Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Latest submission on restructuring to Board and HRM

Ref. No. AICEIA/FM/2010/19 Dated : 18-03-2009

To

Sri V.Sridhar,

Chairman (CBEC),

North Block, New Delhi.

Sir,

Sub : Stagnation in the cadre of Inspector of Central Excise -remedial action required

The cadre of Inspectors of Central Excise is the single largest cadre in the Central Board of Excise & Customs and the chief constituent of the executive arm of the Department. Two third of the posts in the cadre are filled up by direct recruitment and the rest by promotion. Though recruited along with the cadres of Inspector (Preventive Officer) and Inspector (Examiner), and ranks pari pasu, the Inspector of Central Excise is the only cadre that works in all the three wings of the Department – viz. Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs.

THE CADRE AND THE PROBLEM:

The immediate hierarchical post of Inspector is that of Superintendent of Central Excise which is filled up entirely by promotion from the cadre of Inspector. The next hierarchical post is that of Assistant Commissioner which is the entry-level post in the Group - A cadre of Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Central Excise). 50% of posts in the grade of Assistant Commissioner is filled up by promotion from the cadres of Superintendent of Central Excise, Appraiser of Customs (promotional post for Examiner) and Superintendent of Customs (promotional post of Preventive Officer) in the ratio 6:2:1.

Despite the fact that the Inspectors of Central Excise is the only multifunctional group B Non Gazetted cadre in CBEC, it is the cadre having the least career prospects. When the sister cadres get their promotion between 6 to 12 years, the Inspector of Central Excise gets his promotion between 18 & 25 years. Despite several rounds of restructuring, not even an iota of change has been made in the career progression of Inspectors of Central Excise and most of them retire with a single promotion in their career.

The Central Board of Excise & Customs is now in the process of finalizing a cadre restructuring and till date no consultations have been made with any of the recognized associations. The previous restructuring done in 2001-02 was also finalized without any consultations with the staff representatives and it did not address any issues faced by the cadre. The Standing Committee on Finance in their report for the year 2005-06 observed that the cadre restructuring made CBEC top heavy and had not taken into consideration the requirements at the cutting edge level.

The bottleneck at the Group A entry level coupled with the promotional ratio skewed in favour of the Superintendent of Customs/Appraisers is the sole reason for the obscene stagnation in the cadre of Inspectors and Superintendents.

This position would be evident from the following table

Sl No

Name of the cadre

Sanctioned strength as on 01.07.2008

Ratio to the feeder cadre

1

Chief Commissioner

47

--

2

Commissioner

295

1:6.28

3

Additional/Joint Commissioner

593

1:2.01

4

Deputy/Assistant Commissioner

1526

1:5.17

5

Superintendent CE/Cus/Appraiser

13876

1:9.09 @

6

Inspector CE/PO/EO

20046

1:1.44

@ The actual ratio is much more worse since only 50% of vacancies arising at Assistant Commissioner level (approximately 50% of combined strength of Deputy Commissioner & Assistant Commissioner) and only two third of promotee quota vacancies are available for Superintendents of Central Excise. The actual promotion cadre – feeder cadre ratio would be as follows

Sl No

Name of the cadre

Sanctioned strength

Ratio to the feeder cadre

1

Assistant Commissioner 6/9 for C. Excise Cadre

254

1:45.24

2

Superintendent C Ex

11491

1:1.54

3

Inspector C Ex

17653

1

Assistant Commissioner 1/9 for Customs (Preventive) Cadre

42

1:37.52

2

Superintendent Customs

1576

1:1.28

3

Preventive Officer

2017

1

Assistant Commissioner 2/9 for Appraiser Cadre

84

1:9.63

2

Appraiser

809

1:0.46

3

Examiner

376

Yet another cause of heartburn for the cadre of Inspectors is the regional disparity in promotion to the level of Superintendents. The seniority lists of Inspectors are maintained in 15 zones and there is a vast difference is promotional scope in these zones. On promotion as Superintendents, an All India Seniority list is maintained and because of the regional disparity, the officers in the stagnating zones stands discriminated for consideration for further promotion as Assistant Commissioner.

OUR ASPIRATIONS ON THE CADRE RESTRUCTURING:

  • Do away with the impact of regional imbalances in promotion among the seniority zones in Central Excise.

  • De-layering where functional distinction between Inspectors and Superintendents does not exist.
    • Redefining the ratio for promotion to the post of Assistant Commissioner based on the cadre strength of the feeder cadres.
    • Increase of approximately 3000 posts in cadre of Assistant/Deputy Commissioner.
    • Reducing the percentage of direct recruitment to 25% in Group A Entry Level
    • Promotion of Superintendents directly to the Senior Time Scale post of Deputy Commissioner.

    ACTION WARRANTED:

    A. In order to do away with the regional imbalances, all Inspectors who are senior to the last promoted Superintendent of Central Excise or Customs should be promoted as Superintendents by upgradation of equal number of Inspectors post. Additional creations of these posts are also functionally justified if de-layering is done where functional distinction between Inspectors and Superintendents does not exist.

    Due to various liberalization measures and implementation of information technology the need for posting Inspectors in many sections have become superfluous. The functions of most sections are to initiate the decision making process and this should be done at a fairly senior level. Wherever functional distinction between a Superintendent and Inspector in respect of work to be executed has ceased to exist, the practice of posting Inspectors should be dispensed with. This exercise would not entail financial implications as these senior Inspectors are already drawing the pay of Superintendents in terms of ACP/MACP scheme.

    B. Ratio for promotion to the post of Assistant Commissioner based on the cadre strength of the feeder cadres.

    The existing ratio of 6:2:1 for Superintendent of Central Excise, Appraiser & Superintendent of Customs is based on the cadre strength of AC/DC with division being made between Central Excise and Customs work and with absolutely no consideration having been given for the Central Excise Inspectors and Superintendents engaged in Customs work. However, in the case of division of posts between Appraisers and Superintendents of Customs, feeder cadre strength has been taken into consideration based on an Apex Court ruling.

    The Apex Court judgment in the ratio case has not created a bar in revising the ratio fixed by the judgment at a later date. Since the Board as early as in 1996 had taken a technical decision to merge the cadres of Central Excise & Customs as it was found that no functional distinction exists between these two cadres, the rationale for fixing the ratio based on the posts at the Group A level has also ceased to exist and it has to be reworked out on the basis of cadre strength which would be 15:2:1 for Superintendent of Central Excise, Superintendent of Customs and Appraisers respectively. This ratio should be put in place till the merger of cadres of Customs & Central Excise is effected. Once the merger is done promotion can be done on the basis of date of promotion as Superintendent/Appraiser.. Increase of posts in cadre of Assistant/Deputy Commissioner.

    In every organization with sound HRD policies a pyramidal structure would be put in place to ensure sufficient career growth. An agreed to idealistic ratio of any cadre to its feeder cadre is 1:3. Since the total cadre strength of Superintendent of Central Excise, Superintendent of Customs and Appraisers is 13876, the ideal strength of Assistant/Deputy Commissioner cadre should be 4625 which requires an increase of 3099 to the present strength. These posts are functionally justified as follows.

    • Barring a handful of Commissioner (Adjudication) posts that exists, the Deputy/Assistant Commissioners heading Divisions and the Additional/Joint Commissioners and Commissioners in Commissionerates are saddled with quasi-judicial functions along with administrative functions. The time these officers can earmark for adjudication is very less due to the heavy work pressure on the administrative front. Besides the exercise of adjudication function on the cases over which he is having an administrative supervision goes against the canons of natural justice. Further the constraints of time results in the block up of huge amounts of revenue as unconfirmed demands. All these factors points out for the need of a separate dispute resolution mechanism within the Department by providing exclusive Deputy/Assistant Commissioners of Adjudication work in all Divisions and Exclusive Additional/Joint Commissioner at all Commissionerates for Adjudication.

    • The Deputy/Assistant Commissioner in the Commissionerate Headquarters is an important middle level functionary who has to co-ordinate the work of various sections. This is required to avoid initiation of conflicting decisions from various sections. Hence there is a need to increase the number of Deputy/Assistant Commissioner in the Commissionerate Headquarters commensurate with the number of sections. Similarly in integrated Commissionerates at least, there should be a separate Deputy/Assistant Commissioner for Preventive & Intelligence.

    • In the proceedings before a Commissioner (Appeals) the department is not represented. Hence a mechanism for departmental representation akin to than of CESTAT should be put in place. For this a DC/AC should be posted. Further, as per existing instructions, Commissioner (Appeals) is required to conduct enquiries so as to avoid remand for de novo adjudication. In order to assist Commissioner, an Officer of the rank of Deputy / Assistant Commissioner is to be posted as DC/AC (Investigation)

    • In the liberalized era, the audit wing is one of the most important arms of the department for plugging leakage of revenue. Even as per the extant instructions, DC/AC has to accompany the audit team. Hence for at least one AC/DC is required for every audit teams. Further there is need to increase the number of audit teams based on the frequency parameters prescribed.Reduction of the Direct Recruitment Quota in the Indian Revenue Service and promotion of Superintendents directly to the Senior Time Scale post of Deputy Commissioner.

      The present percentage of direct recruitment to IRS cadre is 50%. There is a need to decrease the quota to 25% to give better promotional avenues to the persons in the feeder cadre. Consequent to the increase in posts in the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner, a leaner intake is beneficial for the direct entrants also for their career advancement. It is worthwhile to note that the percentage of direct recruitment in Indian Postal Service (Group A) is only 25%. It is also proposed that the addition 25% quota that would be made available for promotion may be filled up from a seniority list drawn on the basis of date of appointment as Inspector/Preventive Officer/Examiner. The promotion of Superintendents should be to the Senior Time Scale post of Deputy Commissioner as is being done is cadres like IA&AS.

      Though 1 out of each 4 persons working in the Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs Department is a Central Excise Inspector, it is the only cadre in the department that gets only one promotion in their entire service life, while all other cadres are getting at least 3 promotions.

      We request for an appointment for the association delegation at your early convenience to present the subject in detail.

      Thanking You,

      Yours faithfully

      (KOUSIK ROY)

5 comments :

BL said...

Dear Comrade Roy

Lot of thnx for letter dated 18.3.2010 wherein burning issue of regional disparity in promotion has been raised in common interest of members of the Association.

This demand of natural justice has also been supported by High Powered Committee therefore, there may be no compromise in removal of regional disparity in promotion in cadres of Inspector, PO & Examiner as all the above cadres are recruited by a common competitive examination & even are engaged in the similar work under CBEC.

Pl go ahead with entire team as it is the proper time to Do-Or-Die to get solved this long pending burning issue. The victory will be the mile stone in career of Inspectors and record of the Association.

Pl also publish result of full Board meeting alongwith HRM.

With regards

Comradely Yours,
B L Meena, Inspector - JAIPUR
An active member of the Association

SUDHIR said...

Good move. Any further updates. Please pursue it vigorously.

sohan kumar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sohan kumar said...

Good effort. Most of the issue especially promotion scope has been raised vehemently in this letter, thanks for your vigorous effort- sohan kumar

vijay said...

It is strange that the people serving in cbec and cbdt are fighting to get maximum benefit whether it is well known fact that the customs and central excise department is the most corrupt department in india, Where corruption is legal practice in terms of speed money and Dry and wet posting is a legal right in terms of sensitive and non sensitive postings and where 20 to 30 percent employee may be observed on unauthorised absence. Department should focus on these issues not only on fulfilling the unlimited greed.