Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PROPOSAL-----LONG TERM HUMAN RESOURCES PLAN

Posted by Secretary General on 1:39 PM with 2 comments

To

Sri M.S.Arora,

Additional Director General ( HRM),

Central Board of Excise and Customs,

409/8,Deep Shikha, Rajendra Place,

New Delhi-110008.

Sir

Sub: LONG TERM HUMAN RESOURCES PLAN – PROPOSAL OF AICEIA

Kindly refer to your office memorandum /3575 wherein a detailed note on the subject memorandum was asked from the cadre organizations.

The action initiated in formulating a Long Term Human Resources Plan for the department is a most welcome step. Absence of the same has already taken its toll. The malady of the department is that policies on HR are being initiated by officers of the Central Secretariat who do not have a stake in the department and who are not conversant with the specific requirements of the department. The policies taken from time to time were mere fire fighting to address the immediate problem on hand and lacked fore sight.

Functional autonomy & recruitment plan

The recruitment to various grades other than the organized Group A services lacks long term perspective. Recruitment is being done merely on the basis of vacancies reported to SSC and it does not take into account the factors like retirements that would arise in the coming years in the same grade and in the promotional grades. This has resulted in a high level of recruitment in certain years and lower level or nil recruitment in certain years. In turn this has resulted in lack of career growth for certain batches of officers and non-availability of experienced officers at all times.

The compartmentalized zone vise maintenance of cadres has resulted in uneven promotional avenues for staff in each zone and has also affected the flexibility of department in deploying staff on the basis of functional requirements. This system is still continuing despite the fact that recruitment since 1996 are done on an all India basis. It appears that unless the system of regional maintenance of seniority for the cadres is addressed it would be difficult to formulate a recruitment plan and to achieve functional autonomy for creation or diversion of posts on need basis.

Yet another aspect to be considered at this juncture is the difficulty the department would face in the coming years in justifying the disparity in promotion among the zone. As far as the officers who were recruited on a regional basis are concerned, though the issue of disparity in promotion would definitely create discontentment and demoralization, it may not create a cause of action to allege discrimination as their recruitment to a particular zone is on their own volition. But how can that be true to an officer recruited on an all India basis?

It is therefore suggested that all India seniority lists should be drawn for all Group B & C cadres (excluding the cadre of Sepoy/Havaldar/Head Havaldar). As a first step, this can be drawn for post 1996 recruited/promoted officer and once all the pre 1996 officers have been promoted or superannuated further promotions may be affected only from the All India seniority list.

The direct recruitment plan should be formulated by ascertaining the anticipated vacancies for at least 10 years, there by ensuring steady and regular inflow of fresh hands. As is being done in the case of organized group A services a fixed number of personnel may be recruited to each cadre every year.

Legitimate aspirations of officers including cadre restructuring

It is needless to say that for every organization, the dedication, efficiency, commitment and integrity of the workforce is determined by factors like competitive pay, career progression, equality in opportunity and congenial working environment. An employee who spends the majority of his time in the office expects that his work is recognized and he be entrusted with higher responsibility by way of promotion from time to time. Stagnation stunts personal growth which in turn deteriorates the quality of the employee’s work.

Periodical cadre restructuring is a potent tool to strike a balance between the ever-changing functional requirements of the department and the legitimate aspirations of the cadre. However none of the cadre restructurings done in CBEC has addressed the stagnation faced by the cadre of Inspectors of Central Excise and Superintendents of Central Excise. The 2001-02 cadre restructuring compared the career prospects of IRS (C&CE) officers with that of other organized Group A services and highlighted the demoralizing effect, the lagging behind had on IRS (C&CE) officers. But not even a whisper was made on the career aspirations of the cadre of Inspectors of Central Excise and Superintendents of Central Excise. Rather, the cadre restructuring 2001-02 further widened the disparities between Inspectors, Preventive Officers and Examiners who are recruited through the same examination.

The LTHRP should be able to address these issues and the following measures are required to be taken.

(a) A minimum of 4 promotions with time-bound promotions on completion of 8, 16, 24 and 30 years should be ensured to entry level officers in Group B, C and D;

(b) The quota of direct recruitment element in the Group A entry level should be restricted to 25% in place of the existing 75% thus ensuring adequate blend of youth, dynamism and experience.

(c) To do away with regional disparities among various zones in promotional avenues in Central Excise zones, and to remove disparity in promotions among the Central Excise cadres especially in Group B who are subsequently integrated into common post of Assistant Commissioner, one time re-designation of all Central Excise Inspectors/Superintendents, till the batch of the last promoted preventive officer and examiner of all customs zones, as Superintendents/Assistant Commissioners should be carried out. If this is done, the regional disparities among Central Excise Commissionerates will automatically get removed. After this exercise the cadres of Inspectors, Preventive Officers and Examiner should be integrated on an all India basis and further promotion should only be effected from this integrated list

(d) The separate cadres of Examiner &Appraiser has lost its relevance in view of the impending reforms in tax regime and also considering that the RMS is already in place in Customs Assessment, transaction value has been adopted in customs, the presence of DG (Valuation) in valuation aspects etc. While creating an equitable road map for integration of cadres, as an immediate measure, the posts of Appraiser sanctioned at various central excise commissionerate may be reallocated to Superintendents in that particular zone;

(e) The existing ratio between Central Excise & Customs for promotion to entry level Group A posts was fixed by adopting the ratio of Central Excise & Customs Group A posts and while doing so, the fact that more number of Central Excise Officers are doing Customs work in than Customs officers, was totally discounted. In order to ensure equal opportunity, the date of joining at the level of Inspector/PO/EO should be the criterion for the purpose of promotion to the entry level Group A. or a ratio corresponding to the cadre strength should be adopted.

(f) While carrying out cadre restructuring and cadre review exercises, a committee consisting of all stake holders including the representatives of cadre associations should be constituted and all recommendations should be discussed and decided in the said Committee.

Transfer policy

(1) There should be transparent transfer policy applicable to the lower level staff that is liable for transfer within the zone/Cadre Controlling Authority.

(2) The existing stations tenures of 4 years at one station needs a re-look and can be enhanced appropriately in view of the minimum interface with the tax paying public and in the wake of the full fledged e-administration of taxes.

(3) Within the broad guidelines evolved after consultation in the Dept. Council JCM, the local cadre Controlling Authority should be directed to evolve local policies in consultation with staff Associations in the local office council JCMs, there should be a mechanism to check the abuses and ensure strict compliance of these norms. So also for placements of vacancies within same stations, periodical rotation once in 2/3 years without giving repeated postings to stereo type of work, file desk works/filed work/Audit/Preventive etc.

(4) Transfer Committees comprising association representatives of all cadres should be formed at Commissionerate level and at zonal levels before issuance of transfer orders.

(5) Inter-commissionerate movement on transfer/deputation against promotion quota or promotion posts should not be permitted until the integration of regionally maintained cadres are done. Inter Commissionerate

(6) Till such time the integration of regionally maintained cadres are done, inter Commissionerate transfer on compassionate grounds on bottom seniority principles and towards direct recruitment quota should be permitted. The officers who are recruited on All India basis (post 1996) should have the facility of All India Transfer on request.

Training & capacity building

Training is a grossly neglected area in this Department. The duration of induction course for Inspectors is too inadequate and even that training is not given to all officers because the induction course is being conducted as an in service training. On recruitment the candidate should be required to report to NACEN for a 1 year Induction course followed by 3 months on job training in various fields and evaluation. The rank obtained in the training should decide the seniority after absorption in the Department.

Every officer should be required to take at least one in service training course each year. There should be a minimum of 2 months training at the time of each promotion. All necessary infrastructures required for providing training of officers including hostel or guest house accommodation should be provided to trainees so that this does not distract trainees from attending training programs.

Officers acquiring additional academic or professional qualifications by pursuing course in recognized universities and institutions should be given adequate cash incentive from the incremental revenue allocation or be given monthly special allowances

Updating the Recruitment Rules.

The task of framing/revision of recruitment rules should be vested with the HRD directorate. The delay being experience at present in finalizing the RR can be avoided accordingly. The following suggestions are made with regard to the RR.

1. the direct recruitment element in the Inspector’s cadre should be reduced to 25% from the present 75%;

2. The DR quota in entry level Group A posts should be reduced to 25 % and the additional 25% that would go to the promotee should be filled up from among graduate level qualified departmental executive officers with at least 8 years of service as Inspector of central excise, Inspector (Preventive) and Inspector (Examiner) by holding a limited departmental competitive examination every year;

3. The minimum qualifying service for promotion of Examiner (till the post is abolished) to the grade of Appraiser (till abolition of those posts) be fixed as 8 years at par with PO grade officers and Inspectors of Central Excise

Seniority lists & promotion

Suggestions for maintaining All India Seniority list has already been made supra. Till such time All India seniority lists are drawn, zonal level seniority lists should be published every year, immediately after completion of calendar DPC. The task of preparing the All India seniority list should be with the Directorate of HRD with ADG & DG as original and appellate authorities to settle dispute.

The extant DOP&T instruction stipulates that calendar DPCs should be held in the month of April. Board has deviated from this by issuing instructions to hold DPC in the month of June and to issue orders on the last day of that month. Though the purpose of the instruction was to fix a uniform date, it has resulted in a situation where vacancies arising between April & May remain vacant up to the month of July. It is therefore required to fall in line with the DOP&T instructions. The DPC shall be held in the month of April considering the vacancies that have arisen up to the 1st of April each year.

Dispute Resolution Mechanisms including alternate methods to avoid service litigation

The proliferation of litigation by employees is mainly because of the apathy shown by the administration in settling individual claims/requests. While the department has fixed time limit for disposing of trade related issues, no such parameters are available for disposing staff representations. It also a fact that an individual, in many cases, would have limitations in properly presenting his case before the Administration. Hence it is necessary to set up Grievance Redress forums at Commissionerate level comprising of official side headed by the Commissioner and staff side represented by staff associations. The Pay & Accounts officer shall also be required to attend the meeting. The committee shall hold meeting every month. A zonal level forum shall also be formed with the official side comprising Chief Commissioners and all executive Commissioners of the zone. This forum shall be convened quarterly and shall take up inter commissionerate transfer issues as well as issues remaining unresolved in Commissionerate level meetings.

Provision for performance Appraisal and reward:

The APAR is the first step in transparent assessment of the quality of work done by an Officer. Despite moving to the APAR system from the ACR system, the modality for assessment of the officer still remains the same. APAR forms circulated to reporting officer is only a verbatim reproduction of the ACR form, with change only in its title. No mechanism has been evolved for an objective assessment of the officer. A new APAR form, reflecting the spirit of the scheme, is required to be introduced.

As in the case of reporting format, the scheme of appeal against remarks of the reporting officer has not been changed in consonance with the APAR regime. As per the extant rules, an appeal would be entertained only against an adverse entry. In the APAR regime, an employee has the right to be aggrieved if in his view, the grading given to him is not commensurate to his performance. The lack of opportunity to agitate the grading before a higher authority would have a demoralizing effect and would defeat the very purpose of appraisal system.

It is also necessary that the system of reverse reporting shall also be resorted to in selected formations, which could be used to ascertain the suitability of officers of posting to different formations where inter-face with public is unavoidable.

Reward Committees should be formed in each Commissionerate with Commissioner as Chairman as it exists and the regularity with which such Committees should hold meetings should be prescribed and notified. Any grievance arising out of Reward Committees decisions shall be first placed in the Reward Committee itself for review and then forwarded to Grievance Redressal Committee of the Commissionerate and Zone.

Reward scheme should not be restricted to providing cash rewards for detection of evasion. It should also include rewards by way of recognition. At present the reward by way of recognition is confined to the Presidential Awards, which in most cases are given to officers in DGCEI & DRI. There is a need for recognizing officers working in unglamorous posts. For this purpose, a system of conferring medals, commendations, good service entries must be introduced.

Preventive & punitive vigilance

The term preventive & punitive vigilance is normally referred to a system where the vigilance wing of the organization conducts surprise checks in offices. Though there is a need to weed out corrupt practices like demand or acceptance of illegal gratification, such a system can also prove to be a tool to harass officers. The department faces acute shortage of manpower in many areas which forces officers to dilute the quality of checks. Lack of well laid down procedures results in the adoption of different practices on identical matters. Without addressing these issues, introduction of a preventive & punitive vigilance mechanism would only create fear psychosis among officers which would ultimately affect the quality of work.

Periodic system audits should be undertaken to identify lacuna in procedures. Comprehensive manuals tailor made for each type of functions should be brought out to eliminate subjectivity to the maximum possible extent.

It is necessary to prescribe timelines to decide cases vigilance issues since this hampers the promotional avenues of the concerned officers and causes demoralization to innocent officers. Delay in departmental justice denies opportunities to deserving officers.

Uniform practice is not being followed in the matter of suspension of officers all over the department. Though, technically, suspension is not a punishment, in many cases, suspension is being ordered in some places merely because a major penalty proceeding is contemplated. Suspension brings unnecessary disrepute to the officers concerned and effectively acts as a punishment. It is therefore proposed that suspension shall be resorted to only if there is reason to believe that the continuance of the officer shall hamper the investigation.

Web-related Communication & knowledge sharing with officers & staff, Dissemination and adoption of best Human Resource Policy and Providing ergonomic environment and welfare measures.

Efficacious use of advanced technology for man management will save time, ensure transparency and save cost of communication. The extensive use of electronic technology for disseminating various information such as seniority positions, departmental promotion committees, deputations, trainings etc should be ensured. DGHRD site should serve as a Master site for this purpose with facility of feedback and knowledge sharing with officers and staff. Officers and staff should be allowed to offer comments and suggestions on various general aspects of cadre administration whenever solicited without the need to have to go through proper channels of authority.

Electronic logistics and infrastructure such as laptops, unlimited internet access should occupy predominance in facilities to be extended to field offices and formations to facilitate dissemination of information relating to tax and administrative matters.

In regard to welfare measures, the part time contingent employees who have been in the rolls of the department for a long time may be regularized extending them all facilities as of regular employees.

Vehicles should be provided to Coastal Preventive/Land Customs formations. In respect of vessels attached to Costal Preventive formations, the diesel quota being provided is too low and because of this the vessels remains stowed or hauled up for most of the time. Sufficient provision is to be made in this regard.

The committees for compassionate appointments should meet at regular intervals and all cases of compassionate appointment should be considered on time and vacancies filled up. The quota for compassionate appointments may also be revised upward at least as a one time measure.

The retirement benefits such as provident fund dues, DCRG, leave encashment and other dues should be disbursed on the day of retirement in case of retiring employees. Such due benefits should be disbursed within a period of 15 days from the day of expiry in case of employees who die in harness.

Conclusion

Since an employee is to spend 8 hours of a day in the office, the working atmosphere should be congenial to the overall development of the skill, aptitude and aspirations of the employee. Providing Laptop/system, clean office, canteen, recreation facilities etc should be made first priority. Though there is a welfare fund and facilities provided using the same, the ordinary employees are seldom getting the chance to avail the same. The number of guest houses in each town should be made available to all employees while going out on tour/picnic etc.

A policy that would ensure a uniform career prospects and advancement in 5 years to every employee would be the best HR policy. The cadre management should be planned in such a manner that there is no room for disgruntlement for a good worker in the Department. The best HR policy would be evolved in consultation with staff and made known to all employees.

thanking You,

Dated 09.10.2010 Yours faithfully

KOUSIK ROY

SECRETARY GENERAL

2 comments:

Jeevan said...

Very good news. Kindly pursue so that the additional 25% posts that would go to the promotee should be filled up from among graduate level qualified departmental executive officers with at least 8 years of service as Inspector of central excise.

BL Meena said...

What happened in the meeting with the Revenue Secretary ?