Friday, January 28, 2011

Revised submissions on Central Excise Cadre Restructure on 26.1.2011


Ref. No. AICESTMOA/11-02.
Dated :       Jan’ 2011

The Chairman,
Central Board Excise & Customs,
Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance,
Government of India, North Block,
New Delhi - 1

Respected Sir,
Subject: Demands of the Ministerial Officers –
                           ongoing Cadre restructuring exercise- regarding.
* * * *

This is with reference to the discussion that took place in the meeting, held on 18.01.2011 at North Block, on the captioned subject.

2. This association expresses its gratitude to the Hon’ ble Chairman, Member(P&V), DGHRD and Team of HRD officials for enlightening us about various aspects of draft Cadre restructuring proposals vis-à-vis our demands, submitted on 24-11-2010 through Joint Action Committee. However, we were stunned and extremely shocked to learn that none of our major proposals, concerning the well-being and survival of the entire ministerial cadre, has found place in the revised draft proposals. Further, the reasons put forth for rejection/ non-consideration of the genuine demands related to this Association are not acceptable.

3. Aggrieved by the decision and as desired by the Hon’ble Chairman (CBEC), we once again place the following demands for inclusion in the ongoing cadre restructuring proposals, which were also ventilated during the meeting on 18.01.2011. It appears that the Board has assumed and is under the impression that creation of large number of posts in the executive grade, which is a by-product of the cadre restructuring, alone will satisfy the aspirations of the entire Ministerial cadre, ignoring the genuine concerns put forth by this Association for removing the stagnation in the level of DOS and AOs. It is humbly submitted that it will be very difficult to address those genuine grievances of the ministerial cadre across the country, unless the minimum following demands are met with.

4. The demands to be incorporated in the cadre restructuring proposal are;

I. Restructuring of Administrative wing in accordance with the recommendations of 6th CPC can be implemented through cadre restructuring only. We sincerely believe that the cadre restructuring exercise should not merely be a statistical one, but it should also embody a cadre policy as envisaged by an expert body like 6th CPC. Therefore, the following hierarchical structure in the Administrative wing of the CBEC may be done beyond the grades of Tax Assistant & Senior Tax Assistant.

Sl. No. Name of posts Grade Pay No. of Posts Place of posting

1 Principal Administrative Officer Rs.7600/- 66 Chief Commissioner’s Office (1 each)

2 Administrative Officer Grade-I Rs.6600/- 442 Commissionerate Hdqrs. (2 each)

3 Administrative Officer Grade-II Rs.4800/- 1564 Divisional Offices & Hdqrs. Offices

4 Administrative Officer Grade-III Rs.4600/- 1986 Sections and field formations


(a) The 6th Pay Commission in its report vide Chapter 3.1 has recommended parity between Hdqrs. organisations and field formations. It has recommended a model cadre structure in para 3.1.14, for field formation / non-secretariat Organizations, drawing parity of the recommended cadre structure for the Hdqrs. organization in para 3.1.9. Both the paragraphs are reproduced verbatim in Annexure – I. This particular dispensation has been categorically recommended for ministerial officers in CBEC/ CBDT by the 6th CPC vide para 7.15.14 which is enclosed as Annexure-II. This very paragraph has been referred to by the Department of Expenditure while dealing with the grade pay of Administrative Officer, DOS etc. as conveyed by CBEC vide F.No.A.26017/92/2008.Ad.II.A dated 09-09-2010. Noteworthy is the fact that the Government has hiked the Grade Pay of Assistants vide O.M. dated 16-11-2009 of Department of Expenditure, drawing parity with the similarly placed officers in the field formations. However the DOS in CBEC, despite being similarly placed with Assistant is still languishing in Rs.4200/- in PB-2. Thus the recommendations of 6th CPC as contained in 3.1.14 can be implemented only through the ongoing cadre restructuring process by way of assigning Grade Pay of Rs.4600/- in PB – 2 to A.O. Grade – III (to be created by re-designation of D.O.S.) on par with the Assistants in Hdqrs. organizations who have been allowed Rs.4600/- in PB – 2.

(b) The Recruitment Rule for the post of DOS was notified in July 2009 much after implementation of 6th CPC where the pay scale of both the feeder grade (STA) and the Promotional grade (DOS) has been shown as being the same (Grade Pay of Rs.4200/-). As a result the STA & DOS (one being feeder & another promotional post) are in the same Grade Pay and the promotion from STA to DOS brings no financial benefit. This distortion can be addressed by favourably considering the above proposed hierarchical structure in the Cadre Restructuring proposal. The relevant recommendations of 6th CPC contained in Para 3.1.4 is enclosed in Annexure-III. Further, the grade of STA & DOS has been shown together in the draft proposal which is demeaning the higher grade. It is submitted that they should be shown separately, as one post i.e., DOS is the supervisory grade for the other.

(c) The ratio for promotions to the higher grade as per the proposed structure is not a favourable one, as is being made out in the draft proposal and the presentation made by the HRD. There will be 221 posts of CAO for 1564 posts of AO, which is in the ratio of 1:8. Some of the AOs have put in more than 12 to 15 years of service in the same grade and have completed 25-30 years of service in the Ministerial cadre itself. If these Officers are to get any relief in the proposed restructuring, then the hierarchical structure needs a definitive change as proposed by this Association. On the one hand the Board had recommended for grant of higher Grade Pay of Rs.4600/- & Rs.4800/- for the posts of DOS and AO respectively, and simultaneously arguing that such an increase of pay cannot be considered in the Cadre Restructuring proposal. Further, the ADG, HRD who represented the Official side in the Departmental Anomaly Committee is aware of the statement made by the Chairman of the Anomaly Committee that though this is a genuine grievance the issue should be considered outside the purview of the Anomaly Committee. Therefore, the only option which is left open for the Board to set right this injustice is to restructure the hierarchical structure of these Ministerial posts as proposed by this Association in consonance with the recommendations made by the 6th CPC.

(d) Based upon the recommendations of 6th CPC quoted above, the above structure of the administrative set up in CBEC is demanded. Such a set up will strengthen the administrative wing and improve the functional efficiency that is required and necessary for implementation of the Government policies on personnel matters. The contention of the Board that the organisational structure depends on the requirements of the department and that there is no justification to replicate the staffing model of CBDT is bizarre. Such a statement leads to the conclusion that the Ministerial cadre of CBEC are not supposed to compare themselves with the Executive officers in the same department, neither with the comparable organisation like CBDT nor with the Headquarters Organisation like CSS. It appears that the motive of the Board is that forever the Ministerial grade will have to remain confined to the unilateral decisions of the Board and languish in the present level or even worse.

(e) The fruits of such a step-motherly treatment are already being reaped by way of large number of posts in the grade of DOS remaining unfilled for want of willing candidates. If the same pattern continues and remain unaltered in the current proposal then the days of existence of the Ministerial cadre in this department can be numbered. It is also pertinent to mention that the large number of vacancies in the grade of DOS remain unfilled is due to the fact that there is a distorted pay structure for the Ministerial cadre vis-à-vis the executive cadre. The said distortion can only be set right by restructuring the existing hierarchical structure of the Ministerial grade as proposed hereinabove. Such restructuring alone can bring about a change and be a deterrent to large scale migration from ministerial cadre to executive cadre and resurrect the dying ministerial cadre. Otherwise the administrative functions in the filed formation will completely collapse for which CBEC may find it very difficult to explain in future.

II. It had been stated that abolition of posts is a must as it is a commitment made to the Union Cabinet made at the time of creation of 4647 posts in various grades during the Year, 2007. It is seen from the said allocation of posts that, apart from creation of certain number of posts in various cadres, 12 posts of AOs, 234 DOS, 58 STAs and 272 TAs have been created in the Ministerial cadre. Therefore it is clear that there has been corresponding increase in the Ministerial strength even in the said allocation. To curtail the number of posts by way of abolishment higher number of posts in the Ministerial cadre, thereby adversely affecting the administrative functions is uncalled for. Not only that the posts which remain unfilled for the past 10 years even without framing of Recruitment Rules are left untouched while the promotional posts like STA, DOS are proposed to be abolished is unjustified. It is requested that this decision be reconsidered in the right perspective.

(b) The existing Ministerial strength is 12,676 out of the total strength of 66,808 which is 19%. The proposed ministerial strength in the cadre restructuring is 14,396 out of a total proposed strength of 95,168 which is 15%. The reduction is amply evident. The HRD has factored the present vacancy position without paying heed to the functional necessity of the field formations and the administrative difficulties that are being experienced by them. The present vacancy position is the outcome of delayed recruitment and discriminatory pay structure of the ministerial cadre. As a result the existing ministerial officers are overburdened and saddled with additional work thereby leading to the Administrative functions taking a severe beating and unwanted delays.

(c) The total net increase in the ministerial grade is 1720 out of which the increase in the number of post of LDC is to the extent of 1009. This increase is not going to benefit the ministerial cadre and meet the functional requirements as the recruitment to the grade of LDC is by 100% promotion from Group ‘D’ cadre. It is being experienced that after implementation of the 6th CPC the Group ‘D’ Officers are not accepting the promotions to the grade of LDC due to the fact that they are already receiving higher Pay than that of LDC by way of financial upgradations. Thus it may not be realistic to expect that these posts can be filled up by 100% promotion from Group ‘D’.

(d) It is also worthwhile to mention that the Board has already proposed separate promotional channel for the erstwhile Group-D officers upto a grade pay of Rs.2400 in PB – 1, as disclosed in the meeting held on 18-01-2011. Therefore instead of creation of post in the LDC grade (which may be completely abolished in the event of creation of separate channel for erstwhile Group-D), the strength in TA & STA be substantially enhanced in Executive, Audit and Cadre controlling Commissionerates equivalent to the number of LDC posts that are likely to be abolished. The staffing norms for each commissionerate needs be improved upon particularly with reference to the grades of STA & TA, since the present structure is worse than the normative structure, suggested by study Group-I & II. The creation of Audit Commissionerates, as factored by HRD, to arrive at a reduced staffing pattern is not applicable for ministerial grades as there is not many ministerial posts (particularly in DOS & STA), proposed for the Audit Commissionerates.

III. The strength of Ministerial Officers for the Customs Preventive Commissionerate envisaged in the draft proposals are as under.

1. Administrative Officer – 2
2. Deputy Office Superintendent – 3
3. Senior Tax Assistant - 12
4. Tax Assistant - 24

It is extremely difficult to imagine that such a meager sanctioned strength can meet the requirements of the administrative work-load of the Customs preventive formation, manned by the Central Excise Personnel.

The number in each grade should be increased in the following manner in each Customs Division and Customs Circle. The total strength of entire Commissionerate, would therefore be required to be calculated by multiplying the number of the Customs Division & Customs Circle with the number of strength (proposed as under) for each Division & Circle, apart from providing equal strength of staff for the Commissionerate Hqrs., similar to an Executive Commissionerate.

1. Administrative Officer – 1
2. Deputy Office Superintendent – 1
3. Senior Tax Assistant - 4
4. Tax Assistant - 4

IV. HRD has already assured that all the newly created posts would be filled up by promotion only. It is requested to fill up all posts including Direct Recruitment & carried forward vacancies on the day of implementation of restructuring proposal, by promotion only, as done in the last cadre restructuring. Relaxation in the eligibility service may also be granted to promote officers and this may come as part of cadre restructuring proposal. Moreover, the demand for increase in the promotional quota also remains unaddressed.

V. Last but not the least, during the course of discussion , it was brought to this Association’s notice that there is a possibility of upgrading the post of Inspector who have put in more than 10 years of service to the post of Superintendent on in-situ basis, which proposal too would be detrimental to the interests of our cadre.

The examination of the above demands is a must to mitigate rankling grievance of the frustrated ministerial cadre. We request and hope that these demands will be favourably considered in the right spirit thereby boosting the morale of those officers who have been sincerely and dedicatedly working for the Department for more than 3 decades.

Yours faithfully,
(Aasim Pramanick)

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