Friday, November 27, 2015

Rates of Night Duty Allowance w.e.f. 01.07.2015


RBE No.149/2015

New Delhi, dated 23-11-2015

The General Managers/CAOs
All Indian Railways & Prod. Units etc.

Subject: Rates of Night Duty Allowance w.e.f. 01.07.2015

Consequent to sanction of an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance vide this Ministry’s letter No.PC-VI/2008/I/72/1 dated 24.09.2015, the President is pleased to decide that the rates of Night Duty Allowance as notified vide Annexures “A” and “B” of Board’s letter No.E(P&A)II-2015/HW-1 dated 08.06.2015 stand revised with effect from 01.07.2015 as indicated at Annexure “A” in respect of “continuous”, “Intensive”, ‘Excluded’ categories and workshop employees, and as indicated at Annexure ‘B’ in respect of ‘Essentially Intermittent’ categories.

2. This issues with the concurrence of the Finance Directorate of the Ministry of Railways.

(Salim Md. Ahmed)
Dy.Director/E(P&A) II
Railway Board.
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7th Pay Commission’s Report on Child Care Leave

Child Care Leave (CCL) is granted to women employees for a maximum period of years (i.e., 730 days) during their entire service for taking care of their minor children (up to eighteen years of age). There are several demands relating to CCL which include converting the same into “family care” leave, extending the facility to male parents and many representations stressing that it should be extended at least to single male parents. Suggestions have also been received that in cases where the child is differently abled, the clause stipulating that the child should be minor, should be done away with. Single mothers have highlighted their unique problems and requested the Commission for liberalising the grant of CCL.

Interestingly, representations have also been made for discontinuance of the CCL, primarily on the grounds that it disrupts office working and also because it promotes gender discrimination.

When CCL was first introduced by the VI CPC it generated considerable interest as it represented a positive measure benefiting women employees. It also took a while to stabilise and it is seen that as many as five amendments/clarifications were issued within a short period of time. As it stands, it is meant for women employees “for taking care of up to two children whether for rearing the children or looking after their needs like examination, sickness etc.” It is treated akin to Earned Leave and is sanctioned as such. It may not, however, be granted in more than three spells in a calendar year.

In the first two years of its implementation the experience was that women employees tended to treat this as Casual Leave or an extension of the same, and the resultant frequent absences caused disruptions at work. To address this, in September 2010, a clarification was issued stipulating that CCL may not be granted in more than three spells in a calendar year and also that it may not be granted for less than 15 days at a time. However, the latter stipulation was subsequently withdrawn and as per the latest clarification issued on 5 June, 2014 the government has decided to remove the requirement of minimum period of 15 days CCL. It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the capping of maximum three spells in a calendar year has, to some extent, addressed the problems relating to disruption of work.

Notwithstanding that, in the course of discussions with various stakeholders, the sense that has come across is that what was introduced as a welfare measure to help employees in times of need, is seen as a benefit that has to be availed simply because it exists. There is, therefore, a palpable need to bring in some inhibiting feature so as to ensure that only genuinely affected employees avail of this scheme. Towards this end the Commission recommends that CCL should be granted at 100 percent of the salary for the first 365 days, but at 80 percent of the salary for the next 365 days. In making this recommendation the Commission has also kept in mind the fact the concept of a paid (whether 100% or 80%) leave solely for child care for a period of two years, is a liberal measure unmatched anywhere else.

The Commission notes that in the event a male employee is single, the onus of rearing and nurturing the children falls squarely on his shoulders. Hence extension of CCL to single male parents is recommended. Moreover, the Commission recognizes the additional responsibility on the shoulders of employees who are single mothers. Accordingly, it is 365 Index recommended that for such employees, the conditionality of three spells in a calendar year should be relaxed to six spells in a calendar year.
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The Federal Secretariat of NFPE held at NFPE Office, New Delhi on 26-11-2015, reviewed the whole situation prevailing among the postal employees in general and the Gramin Dak Sevaks (GDS) in particular after the submission of the 7th Central Pay Commission Report to the Govt and also after the appointment of a separate committee for GDS by the Govt, headed by a retired Postal Board Member as Chairman.

The Federal Secretariat  further reviewed the proposed two days strike call given by NFPE and AIPEU GDS (NFPE) for realization of the legitimate demands of the Gramin Dak Sevaks, which  include bringing the GDS also under the purview of 7th CPC treating them as Civil Servants.

The main demand of NFPE and AIPEU GDS (NFPE) in the charter of demands submitted to Govt and Postal Board is “inclusion of GDS under the purview of 7th CPC”. NFPE organized series of agitational programmes for the GDS demands including dharnas, hunger fast, GDS Parliament March, Parliament March under the banner of Postal JCA (NFPE & FNPO), one day strike on 12th December 2012 and 48 hours strike on 12th & 13th February 2014. Due to our agitational programmes the Postal Board was compelled to submit the proposal for inclusion of GDS under 7th CPC to Finance Ministry with favourable recommendations. But the Finance Ministry rejected the proposal three times and it is in this background NFPE & AIPEU GDS (NFPE) decided to go for two days strike on December 1st & 2nd demanding the Govt to include GDS under the 7th Pay Commission.

Even though the Govt refused to include the GDS under the 7th CPC, the 7th CPC has suo moto examined the main demand of the GDS ie., treating them as Civil Servants and extending them all the benefits of the departmental employees, ofcourse proportionately. It is most unfortunate that the Pay Commission headed by a retired Supreme Court Justice as Chairman, has considered our demand and categorically stated that Gramin Dak Sevaks are holders of Civil Posts but outside the regular civil service and hence can not be treated at par with other civilian employees. After this observation of the Seventh CPC even if the GDS are included in the 7th CPC they are not going to get a fair deal. This has compelled us to modify the demand placed by us before the Govt in the charter of demands.

NFPE, from the very beginning has opposed the appointment of an Officer Committee for GDS and NFPE & AIPEU GDS (NFPE) has tried their best to prevent appointment of an Officer Committee and compelled the department to make effort for inclusion of GDS under 7th CPC itself. But now NDA Govt rejected our demand and has unilaterally appointed GDS Committee with a retired Postal Board Member as Chairman and cheated three lakh GDS employees. From our past experiences we know that the retired officers of the Postal Department will never do justice to the Gramin Dak Sevaks.

In view of the fact that 7th CPC has rejected our demand for Civil Servant status and also the Govt has unilaterally imposed the officer committee on GDS, the Federal Secretariat felt that it is not appropriate to go for an immediate strike with the demands raised by us in the charter of demands, i.e., inclusion of GDS under 7th CPC. Now GDS can get justice only if NDA Govt take a policy decision to regularize the services of GDS treating them as Civil Servants. Federal Secretariat is fully aware that we can not expect such a decision without the  change in the policy of the Government towards GDS. To make a change in the policy decision of the Govt., a bigger mobilization and strike of all postal employees including GDS with the active support and solidarity of other central Govt employees under the banner of Confederation of Central Govt Employees and workers and also the JCM National Council Staffside organizations is required.

The Federal Secretariat decided to explore all possibilities and wider consultations for such a united struggle. The Federal Secretariat felt that to pave way for wider consultations, the independent strike call of NFPE & AIPEU GDS (NFPE) need to be deferred and all likeminded organizations are to be brought under a common platform. Accordingly Federal Secretariat unanimously decided to defer the proposed two days strike scheduled to be held on 1st & 2nd December 2015.

The Secretary General and all General Secretaries of NFPE shall sit on two days hunger fast in front of Dak Bhawan, New Delhi on 1st & 2nd December 2015 expressing our strong protest to the Govt and also demanding regularization of Gramin Dak Sevaks by granting them civil servant status with all consequential benefits of regular employees.

The Federal Secretariat, while saluting the grass root level workers for their intensive campaign and preparation for the strike, calls upon them to organize one day hunger fast infront of all CPMG / PMG and Divisional Offices throughout the country on 11th December 2015 to ventilate our anger, resentment and strong protest against the callous and inhuman attitude of the NDA Govt towards three lakh Gramin Dak Sevaks who are the backbone of the Postal Department catering to the needs of the rural population of this country in postal sector.

Federal Executive of NFPE will meet shortly  to review the situation and shall decide future course of action.


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7th Pay Commission Report : More flaws than plus points

The much-awaited 7th Pay Commission report was submitted to the government last Thursday. The 900-page long report was perused swiftly within a day or two and criticisms have already started coming.

The very next day of submitting the report, M. Krishnan, the Confederation Secretary, gave a scathing criticism. “No other Pay Commission had submitted such a terrible report,” he said. At the very beginning of the press release, he had mentioned that the backward mindset of the recommendations of the Pay Commission have been a huge disappointment for the Central Government employees.

Contrary to all the wild speculations, a raise of only 14.29 percent was finally given to the Central Government employees. This increment is akin to two installments of the Dearness Allowance. He has strongly stated that more than 50 lakh Central Government employees and Defence Personnel have been cheated.

The 6th Pay Commission recommended 10 percent, 20 percent, and 30 percent House Rent Allowance for ten years starting from 01.01.2006. The intention behind reducing it to 24 percent, 16 percent and eight percent was not explained. Despite being very well aware of the fact that the recommendations will be in effect until 2026, the fact that the Pay Commission had tried to reduce the allocation has left the Central Government employees greatly disappointed.

MACP Promotions: Among the biggest disappointments of the 7th Pay Commission report is the fact that promotions, which are given once every ten years, so not earn any substantial benefits for the employees. They stand to gain only 3 percent hike. Another painful observation is the fact that the gap between Grade Pay 2800 and 4200 has been completely reduced.

The next big disappointment is the method of calculating the dearness allowance. This was one of the much-anticipated parts of the report. There is no clear explanation as to the reason why changes had to be made in the CPI IW BY 2001=100 method, or the 115.76 Factor.

On top of it all, the commission has introduced a new “Pay Matrix.” Our expectations of a detailed explanation about it were never fulfilled. 3 percent of the amount has been rounded off and given for each CELL.

In short, the 7th Pay Commission report is on the receiving end of lot of criticism. Central Government employees are now hoping that the Centre would intervene and do something positive for them.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

New Pension Scheme(NPS) : Analysis of the Issues by the 7th Pay Commission

New Pension Scheme : Analysis of the Issues by the 7th Pay Commission

10.3.12 The Commission has examined these concerns raised by the stakeholders. The Commission also interacted with Chairman, PFRDA, and representatives of the Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare (DPPW), Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Department of Expenditure (DoE) and the Department of Financial Services (DFS).

10.3.13 In so far as the future value of pension under NPS is concerned, the Commission notes that this would depend upon a combination of factors:

(i) performance of the invested fund, which in turn would depend on the asset mix of the investment and general economic situation of the country,
(ii) cost of financial intermediation,
(iii) contribution rates,
(iv) period of contribution,
(v) performance of the fund manager and
(vi) development of the annuity market.

Grievances against the NPS

The NPS has now been in effect for over 10 years. During this period, there has been perceptible progress in putting together the architecture and providing information to subscribers. Major concerns, however, remain. Broadly, these are as under:

i. The larger federations and staff associations advocated scrapping the NPS on the ground that it discriminates between two sets of government employees.

ii. Individuals covered under NPS have pleaded for reverting to the OPS on the grounds of uncertainty regarding the actual value of their future pension in the face of market related risks.

iii. Individuals have pointed out that under NPS, the effective salary becomes less since the employee has to mandatorily contribute 10 percent of pay towards the pension fund.

iv. Individuals have stated that grievance redressal facility is not effective and consultation with stakeholders has been non-existent. This communication gap has generated insecurity in the minds of stakeholders including staff and Group ‘A’ officers of Central Government as well as All India Service Officers.

v. Associations have complained that Family Pension after the death of the employee is not ensured in the NPS. Moreover, if an employee dies at an early age, the family would suffer since annuity from the contribution would be grossly inadequate.

vi. Individuals have complained that NPS subscribers have no recourse to GPF for their savings. Their personal savings (10% of salary) are considered part of a larger corpus. It has been pointed out that the justify approach would be to consider only government’s contribution and the returns earned on it as the effective amount available for purchase of annuities.

vii. Associations have pointed out that unlike the facility under GPF, it is not possible to take refundable advances under NPS, even to meet obligatory social expenditure. This forces employees towards increased indebtedness as they have to borrow from elsewhere.

viii. Grievances also relate to tax treatment under NPS. While contributions and accumulations in NPS are exempt, lump sum withdrawals from NPS at any time are taxable at par with any other income. In addition, there is a service tax liability on any amount utilised for purchase of annuity.

ix. It has been pointed out that though NPS became effective from 2004, detailed instructions were issued only in late 2009 and in many cases the credit of contributions began from 2012. In the case of AIS officers in some States, contributions by the concerned State Government are yet to be fully made and deployed. The net result of this has been that contributions for the period 2004-2012 have not been made in full or have earned simple interest and did not get any market linked returns. Because of the prevailing confusion, contributions made by some AIS officer have been returned to them without interest. This will have a huge impact on the eventual corpus as the benefits of compounding were not available for the first 8 -9 years.

x. Individuals, in their presentation before the Commission, stated that annuities under NPS have no compensation for inflation unlike dearness relief under OPS. Further, in the case of OPS there is a revision in basic pension itself after every Pay Commission. This too is not available in respect of annuity of NPS subscribers.

xi. It has been pointed out that government employees are not given freedom of choice in choosing their fund manager based on performance and track record as the contributions are divided in a pre-specified ratio among selected Pension Fund Managers. It has been stated that government employees have no say in asset allocation of their money.

xii. Concerns were raised that the contribution of 10% + 10% will not be sufficient to create a corpus which provides reasonable assurance that pension will be 50 percent of the last pay drawn.

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