MEMORANDUM ON ASSAM AND NORTH EASTERN REGION ISSUES SUBMITTED TO THE 7TH CPC BY REGIONAL CO-ORDINATION COMMITTEE OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES UNIONS, ASSAM AND NE CIRCLES, GUWAHATI 781001.
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
REGIONAL CO-ORDINATION COMMITTEE OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES UNIONS,
ASSAM AND NE CIRCLES, GUWAHATI 781001
No. RCC (P)/Assam & NE/7th CPC Memorandum Dated 11/05/2015
The Hon’ble Chairman
7th Central Pay Commission
Camp at Shillong
Subject: - Memorandum on Assam and North Eastern Region Issues.
On behalf of the Regional Co-ordination Committee of Postal Employees Unions comprising all the Circle Units of Assam and NE Circles of the Postal, RMS&MMS unions affiliated to National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE) we like to submit before the 7 CPC the following issues specific to North Eastern Region including Assam for careful consideration and positive recommendation.
We, the National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE) represent more than 98% of 17000 odd regular Postal, RMS, MMS and GDS employees working in Assam and NE Circles of the Department of Posts. Geographically the North Eastern Region is encompassed by international borders except being connected by a very small corridor to rest of the country. Almost 90% of the areas under NE Region spread over to hazardous hilly tracks and dense forests. Most of the areas are terrorist affected and normal life is a distant dream for common peace loving people. Even after 67 years of independence there was no rail connectivity to the state capitals of NE Region except Guwahati in Assam. Only a few months back, the state capitals of Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh were fortunate enough to have a rail connectivity, that too with a mere obsolete Metre Gauge connection to Agartala. Even today, there is no double railway line in the region resulting in snail pace momentum of the trains in the region. NE Region cannot dream of electric railway line at a time when elsewhere in the country bullet trains are going to be a reality. Four-lining of the Highways has almost lost its direction in the region. Naturally the movement of Goods and Services has become dearer and dearer resulting in higher cost of living in comparison to other parts of the country.
During the last decade or so, the North Eastern region could not attract even 1% of Total Investment of India, whether it is private or public. Banking expansion and Credit-Deposit Ratio in the region is far below the all India average (1.81% against all India average of 2.45%). Per capita availability of electricity in the region is only 153 KW against an all India average of 879 KW. Investment plus CDR is only -0.24% against all India average of 4.25%. Consequently there is no industrial development; almost nil public investment and rise in unemployment is alarming in the region.
In a nutshell, this region is far behind the other parts of the country in respect of development as well as access to government and public services. Facing all these odds, our employees are serving the people day and night even in the most difficult terrains of the hilly tracks of the region.
Under these circumstances while endorsing the Common Memorandum submitted by the National Council Staff Side, JCM and Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers on general issues of the Central Government employees and NFPE-FNPO Joint Memorandum on Postal Employees common issues, we hereby submit the following issues specific to North Eastern Region including Assam for careful consideration and positive recommendation.
Special Duty Allowance
(a) We fully endorse the views expressed in the common Memorandum submitted by both the National Council Staff Side JCM and also the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers.
In view of the peculiar circumstances still prevailing, rather the increasing hazardous situation and regional disparities as explained in our para 2-4 above, we also reiterate that in consideration of such peculiar situation prevailing in the North Eastern States i.e insurgency, high cost of living, inaccessibility etc .and continued discontents amongst the CG employees working in this region , the staff side in the National Council raised the demand for a special allowance to be granted to employees posted in North Eastern States. The Government agreed to set up a committee to look into the grievances. The committee suggested for grant of such an allowance. However, when the Government issued orders, the allowance was in fact granted only to those personnel with an all India transfer liability or only for Officers in Group A services. The said decision generated resentment amongst the other segment of employees. The North Easter region witnessed tumultuous agitations including a 38 days continuous strike by the postal employees, the longest ever strike of the government employees in the country. Some employees approached the Court and obtained favourable orders. But the Government refused to implement those court orders for similarly placed employees.
The matter was brought before the 6th CPC. The 6th CPC recommended extension of the said benefit to all sections of the employees. Ultimately the Government issued orders to cover all employees with the special duty allowance in 2008 by which all personnel posted in N E Region become entitled for special duty allowance at 12.5%.
But on 10th February, 2009, the Government suo moto issued an O.M (F.No.14017/4/2005 AIS(11) according to which an additional monetary incentive to officers belonging to North East Cadres of the All India Services @ 25% of their basic pay + Grade Pay was granted. The additional monetary incentive was given the nomenclature “Special allowance for Officers belonging to North East Cadres of all India Services”. If the grant of the allowance is justified on the ground of remoteness, arduous environment, endemic insurgency etc, how then it could be denied to the employees who are to face the same situation throughout their service career. The order is discriminatory and repetition of the efforts of DOPT while granting SDA earlier, which had to be rescinded on the recommendation of 6th CPC. We request the 7th CPC to recommend that in the light of the above cited order dated 10-2-2009 the employees may be granted Special Duty Allowance @ 37 ½ % of pay.
(b) We further request the Commission to consider the fact that SDA was being paid to the postal employees from 01-11-1983 as result of court verdicts and agitations. But suddenly the same was stopped wef 01-06-2002 without any valid reason causing further accumulation of resentment, that was somewhat diluted when the 6th CPC regularized wef 01-09-2008. But recently All India Radio Directorate has issued an order vide its Memo No 15(8)2008-A&G Dated 30/31 March, 2015 to pay the arrear up to 31-08-2008 in respect of its employees similarly placed with the Postal Employees.(copy enclosed)
We, therefore, request the Commission to recommend in favour of ending this discrimination by paying the entire arrear upto 31-08-2008 in respect of postal employees also.
Compensatory City allowance
We fully endorse the views expressed by the Confederation in para 15.3 in its Memorandum in respect of admissibility CCA.
We further reiterate that
“There is a condition that CCA is not admissible in respect of the cities in the regions where employees are getting Special Compensatory Allowance (SCA) in the entire region. The restriction that two compensatory allowances (CCA and SCA) are not admissible at a time should be withdrawn considering the fact that cost of living in the cities in the regions is higher than the suburban and the rural areas. That means, CCA should be admissible the cities in addition to SCA which is admissible for whole of the region.”
We fully endorse the views expressed in the common Memorandum submitted by both the National Council Staff Side JCM and also the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers as under:
The 5th CPC had introduced transport allowance for employees working in classified towns on account of various factors like unprecedented growth of city limits, increase in volume of traffic and non availability of residential accommodation at reasonable rents near offices, which are usually located in the heart of cities. If these were the factors it appears that the 5th CPC did not take into account that it is usually a low paid employee who finds residence at a very long distance from his office whereas officers are offered residences very near to their offices. If, therefore, transport allowance was meant to defray the transportation charges from residence to office and back the higher rates should have been recommended for the low paid employees who were residing at a distant places. Since the 6th CPC’s recommendation in this regard was implemented, there had been several rounds of increase in the fuel charges making a cascading impact on the public transport fares. Taking these factors into account, we suggest that the following rates of transport allowance may please be recommended.
Pay Range X classified city Other places.
Pay upto Rs. 75,000 Rs. 7500 + DA Rs. 3750 +DA
Above Rs. 75,000 Rs. 6500 +DA Rs. 3500+ DA
Considering the communication bottleneck still prevailing in the region as explained in our para 2-4 above, we request the Commission to recommend Transport allowance in respect of all places of North Eastern Region at par with an uniform rate of X classified cities.
Additional Monetary Incentive for Personnel Posted in N E Region
In accordance with the MOF/DOE OM No 20014/3/83-E.IV Dated 14th Dec, 1983 Paragraph IX and reiterated from time to time the employees transferred to NE Region from other parts of the country and also transferred within the region are enjoying the benefits of Double HRA and Hostel Subsidy etc whereas these are denied to the local employees in respect of transfer from one state to another.
We therefore request the Commission to recommend extension of same facilities to the local employees of the region in respect of inter-state transfer also.
Rent Free Accommodation
Often, the employees are asked to be stationed at remote/inhospitable areas for operational purposes. They are not provided with any facility. We suggest that they must at least be provided with rent free residential accommodation, for it is difficult for them to get any residential accommodation in view of the peculiar situation as described in para 2-4 above.
Leave Travel Concession
Leave Travel Concession is a facility extended to the Government employees, which enables them to avail holidays and undertake travel as a tourist . The facility provides him with an opportunity to be away from the monotonous daily routine and be with his family members without the tension of the official duties. It is an established fact that if employee is encouraged to take such holidays they will reform rejuvenated and the employer is benefitted through his increased productivity.
Over the years, on representation from employees, the concession has been widened. However, some aspects of this facility require certain further relaxations/improvements. We enumerate those as under:-
1. Permission for air journey for all categories of employees to and from NE Region.
2. Permission for personnel posted in NE Region for a journey within NE Region.
3. To increase the periodicity of the LTC to once in two years.
4. Explore the possibility of allowing an employer to undertake tour outside India, once in his service career in lieu of the LTC.
We further request the 7th CPC to consider recommending our suggestions for improvements to the Government.
1. Home town conversion facility should be made available to all irrespective of whether home town is in the HQ station or outside the HQ station.
2. LTC by air should be made available to all employees working in the NE Region irrespective of whether it is Home Town or All India LTC.
3. LTC by air should be provided all over India after reaching certain scale of pay.
Medical Facilities [CGHS/CS(MA) Rules]
We fully endorse the views expressed by the Confederation in para 16.10 in its Memorandum in respect of medical facilities under CGHS and CS (MA) Rules.
Considering the serious transport bottleneck in the NE Region and due to lack of proper medical facilities in the NE Region, Air Lifting Facilities should be provided to referred medical cases of NE Region in and outside the region.
Grameen Dak Sewaks (GDS)
(a) We fully endorse the following views expressed in in the common Memorandum submitted by both the National Council Staff Side JCM and also the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers in respect of inclusion GDS in the 7 CPC and also consideration of their causes by the 7 CPC .
“We solicit the kind reference of the 7th CPC to the observation made by the 4th CPC in Page No.4 Part-I, Vol-I of their report, which is reproduced for ready reference:
“The matter is however beyond controversy after the decision of Supreme Court in Gokulananda Das Case (1957 1SCR679) where it has been declared that an extra Departmental labour is not a casual worker but “holds a post under the administrative control of the state” and that while such a post is outside the regular civil services, there is no doubt that it is a post under the “state”. In view of the pronouncement, we were unable to accept the contention that the Extra Departmental Employees were outside the purview of the terms of our Commission. They no doubt have their own peculiar conditions of their own service and in that sense their case is somewhat special. We therefore could not exclude them from our consideration, but we accepted the Government suggestion for the setting up of a one man committee to look into their conditions of service as was done in the 2nd and 3rd Pay Commission. Accordingly, a one man’s Committee under Shri R.R. Savoor was set up vide DGPNT’s Resolution No. 6/29/83 PA.II dated 5.11.1984.”
The argument advanced by the Postal Department that they are outside the civil service except for the purpose of CCS(CCA) Rules (disciplinary purposes) is untenable. That being so, the Gramin Dak Sevaks deserve to be in the purview of the 7th CPC terms of reference. The experiment of getting their wages revised through a one man Committee in the past had resulted in a total deprivation of all benefits other than pay which as civil servants all employees of the Government of India have been bestowed.
The organizations in the Postal Department who represent the Gramin Dak Sevaks will be submitting an elaborate memorandum containing the proposal for wage revision, revision of the existing benefits and allowances including grant of pensionery benefits for GDS. We request the 7th CPC to consider their memorandum and make appropriate recommendations. We also request that the Commission not to agree with the probable suggestion of the Government to set up a separate committee as was done earlier.”
We, therefore, request the Commission to consider the Memorandum submitted by All India Postal Employees Union, GDS (NFPE) and to recommend favourably to the Government to improve the living conditions of lowest paid employees of the Department of Posts.
(b) We also request the Commission to bring the GDS employees of this region at par with other postal employees in respect Special Duty Allowance, CCA, Transport allowance, LTC, Medical facilities etc.
D. K. Debnath Garga Talukdar Saifur Zaman Pankaz Kr Das
Convenor RCC CS R III Assam CS P III Assam CS Admin Union Assam
Biditmoy Barman Mainul Haque Intazur Rahman Pankaj Bharali
CS SBCO Assam CS P IV Assam CS R IV Assam CSGD (NFPE)Assam
Ramani Bhattacharyya B K Sharma Lakhamti Wahlang Uttam Chanda
CS P III NE CS Admin Union NE CS P IV NE CS GDS (NFPE)NE