Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Recent Developments - Cadre at Crossroads

Posted by Secretary General on 3/25/2014 09:43:00 PM with 3 comments

Dear Comrades,
I am writing to you under very difficult circumstances. Our President Com. A Satish and myself were in Delhi yesterday , and along with our Organising Secretary Com Devender Kumar , we had a long discussion with the DG HRD, CBEC . Other senior officials (ADG- HRM and  Addnl Director HRM looking after key issues of implementation of CR) were also present.

Yesterday we also went to North Block twice, but could not meet the Chairperson CBEC. We were told that she is  pre-occupied on account of fiscal ending  work, and had some other meetings scheduled for the day.  OSD to Chairman told us,  “You had just met the Chairperson last week, and also the week before that . Why is it that your Association is having to meet her so frequently?” When we denied that, it was informed that delegations of different regional units of Inspectors’ Associations were coming and meeting her, and that it has become very difficult for them to differentiate between different delegations, and all issues are getting mixed up. I need not emphasise once again the tremendous amount of damage such activities by some of our own regional formations are doing to our common cause.
However, we have explained all issues in detail to the OSD to the Chairperson, and submitted copies of all recent correspondence to him. He has  assured that it will be duly communicated to the Chairperson.

The news is that :

1.      1. All India Seniority for Inspectors is not being introduced. This matter is still stuck  exactly where it was many months ago, and now  it is being said that even if it is brought in, it will only be prospectively- meaning it will only be for Inspectors joining the Deptt. in 2014 or later . Board/DGHRD continue to insist that there is no requirement binding them to place in an All India Seniority List even Inspectors who were recruited on the basis of an examination with an All India Merit List. What they  say is  that the  SSC results (All India Merit Lists)  are limited  only to  Recruitment, and not Seniority. Despite our best efforts, we ahve not been able to convince them otherwise.

2.  2. The Residency period (minimum qualifying length of service) for promotions from Inspector to  Superintendent is being reduced from the present 8 years to 2 years for filling up vacancies arising on account of the CR exercise. This effectively means that after 2 or 3 months, in some Zones officers who became Inspectors  in 2012 will be Superintendents, whereas in many  others officers with as many as 6/8/10/12/16 years’ service will continue to rot as Inspectors for God alone knows how many more years. The implications of this as regards further promotion prospects, I need not elaborate.  We have lodged our strongest protest on this issue, but the Board looks set to overlook our protests and go ahead with its plans.
3.      By projections made by DGHRD, promotions in different C.Ex Cadre Control  Zones  would reach  1996, 2001, 2002. 2003/4/5/6.....10/2012 batches . Thus disparities, consequent to implementation of CR, could possibly widen among the different Zones instead of being eliminated  or brought to a minimum, which has been our primary demand for quite some time now. It also needs to be mentioned here that even this much progress, especially in the acutely stagnated Zones has been made possible by the DGHRD tentatively allocating more posts than normatively indicated as per functional requirements. Some more improvement in these projections is being worked out by the DGHRD. The fact of  the matter, however,  is that UNLESS ALL INDIA SENIORITY IS BROUGHT IN  AS PART OF THE CR ITSELF, THERE WOULD BE NO RESPITE FROM THIS NAGGING ISSUE OF REGIONAL DISPARITIES.

4.    3. The file for issue of Notification of jurisdiction  of new formations consequent to CR is presently with the Revenue Secretary, from whom it has to go to the Minister of State (Revenue), and then the Finance Minister for approval.
5.  Immediately thereafter Notification of jurisdictions, and Order by which allocation of posts to various formations is to be made can be issued, since they have been kept in readiness.

What next for us? That has to be decided by us immediately.

I feel that without losing even a moment, we should approach a High Court or an appropriate bench of CAT and seek issue of directions  to the Govt. of India and CBEC that:

1.    1.CR in CBEC should be implemented only  in such manner that disparities in promotions (Inspector to Supdt) that obtain among different Cadre Control Zones should be brought to a minimum, if not eliminated altogether;

2.      2.No promotions of any Inspector who joined as Inspector of Central Excise through  an exam conducted by SSC  drawing an All India Merit List should be effected unless an All India Seniority List too is drawn for them, following the spirit of the judgment delivered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the   Radhe Shyam Singh Vs UoI and Others case;

3.      3. Recruitment Rules of different cadres in CBEC should be revised only after consulting / inviting opinions of the Recognised  Staff Associations representing the  cadres that stand to be affected  (most) by such amendments, and duly considering their views too.

A few young Inspectors of East Zone have already taken the lead in this matter, and I propose that we should join them, and AICEIA can be a party to the case if legal opinion supports such an action, and from our Legal Fund, we can support them to the extent possible. Rajasthan (Jaipur) branch of the AICEIA too has sought legal opinion on the matter, and is preparing to go to court on this issue if needed.

Apart from this, I also feel that it is of utmost importance at this juncture  that we embark on the path of strident and effective agitation at the earliest.

I offer to be the first to go on an indefinite hunger strike before the Office of the Chief Commissioner Nagpur Zone starting the first week of April 2014.

To make it effective we must have hunger strikes at least before each CC’s office and  also before each Commissioner’s offices in cities where there are and no CCs’ offices.

If comrades are not able to go on indefinite hunger strike, we can have relay hunger strike, with say 3 or 5 comrades fasting for 24 hours, followed by next similar batch.

If even this fails to bring the desired response, then we must resort to STRIKE ACTION.

Please positively convey your opinion ( by  email at the  id ajitkgbhilai@gmail.com ) on the same, after duly consulting your members , latest by 30.03.2014 so that appropriate further course of action can be decided immediately thereafter. Each Branch/ Circle Secretary ( President, or any other senior office bearer in the event of unavailability of Secretary/ President )  is required to communicate opinion of their Branch/ Circle/ Unit . Every  All India office bearer too is requested to send  his considered individual opinions by mail at the earliest.

I exhort the younger and later entrants in the cadre of Inspectors  to realise the lot that awaits them if  they do not awake, arise and stand up together for their legitimate rights today. If this opportunity is lost, thousands of young Inspectors en-masse from Zones at a disadvantage will again find themselves in the unfortunate position of the present very senior Inspectors of acutely stagnated Zones like Shillong, Jaipur, Bhopal and Mumbai, facing the ignominy of having to work as subordinates  of  officers junior to them by decades but fortunate to have  been posted to Zones with  far less stagnation like Delhi and Bhubaneshwar.

Placed  hereunder are scanned copies of important communications  sent to Board in the past few weeks.

Yours fraternally,

Ajit Kumar K G

Secretary General 

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Central Executive Committee of the AICEIA met at Mumbai on the 22nd and 23rd of February 2014 and deliberated on all major issues faced by the cadre presently.

Offices that had fallen vacant in the interim were filled by the CEC unanimously as under :

Organising Secretary       : Devender Kumar, Delhi
Vice President (South)    : Varghese John, Kerala
Joint Secretary(South)     :  M Chokkalingam , Bangalore

On expected lines, the discussions were dominated by implementation of CR in CBEC, Regional Disparities in promotions of Gr B Central Excise executive officers  , All India Seniority for Inspectors, Issues of transfers from one Cadre Control Zone to another, futility of Control Room duties and redundancy of Uniform in the service, Improvement in working conditions, Streamlining deployment of personnel and avoiding duplication of work, bringing in efficiency and objectivity in automation of the department, preparing the Association for transition in the post CR era etc.

 In a great show of unity the CEC unanimously adopted the Resolution to demand from the CBEC immediate removal of all regional disparities in promotions from Inspectors to  Superintendents, and unequivocally authorised the Central Body to take any steps considered necessary to achieve that aim – be it calling for agitation or seeking appropriate legal intervention.  The CEC also adopted with nearly unanimous support a Resolution for demanding All India Seniority for Inspectors as mandated by the Apex Court verdict in the Radhey Shyam Singh case. It also unanimously endorsed the proposals submitted by the AICEIA for revision of Recruitment Rules that affect Inspectors’careers. A motion expressing  thanks to Shri Arun Zachariah and Shri Tirthankar Pyne for their valuable advice in this regard was also adopted by the CEC.  

Copies of two recent important communications addressed to the Chirperson CBEC are placed below.

 All other Resolutions shall also be communicated to the Board shortly.

On 22nd  evening the video recording of the Inaugural Lecture of the AICEIA Annual Lecture Series delivered by Shri R Manimohan at Nagpur on 25th January 2014 was screened for all the delegates. It was watched with rapt attention and applauded by a standing ovation. The CEC welcomed the initiative, expressed its heartfelt gratitude to Shri Manimohan for the invaluable and inspiring address and  his continued support to the organisation  and hoped that it will continue in the years to come.  The Lecture will soon be made available on the internet by the AICEIA.

The contributions of Com Ashish Biswas (Treasurer, GS Raipur and Central India Circle), Com P V Satyanarayana (GS, Guntur)  and Com Chetan Shah (President, Ahmedabad) for  discharging  organizational responsibilities accepted by them were specially commended and appreciated by the CEC.

Minutes of the Shimla CEC meeting  Statement of Accounts and Auditor’s Report for the period upto 31.01.2014 were passed by the CEC.

Regarding the MACP issue for officers promoted as Inspectors, it has been informed by Com. Chetan Shah, who is pursuing the case with the Board and other Deptts too on behalf of the Association, that the matter was referred by CBEC to DopT, who have raised certain queries. Reply to the same has been furnished by the Board and the file it is now again with the DoPT. Association is actively following up the matter. 

 Regarding  a fresh Application to be filed by the Association in the Supreme Court of India praying for early hearing in the Civil Appeal concerning grant of Rs 5400/- GP to Inspectors on completion of 4 years after getting 1st  ACP, it was pointed out that there aren’t sufficient funds available in the Legal Fund of the AICEIA to meet expenses of getting our case defended by a competent Senior Counsel in the Apex Court. It was therefore requested that all Branches/Circles may contribute generously to the Legal Fund to  enable effective pursuing the case to its logical end. 

The Kerala Circle of the AICEIA has  offered to host the next meeting of the CEC, which is due in July 2014. The same was accepted unanimously. Dates and venue shall be announced in due course.

AICEIA congratulates and thanks the AICEIA Team Mumbai, under the able leadership of Com Anil Kumar, President  and Com. Shishir Agnihotri, GS for the excellent arrangements and the warm hospitality extended to all delegates attending the CEC meeting. 

Several Circles and Branches have informed that they shall be conducting elections shortly to put in place new Committees in charge of the respective formations. In this context it is requested to all concerned, especially those comrades who have been running the show so far to inspire and encourage a new line of leadership to take over now so that the generation next is firmly in the saddle by the time promotions of most of the  senior office bearers takes place en-masse very soon. I also exhort my younger brothers and sisters to come forward and shoulder responsibility of this organisation  so that you can , at least to quite a significant extent, be the makers of your own destinies. From being armchair critics on social networking sites, its time now for you young men and women to don the roles of  real activism. The robust platform of this Association is waiting for you to take it to greater heights, and use it most effectively to bring to reality  careers and service conditions for yourselves of which each one of  you can be proud.  The recently concluded CEC meet at Mumbai  does raise hopes on this count - several relatively new entrants into the cadre are not only evincing a keen interest in the organisational matters but also are now holding some important offices and this does augur well for Association in the coming days.

Yours fraternally,

Ajit Kumar K G
Secretary General