: 12.11.07

To
Shri. S.K.Shingal,
Chairman,
Central Board of Excise and Customs,
North Block, New Delhi.

Sir,

Sub:- Vigilance Awareness Week, 2007 – Point No. 1 – reg.

With regard to the Vigilance Awareness Week, the CBEC, in consonance with the directives of the Central Vigilance Commission is in the process of sensitizing the members of the department regarding the necessity to provide a clean and transparent tax administration.

In this regard this association would like to take this opportunity to point out that one of the basic requirements of any administration desirous of achieving its targets is to have a healthy interpersonal relationship within the organization. The Government, appreciating this rudimentary principle envisaged the Joint Consultative Machinery set up, to ensure a transparent administration, to better the serving conditions and enhance the staff morale by mutual consultation between the administration and the staff representatives.

In order to ascertain as to who are the real representatives of the staff, the Recognition Rules were introduced in 1994. All other departments have provided recognition to their staff associations under these rules after conducting the verification of membership under the prescribed check-off system and have been conducting business in their respective JCMs at the Departmental and regional levels.

In the CBEC alone, in particular on the Central Excise side, no association has been granted recognition as on date, even after the associations have complied with the said rules. Due to this, there is a gaining impression that there is a conscious decision in the Board to keep away the staff associations. This is a serious threat to transparent administration. It is human experience that wherever collective wisdom is not heeded to, there is lurking danger for the system itself.

However, this association has found during its interaction with your good self that you are a person intending to provide a clean and transparent administration.


Hence we request you at this juncture to issue immediate instructions to the concerned, to complete the process of granting recognition to the staff associations in CBEC, including this association, since they have complied with the rules of recognition and that JCMs be conducted at Commissionerate levels also, if not conducted now, so that vested interests and corrupt practices could be thwarted by a transparent administration.


Yours truly,


(R. Manimohan)
Secretary General

Copy to
(1) The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, New Delhi.
(2) The Hon’ble Union Minister for Home, New Delhi.
(3) The Hon’ble Union Minister for Finance, New Delhi.
(4) The Revenue Secretary, Government of India, New Delhi.
(5) The Central Vigilance Commission, Satarkta Bhavan, Block A, INA, New Delhi – 110023.
(6) The Member (P & V), CBEC, North Block, New Delhi.
(7) The Secretary General, Confederation of CG Employees and Workers, New Delhi.
(8) All Sister Associations in CBEC.


Ref.No. AICEIA/VIG-AW-WEEK/02/07 Date: 13.11.07

To
Shri. S.K.Shingal,
Chairman,
Central Board of Excise and Customs,
North Block, New Delhi.

Sir,

Sub:- Vigilance Awareness Week, 2007 – Point No. 2 – reg.

With regard to the Vigilance Awareness Week, the CBEC, in consonance with the directives of the Central Vigilance Commission is in the process of sensitizing the members of the department regarding the necessity to provide a clean and transparent tax administration.

We in the CBEC as a community feel the pain of the negative publicity in the media. Every year during the Vigilance Awareness Week, our department has been taking steps to project a cleaner image of the department. In this connection this Association has the following suggestion to make for your esteemed consideration:

No taxman can be liked by the public at large. Even if tax collection is done with the precision, passion and perfection of a bee collecting the nectar, the general public is equally intelligent and aware of the Kaudilyan law, that any strain on their pockets would be protested against. Hence, instead of fighting the negativity as such if a positive side is built in, the department would have a better image.

In this context, we are given to understand that the Canadian Customs has undertaken a social obligation of finding out lost children thus endearing themselves to the society.

Considering the network of the department in the Central Excise and Service Tax areas in India, it is proposed that the department could maintain a help-line service round the clock to locate blood donors within their jurisdictions for the needy. Towards this, the currently functioning PRO units in the Commissionerate Headquarters may be mandated to collect the data regarding the staff of the department in different stations willing to donate blood, their blood group, phone numbers and addresses and also similar data from all other industries and offices within their jurisdiction which could be computerized and made available online as well as on phone. For this purpose a cell phone number may be provided to the PRO at the cost of the Government and the number may be widely publicized.

Such a major decision may require the consent of the Ministry. But in the overall interest of the tax administration of the Government, we are sure that the Ministry will consent to this proposal. We are equally sure that your name would go down in the history of the department for getting the Ministry’s nod for this proposal.

If the announcement of this scheme could be made on Excise Day, 2008, the image of the department would definitely go up in the public eye. The self-esteem of every officer in the department will also go up.



Yours truly,


(R. Manimohan)
Secretary General

Copy to
(1) The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, New Delhi.
(2) The Hon’ble Union Minister for Finance, New Delhi.
(3) The Revenue Secretary, Government of India, New Delhi.
(4) The Central Vigilance Commission, Satarkta Bhavan, Block A, INA, New Delhi – 110023.
(5) The Member (P & V), CBEC, North Block, New Delhi.



Ref.No. AICEIA/VIG-AW-WEEK/03/07 Date: 14.11.07

To
Shri. S.K.Shingal,
Chairman,
Central Board of Excise and Customs,
North Block, New Delhi.

Sir,

Sub:- Vigilance Awareness Week, 2007 – Point No. 3 – reg.

With regard to the Vigilance Awareness Week, the CBEC, in consonance with the directives of the Central Vigilance Commission is in the process of sensitizing the members of the department regarding the necessity to provide a clean and transparent tax administration.

One key area emerging as an instrument for asserting the rights of the citizens to ensure transparency in administration is the Right to Information Act. Numerous petitions are filed every day by various persons requiring information from the department. On one hand the work load of the field officers increases multifold in responding to such requirements within the specified time frame and on the other hand it becomes extremely important to give the correct information and only the correct information in every case.

Since the RTI Act is a new one and decisions are coming out daily, it is suggested that separate formations may be envisaged to assist each Public Information Officer so that the correct position in law could be adhered to while making available the desired information. Such a formation with willing and trained officers would ensure that unscrupulous elements do not take advantage of the Act to create nuisance to the department or to thwart investigations.

Yours truly,


(R. Manimohan)
Secretary General

Copy to
(1) The Revenue Secretary, Government of India, New Delhi.
(2) The Central Vigilance Commission, Satarkta Bhavan, Block A, INA, New Delhi – 110023.
(3) The Member (P & V), CBEC, North Block, New Delhi.




Ref.No. AICEIA/VIG-AW-WEEK/04/07 Date: 15.11.07


To
Shri. S.K.Shingal,
Chairman,
Central Board of Excise and Customs,
North Block, New Delhi.

Sir,

Sub:- Vigilance Awareness Week, 2007 – Point No. 4 – reg.


With regard to the Vigilance Awareness Week, the CBEC, in consonance with the directives of the Central Vigilance Commission is in the process of sensitizing the members of the department regarding the necessity to provide a clean and transparent tax administration.

One critical ingredient for a transparent administration is accountability and impartiality.

In this context it has been painfully noticed by this association that due to non-incorporation of the staff representatives in the management of the accounts of the Customs Welfare Fund, there are misgivings among the members of the department as to what all purposes the funds are allotted for, apart from medical treatment. Even when funds are released from the said fund for maintenance of guesthouses of the department, in very many places there is an unwritten code that it is not to be allotted to non-Group ‘A’ Officers or even if allotted gets cancelled at the last moment due to a subsequent accommodation of ‘Senior Officers’. Such practices demoralize the members of the staff and their family members due to such discriminatory treatment. The CBEC should issue strict instructions that allotment of Departmental Guest Houses should be made in a transparent manner and on a first come first served basis without relation to the class/cadre of the seeker.

Yours truly,


(R. Manimohan)
Secretary General

Copy to
(1) The Revenue Secretary, Government of India, New Delhi.
(2) The Central Vigilance Commission, New Delhi – 110023.
(3) The Member (P & V), CBEC, North Block, New Delhi.



Ref.No. AICIEA/CBEC/24/2007 7.12.2007


To
SHRI. S.K.SHINGAL,
Chairman,
Central Board of Excise and Customs,
North Block, New Delhi.

Sir,

Sub:- Charter of demands of AICEIA – intimation – reg.


Kindly find enclosed a charter of demands of this association.


The Central Executive Committee of this Association has felt that the points in the charter are pending solution for quite a long time and has therefore been forced to launch agitations through out India to invite attention to the plight of our cadre.

Before the launch of such agitations, it is felt that we should bring them to your notice for any redressal possible to avoid agitations.

Yours truly,
Encl : Seven point Charter of Demands.
(R. Manimohan)
Secretary General

Copy to
(1) Shri. P.V.BHINDE, Revenue Secretary, North Block, New Delhi.
(2) Shri. A.K.RAHA, Member (P&V), CBEC, North Block, New Delhi.
(3) Shri. K.K.N. Kutty, Secretary General, Confdn. Of CGE&W.
(4) All Office Bearers of AICEIA and Branch/Circle Secretaries. ( for information and preparations as per the CEC decisions at B’glore)


ALL INDIA CENTRAL EXCISE INSPECTORS’ ASSOCIATION

CHARTER OF DEMANDS



DEMAND 1: GRANT IMMEDIATELY


(A) RECOGNITION FOR AICEIA

In spite of this Association complying with the requirements of the CCS(RSA) Rules 1993, and even after submission of the AO (DD0) certificates as per the request of the Board to evidence the strength of the membership of the association, which as per the rules was to be ascertained by the administration itself, and even after submitting the said forms on 15.03.07, and after repeated reminders and pleadings, Recognition has not been granted to this association as per the new Rules. It gives an impression to the members that the administration is deliberately delaying the matter endlessly to ensure that the largest work force of the department does not get a legitimate collective hearing.

(B) PROPER ALLOWANCES FOR UNIFORM, RUMMAGING, RISK AND LOCAL TRAVEL EXPENSES.

The following legitimate requirements are required to be met in the interest of the department’s morale and in terms of equality:
1. Grant of proper equipment and maintenance allowance for three sets of uniforms for personnel in Customs.
2. Grant of Rummaging allowances for Officials posted in Customs area on par with the Officials of Customs.
3. Grant of Local Travel Expenses for Inspectors on par with the Inspectors of Income Tax.
4. Grant of Risk Allowance for Inspectors of Central Excise considering the risks attached to their duties and responsibilities.


DEMAND. 2: REMOVE IMMEDIATELY


(A) STAGNATION IN INSPECTOR CADRE.

Even after the restructuring of the department in 2002, the level of stagnation in the cadre of Inspectors of Central Excise has not reduced. This is inspite of the fact that one of the stated objectives of the restructuring was to take care of stagnation. Even today there are Inspectors who have completed 20 years of service as Inspectors and have not yet got even the first promotion in their career. Considering that the promotion of an Inspector as Superintendent itself is nothing substantial in one’s career given the fact that only one increment would be difference after such a long innings, the non-availability of even such a small change in one’s social ladder has not been addressed. The regional imbalances within the Central Excise Zones and between Central Excise and Customs are alarming that they would evidence total neglect of personnel management in the CBEC.


(B) CONTROL RAJ MIND SET BY ABOLITION OF CONTROL ROOMS AND UNIFORM IN C.EX AND SERVICE TAX.

In spite of preaching of an assessee friendly approach and change in mind set of the staff of the department, the CBEC itself firmly stands rooted to its colonial past. After the liberalization of excise and customs laws there is absolutely no justification to maintain Control Rooms and that at a very high cost. Similarly Uniform in Central Excise has become irrelevant and more of a mockery after the liberalization of Excise laws and introduction of Service Tax as the main base for indirect inland tax.


DEMAND-3: ORDER IMMEDIATELY

(A) REVISION OF PROMOTION QUOTA BETWEEN SUPDTS OF CENTRAL EXCISE AND SUPDTS OF CUSTOMS TO POSTS OF ASSISTANT COMMISSIONERS AS PER PRESENT CADRE STRENGTHS.

The ratio or 6:1:2 for promotion of Superintendents of Central Excise, Customs and Appraisers to the cadre of Group ‘A’, was fixed much before the 2002 restructuring of the department. Due to the change in the composition of the cadres after the re-structuring the ratio ought to have been revised.


(B) MERGER OF EXCISE AND CUSTOMS.

A policy decision to merge the Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ cadres of Excise and Customs was taken by the CBEC in the year 1996 itself. But till date it has not been implemented. The non-implementation of the Board’s own decision even during the re-structuring in 2002 has served to give only a bleak picture. Hence the merger has to be effected with effect from 1996.
In the event of the above not being implemented from the date of the decision, in order to bring down the disparities in promotional avenues within the Excise zones and between Excise and Customs in CBEC, the feasibility of making amendments to the Group ‘A’ Recruitment Rules to make the total length of service from the cadre of Inspector as the criteria for promotion to the cadre of Superintendents (since the post of Superintendents are 100% by promotion alone) has to be examined.

DEMAND-4: RESTORE IMMEDIATELY

(A) INTER-COMMISSIONERATE TRANSFERS.

Inter-Commissionerate transfers had been abolished by the CBEC thus prohibiting citizens in Government Service from opting to serve in any other part of India. Recruitments after 1997 are being done only on the basis of All India Ranking in the SSC Exam and postings are done to various parts of the country. In such a situation revival of inter-commissionerate transfers on request or alternative mechanism instead of the deputations as at present to enable persons to get transferred to any place in India due to personal problems has to be envisaged. It has also to be emphasized that initial postings should be done on the basis of the residential addresses of the candidates to ensure least difficulty due to the All India posting. To enable this the requisition for dossiers may be made by the CBEC itself once in six months.


(B) JCMS AT COMMISSIONERATE LEVEL.

Hearing the grievances of the staff is a fundamental requirement for a proper administration. An open discussion with the representatives of the staff would itself ensure the wholehearted participation of the staff in achieving the targets of the department. Apart from that, only a transparent administration would ensure that vested interests do not control the administration. It was with these requirements in mind that the three tier JCM set up was envisaged by the Government. But the meetings of the JCM are not properly held in many of the Commissionerates. This has created a divide between the administration and the staff in such Commissionerates. Hence the JCMs should be ordered to be held periodically in all Commissionerates.

DEMAND – 5: ISSUE INSTRUCTIONS FOR

(A) TRANSPARENT TRANSFER POLICY.

Guidelines for proper transfer policies, in the light of changes effected over a period of time and to ensure transparency in administration, are required to be issued at various levels. Towards that, the CBEC is required to issue broad Guidelines to its formations so that, at the Commissionerate levels and zonal levels, transfer policies are evolved by the local administrations in consultation with the staff representatives.


(B) TRANSPARANCY AND UNIFORMITY IN ALLOTMENT OF DEPARTMENTAL GUEST HOUSES.

Non-incorporation of the staff representatives in the management of the accounts of the Customs Welfare Fund gives room for various misgivings among the members of the department. Even in respect of the maintenance of guesthouses of the department, for which funds are released from welfare fund, in very many places there is an unwritten code that the guest house is not to be allotted to non-Group ‘A’ Officers or even if allotted gets cancelled at the last moment due to a subsequent accommodation of ‘Senior Officers’. Such practices demoralize the members of the staff and their family members due to such discriminatory treatment. The CBEC should issue strict instructions that allotment of Departmental Guest Houses should be made in a transparent manner and on a first come first served basis without relation to the class/cadre of the seeker.
Instructions also should be issued to ensure participation of Staff representatives of all Cadres in the CBEC in the management of the Customs Welfare Fund.


( C ) ISSUE OF UNIQUE GPF ACCOUNT NUMBERS.

Allotment of unique GPF account numbers to persons serving in the CBEC to avoid the problems of missing credits during transfers from one PAO zone to another.


DEMAND-6: INTRODUCE TO SAVE DEPT

(A) SEPARATE ORGANISATIONAL SET UP FOR ATTENDING TO QUESTIONS UNDER THE RTI ACT.

Numerous petitions are filed every day by various persons requiring information from the department, under the Right to Information Act. It is extremely important to give the correct information and only the correct information in every case. Since the RTI Act is a new one and decisions are coming out daily, separate formations may be envisaged to assist each Public Information Officer so that the correct position in law could be adhered to, while making available the desired information. Such a formation with willing and trained officers would ensure that unscrupulous elements do not take advantage of the Act to create nuisance to the department or to thwart investigations and adjudication of cases.


(B) MECHANISM AT COMMISSIONERATE LEVEL TO INTER-CHANGE DATA RELATED TO DIRECT AND INDIRECT TAXES TO INVESTIGATE IN PROFESSIONAL METHOD.

A machinery/mechanism to inter-change data pertaining to Indirect taxes and direct taxes at the level of Commissionerate level offices would enable broad based investigations in the department.

DEMAND-7: PROVIDE FOR FUNCTIONING

(A) INFRASTRUCTURE FOR FORMATIONS.

Provisions for proper infrastructure like furniture in offices, vehicles for executive work and computers to enable smooth implementation of computerization are required to be made.
In the light of the transfer liabilities, the satisfaction limit in the case of executive officers in respect of residential accommodation should be made as 100%.


(B) PERIODICAL TRAINING ON ALL FIELDS OF ACTIVITIES.

Periodical refresher courses and training programmes are mandatory for enabling a change in the mindset as well as effective implementation of the ever-changing laws.


( C ) DUTY LIST FOR ALL OFFICIALS SERVING IN CBEC.

Clear demarcation of duties to each cadre is required, in the light of changing laws and cadre compositions, and also in the light of the study undertaken at the instance of the VI Pay Commission regarding the feasibility of introducing Performance Related Pay in the department.
Though the oft-repeated excuse for not having a duty list is that every one should be prepared to do any work in an organization, the actual practice of a no-man’s land would lead to utter lawlessness and perpetuate feudalism.











**********
COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF FEDERATIONS/ ASSOCIATIONS
IN THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Manishinath Bhavan, A-2/95, Rajouri Garden, New Delhi 110027
Phone : (011) 25105324, 09811048303

CIRCULAR
11.12.07.

Dear Comrades,

Please note that the following decision was taken at the National Convention of the C-o-C at Chennai on 6.10.07.


1. Holding of Lunch Hour Demonstration on 30 November 2007 to oppose LTU and to extend support to the movement of Customs and Central Excise Gr. D and Ministerial officers for amendment/ notification of Recruitment Rules.
2. Holding of Conventions in all other Metro Cities as per convenience of the local (State) Revenue C-o-Cs.
3. Signature campaign in support of Revenue C-o-C demands in December 2007 with an aim to collect minimum 50000 signatures.
4. Half day walk-out on the next Union Budget Day (2008).

As per the above decision, a lunch hour demonstration was to be held on 30.11.07. Similarly, during this month signature campaigns are to be undertaken apart from trying to organize similar conventions in other metro cities. The agitation programmes require urgent attention against the backdrop that the Government has gone ahead with constitution of the next LTU also at Chennai on 1.12.07.

Hence, to assess the situation and decide on the further course of action, an urgent report may be sent by each one of the constituent organizations in the C-o-C regarding the participation of its members in the lunch hour demonstration on 30.11.07.



(K.K.N. Kutty) (Rajesh Menon) (Sougata Chakraborty)
Joint Convenors

Copy to:
1. Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association; 2. Income Tax Employees Federation; 3. All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers; 4. All India Central Excise Inspectors’ Association; 5. All India Federation of Central Excise Executive Officers, Nagpur; 6. All India Central Excise & Customs Ministerial Officers’ Federation; 7. All India Customs & Central Excise Gr. D Officers’ Federation; 8. All India Customs Preventive Services Federation; 9. All India Customs Appraisers Officers’ Federation; 10. All India Customs Preventive Superintendents’ Federation; 11. All India Customs Ministerial Officers Federation; 12. All India Customs Group “D” Officers’ Federation; 13. All India Federation of Central Excise & Customs Telecommunication; 14. Customs Departmental Canteen Association



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