MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO SHRI KAPIL SIBAL, HON`BLE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS &IT BY NFPE ON 08 th JANUARY, 2013
No. NFPE/GENL/2013 Dated 07 -01-2013
Sri. Kapil Sibal,
Hon’ble Minister for Communications & IT,
Government of India,
New Delhi - 110 001.
Sub: Submission of memorandum - Request for grant of time for a meeting with
Hon’ble Minister (C).
This memorandum is submitted with the most fervent hope that your goodself will be condescend to intercede on our behalf to settle the following problems of the Postal and RMS employees including Gramin Dak Sevaks (GDS).
1. (a) Grant of Civil Servant status to the Gramin Dak Sevaks and extending all benefits of the departmental employees to GDS.
(b) Enhancement of Bonus ceiling to 3,500/-, Revision of cash handling norms, Full protection of monthly wages (TRCA), Introduction of Health Scheme, Removal of 50 points condition for compassionate appointments, Filling up of GDS Mailman posts.
2. Stop abolition of about 17093 posts for the year 2005 to 2008 ordered as per Department of Posts OM No.25-12/2008-PE-1 dated 19-11-2012 and restoration of all abolished posts.
3. Revision of wages of Casual, Part-time and contingent employees with effect from 01-01-2006.
4. Remove the restriction of 5% imposed on compassionate appointments and grant of compassionate appointments in all eligible cases as being done in Railways.
5. Cadre restructuring of Group-C, Postmen, Mailguard and MTS employees of Department of Posts.
6. Revision of Overtime Allowance rates.
7. Abnormal delay in grant of HSG-I promotion to eligible officials. An explanatory note on each issues mentioned above is also enclosed herewith as Annexure-I.
We most humbly request the Hon’ble Minister to be kind enough to grant us time for a meeting to present our views on the above items before the Hon’ble Minister.
Awaiting favourable response,
Secretary General, NFPE.
EXPLANATORY NOTE ON ITEMS MENTIONED IN THE MEMORANDUM.
I. (a) Grant of Civil Servant Status to Gramin Dak Sevaks (GDS) and extension of all service benefits of departmental employees to GDS:
Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in its landmark judgement (Rajamma’s case AIR 1977 - SC 1677) has declared that the Extra Departmental Agents (ED Agents - now called as Gramin Dak Sevaks) employed by the Postal Department, though they are not employed on whole-time basis, are holders of civil posts. The Court further ordered that they cannot be termed as “agents” because of their relationship with the Government which is that of master and servant. But the Department of Posts still describes them as agents/sevaks and is not ready to confer “departmental status” on them and to extend all the benefits of the departmental employees to them. The observation made by the Fourth Central Pay Commission headed by Hon’ble Justice Singhal on this issue, is reproduced below, to expose the illegal stand taken by the Postal Department to deny the departmental status to the Gramin Dak Sevaks (formerly ED Agents).
OBSERVATIONS MADE BY FOURTH CENTRAL PAY COMMISSION:
“A letter was received from the Ministry of Communications (P&T Board) for exclusion of Extra Departmental Agents, numbering about three lakhs, from the purview of our inquiry. It was stated that the system of Extra-Departmental Agents was peculiar to the P&T organisation and was designed to extend postal facilities in rural and backward areas where opening of regular departmental Post Office was not justified due to inadequate workload. The remuneration and the conditions of service of Extra Departmental Agents were also different from those of regular employees. The Third Pay Commission accepted the view that Extra Departmental Agents were not holders of civil posts and decided to exclude them from its purview.
The matter is, however, beyond controversy after the decision of Supreme Court in Gokulananda’s case where it has been declared that an Extra Departmental Agents 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 this pronouncement, we were unable to accept the contention that Extra Departmental Employees were outside the purview of the terms of our Commission. They, no doubt, have their own peculiar conditions of service and, in that sense, their case is somewhat special. We therefore could not exclude them from our consideration, but we accepted the Government’s suggestion for
setting up of a one-man committee to look into their conditions of service as was done by the second and third Pay Commissions”. From the above observations, it is crystal clear that the Fourth Pay Commission has concluded that the ED Agents are Civil Servants even though they are kept outside the regular civil service.
OBSERVATIONS MADE BY JUSTICE CHARANJITTALWARCOMMITTEE
In the year 1997, the one man committee appointed by the Government, headed by Retired Justice Charanjit Talwar, to examine the wages and service conditions of the Extra Departmental Agents, made the following recommendations in its report submitted to the Government.
1. “Extra Departmental Agents have to be included within the overall class of Civil Servants, being holders of civil posts. They can be grouped as “Additional” to the departmental employees but they cannot be classified as a class apart from the civil servants. At any rate they cannot be classified with the sole object of not granting them benefits which accrue to a departmental employee”.
2. “The plea taken by the Department before the Second and Third Pay Commission and also before various learned Tribunals that ED Agents are a class apart is entirely misconceived. It is violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution”.
3. “It is not the case of the Department of Posts that in fact a contract of agency between the ED Agent and the Government is executed. It is also not their case, as it cannot be because of the Supreme Court Judgements, that the relationship between the Department and the ED Agent is that of Principal and Agent...... The result of the above discussion is that ED Agents have to be held to be Civil Servants not only for the purpose of Article 311(2) but also as contemplated under Article 311(1). Logically, therefore ED Agents come within the purview of Article 309 of the Constitution”.
The repeated attempt to read Article 311(2) in isolation is entirely misconceived and untenable. ED Agents who are being treated as “outside the regular service” and not to be considered as Civil Servants excepting for the purpose of disciplinary inquiry is unfortunate and is a symbol of continuous exploitation.
We request the Hon’ble Minister that the injustice done to the Gramin Dak Sevaks (formerly called as ED Agents) all along may please be undone by:
(i) Declaring the Gramin Dak sevaks as holders of Civil Servant Status and
(ii) to extend them all the benefits of the departmental employees, such as Pay (now granted only Allowance), Leave (now Earned Leave, Casual Leave, Half Pay leave not granted) Pension, Statutory Gratuity, Advances, Medical Claim, Time bound Promotions, LTC etc. etc.
1. (b)(i) Enhancement of Bonus ceiling - In the matter of enhancement of Bonus Ceiling of Gramin Dak Sevaks, it was assured by Postal Board that another attempt will be made to send the case for approval of the Finance Ministry. It is learnt that Finance Ministry has not approved the proposal, instead sent the file back directing the Department of Posts to reexamine the issue by another committee. It is further learnt that even if the Department submits another proposal after revised study by a Committee, it will be considered for the Financial Year 2013 - 2014 only (ie. next financial year). Hon’ble Minister’s intervention is requested to get justice to the Gramin Dak Sevaks in the Bonus issue.
(ii) Revision of Cash handling norms - On the issue of withdrawl of upward change in cash handling norms, it was assured by the Postal Board that the issue will be re-examined. Minister of Communications for State has also assured the staff side that needful will be done in this case. A committee under the Chairmanship of DDG (Estt.) was also constituted to re-examine the issues arising out of enhancement of cash handling norms. It is requested that the cash handling norms may be reduced to Rs.4,000/- per point instead of Rs.20,000/- per point.
(iii) Ensuring no reduction of wages (TRCA) under any circumstances - It was assured by Minister of Communications for State that positive orders will be issued for full protection of wages (TRCA) of Gramin Dak Sevaks. A committee under the Chairmanship of DDG (Estt) was also constituted to examine the issue. Unfortunately the orders issued by the Department gives protection of TRCA only for one year. Our request is that the existing wages (TRCA) of Gramin Dak Sevaks shall not be reduced under any circumstances. As per the existing orders whenever workload comes down the wages (TRCA) will be protected only for one year and after that existing wages will be reduced.
(iv) Introduction of Health Scheme
It was assured by the Postal Board that the demand for introduction of Health scheme for Gramin Dak Sevaks is accepted by Government in principle. But till this date, the scheme is not implemented. As a result Gramin Dak Sevaks are denied the benefit of Medical reimbursement.
(v) Removal of minimum 50 points condition for compassionate appointment.
(vi) Filling up of all vacant posts of GDS Mailman posts in RMS.
3. Stop abolition of about 17093 posts for the year 2005 to 2008 and restore all the posts abolished:
Department of Posts has recently issued an order No.25-12/2008-PE-1 dated 19-11-2012 abolishing about 17093 posts in different cadres for the year 2005 to 2008. Earlier the Department has assured that efforts will be made to get the approval of the Finance Ministry for filling up these posts, by exempting the Department of posts from the purview of Government orders on the subject. Unlike other department, Department of Posts is an operative department having day-to-day dealings with the general public (customers) through counter services and also through delivery staff. Arbitrary abolition of large scale operative posts will badly effect the day-to-day functioning of the Post offices and will badly tell upon the efficiency of the Postal Services. In most of the offices workload has increased manifold. Department has earlier abolished about 20000 posts for the year from 2001 to 2005. Again 17093 posts are being abolished for the year 2005-2008. We request the Hon’ble Minister to stop abolition of 17093 posts now ordered for abolition and also restore the posts already abolished.
4.Revision of wages of casual, part-time and contingent employees.
Hon’ble Supreme Court has already ordered regulating the wages of the casual workers at the rate of 1/30th of the pay at the minimum of the relevant pay scale plus dearness allowance for the work of eight hours per day. Accordingly after implementation of the 5th CPC recommendations, the Department of Posts has issued orders for payment of pro-rata wages to casual, part-time, contingent employees with effect from 01-01-1996, duly approved by the Department of Personnel & Training vide Order No.1-3/97-PAP dated 03-11-1998. But similar orders are not issued after the implementation of sixth CPC recommendations. The sixth CPC recommendations are implemented with effect from 01-01-2006 and orders were issued in the year 2008. Now four years are over, but still the wages of the casual labourers are not revised at par with sixth CPC pay scales. We request the Hon’ble Minister to issue necessary directions to the Secretary, Department of Posts, in this regard.
5.Remove the restriction of 5% condition imposed on compassionate appointments:
On the plea of Supreme Court directive, the Government introduced a 5% ceiling on the compassionate appointments. When the matter was taken up by the staff side in the National Council JCM the Government was unable to produce any such directive from the Supreme Court. Despite that the official side refused to withdraw the said instructions limiting the compassionate appointments to 5% of the available vacancies. It is pertinent to mention in this connection that the compassionate appointments in the Railways which is also a Central Government Department continue to be operated without any such 5% restrictions. The standing committee on with effect from Department of Personnel in one of their report has termed the scheme of compassionate appointment as a sacred assurance to a fresh entrant that if he dies in harness his family shall not be left in lurch. Such an assurance is being breached by the provisions of limiting such appointments to 5% of Direct Recruitment vacancies. It has to be done away with. We therefore urge the Hon’ble Minister that direction may be issued to do away with this stipulation and compassionate appointments be given to all deserving candidates.
5. Cadre Restructuring of Group-C, Postmen, Mailguard and MTS in various arms of Department of Posts:
After marathon discussions on all the problems put forth by the staff side in a strike charter of demands, the Secretary, Department of Posts in the written minutes of the discussion held on 10-1-2012 & 12-1-2012 interalia stated as follows:
“As recorded in the minutes of the meeting held on 27-12-2011, the proposal is under consideration of a committee under the chairpersonship of DDG(P). The staff side expressed their concern about undue delay in finalisation of the proposal on which the Chairperson desired finalisation of this process by 31st March 2012. It was assured that the timelines would be adhered to”. Again in minutes of the discussions held by the staff side on 21-05-2012, Secretary, Posts further assured as follows”
“It was decided to formulate a proposal by 30th June 2012 for further examination in consultation with the nodal ministries.” In spite of the above mentioned repeated assurances the cadre restructuring proposal is not yet finalised. The undue and unwarranted delay is causing a concern and strong resentment among the employees. We request the Hon’ble Minister to take action for speedy finalisation of the cadre restructuring proposal.
6. Revision of overtime allowance (OTA) rates Overtime allowance is granted when employees are ordered to do work beyond their duty hours with certain stipulated conditions. The overtime allowance is last revised in the year 1987. Thereafter no revision took place. The Board of Arbitration appointed under the JCM scheme having found the unreasonable position taken by the Government gave out the award in favour of the employees and directed the Government to revise the OTA whereby OTA will be linked to the actual pay of the Government employees. The Government has not implemented this award till date. We request the Hon’ble Minister take necessary action to get the OTA rates revised.
7. Abnormal delay in grant of HSG-I promotions to eligible officials HSG-I promotion is not being granted to eligible officials for the last four years. The reason stated by the Department of Posts is that the new HSGI Recruitment rules are under issue and hence the holding of DPC for HSG-I promotions are kept in abeyance. This reply is being repeated for the last three years. Our request to grant HSG-I promotions as per the existing Recruitment rules and fil up all the vacancies has not yet been considered favourably. The revised recruitment rules can be applied prospectively from the date of issue of the Revised Recruitment Rules (RRR) and the existing vacancies can be filled up by holding DPC as per the existing Recruitment rules. We request the Hon’ble Minister to issue necessary directions to the Department of Posts in this regard, as many senior officials are retiring every month without getting their due promotions and consequent increase in pension, for no fault of them.