Saturday, January 31, 2009

No end to strike in sight as Bihar govt refuses to budge

Even as the indefinite strike of the over 2.5 lakh strong non-gazetted employees, secretariat staff, grade four employees and several other groups and associations entered the 24th day on Friday, both CM Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi did not appear too keen on engaging the trade unions in talks to end the stalemate.

After the conclusion of the oath-taking ceremony held at Rajbhawan for the restoration of former transport minister Ramanand Singh to his post, CM Nitish Kumar, when asked about the ongoing indefinite stir, evaded a direct reply, saying that Modi was in the saddle to handle it. "Modiji kahenge us par (Modiji will make a statement on that)," Nitish said, and turned to come out of Rajbhawan.

Modi, however, chose not to get drawn into it. The implied meaning was that the government had already explained its position on the demand of the striking employees and staff with regard to implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations for them. The government, having explained the financial stakes involved, has resorted to punitive measures to bring the strikers in line.

To add to that, Modi had earlier said that strike had been going on under the influence of the Left-inspired trade unions. The Left Front government in West Bengal had constituted a committee to look into the demands of the employees for the implementation of the Centre's pay package and removal of anomalies for its staff and employees. The Bihar government has also taken the same route, Modi has been reiterating.

Meanwhile, the striking employees, present in large number in front of the Vikas Bhawan (New Secretariat), held protest demonstrations and rallies, and also burnt effigies of the Nitish Kumar government. Their leaders, including Rambali Prasad, Anil Kumar Singh and Manjul Kumar Das, appealed to the government to abandon "rajhath (state power's obstinacy)" and not resort to repressive measures.

Significantly, Uttarakhand (Parvatiya) Karmachari Shikshak Sangathan has given its fraternal support to the ongoing strike here. Its general secretary Navendu Mathpal appealed to the government to take immediate measures for the amicable solution to the demands of the strikers. Besides, Employees' & Officers' Association of Patna High Court also extended "moral support" to them and their cause.

Source : Times of India.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Enhancement of House Rent Allowance from the present 15% to 30% of University/ Degree College Teachers working in Greater Hyderabad.

HIGHER EDUCATION (UE.II) DEPARTMENT
G.O. Ms. No. 9 Dated:28.1.2009.

1. G.O.Ms.No. 246, Higher Education (UE.II.1) Department, dt. 31.8.1999.
2. Office Memorandum No. 2(21)/2007-E.II(B), dt. 31.8.2007 of Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, New Delhi.
3. From the Secretary General, A.P. Federation of University Teachers Association (APFUTA), Hyderabad representation Dt. 22.10.2007 and 3.3.2008.

***
O R D E R :

In the G.O.1st read above, orders were issued allowing the Govt. of India rates of D.A., HRA and CCA to the Teaching Staff, who are allowed UGC Pay Scales 1996 in the State, as the Pay Scales are of Govt. of India pattern.

2. In the reference 2nd read above, Govt. of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, New Delhi have issued orders that consequent upon re-constitution of the area of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and re-naming it as Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation with the addition of certain areas within its municipal limits vide Notification dated 16.4.2007 of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, the population of ‘Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’ has increased and therefore qualifies for classification as ‘A-1’ class city for the purpose of House Rent Allowances/Compensatory (City) Allowance to the Central Government employees. Accordingly, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation shall stand classified as ‘A-1’ class city for the purpose of grant of House Rent Allowance/Compensatory (City) Allowance to the Central Government employees posted in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and with effect from 1st September, 2007.

3. In the reference 3rd read above, the A.P. Federation of University Teachers Association (APFUTA) Hyderabad has requested the State Government to issue necessary orders enhancing the rate of HRA of the Teachers drawing UGC Scales in Grater Hyderabad from the present 15% to 30% without any ceiling on par with the Central Government Employees.

4. Government after careful examination, hereby order revising the rates of HRA from 15% to 30% of basic pay without any ceiling to the teaching staff of the Universities and Govt. Degree/Aided Colleges, who are working in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits and allowed the revised U.G.C. Scales of pay 1996 in the State vide G.O. Ms. No. 208, Higher Education (UE.II.1) Department, dt. 29.6.1999. These orders shall come into force with effect from 01.11.2007. The monetary benefit from 01.1.2009 shall be payable in cash along with the salary of January, 2009 payable in February, 2009. The arrears for the period from 01.11.2007 to 31.12.2008 shall be credited to General Provident Fund Accounts of the employees.

This order issues with the concurrence of Finance (Expr. HE) Department vide their U. O. No.1513 /23 /Expr.HE /2009, dt.23.1.2009.

(BY ORDER AND IN THE NAME OF THE GOVERNOR OF ANDHRA PRADESH)

G. SUDHIR
PRINCIPAL SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT (FAC)

To
The Registrars of Universities
Osmania University, Hyderabad.
Acharya N.G. Ranga Agril. University, Hyderabad.
Potti Sree Ramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad.
J.N.T.U., Hyderabad.
The Secretary, University Grants Commission,
Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002.
The Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Human Resources
Development Department, Dept of Education, New Delhi-110001.

Copy to:-
The Secretary, A.P. State Council of Higher Education, Hyderabad.
The Commissioner of Collegiate Education, AP, Hyderabad.
The Director of Local Fund Audit, AP, Hyderabad.
The Director of Information and Public Relations, AP, Hyderabad.
The Pay and Accounts Officer, A.P., Hyderabad.
The Accountant General(A&E), A.P, Hyderabad.
The Secretary General, A.P. Federation of University Teachers
Association (APFUTA), Hyderabad.
The General Secretary, Affiliated College Teachers’ Association,
Andhra Pradesh (ACTA,AP), Hyderabad.
The Finance (Expr-HE)Department.
OSD to Minister (HE)
P.S to Special Secretary to C.M
P.S to Principal Secretary (HE)
Stock File/Spare Copy

//FORWARDED :: BY ORDER//
SECTION OFFICER


Source : AP.AIDED DEGREE COLLEGE LECTURERS' ASSOCIATION

Teachers’ mass leave paralyses Punjab colleges, universities

Academic activity was completely paralysed in colleges and universities across Punjab and Chandigarh Wednesday following a mass casual leave protest by teachers in the region.The Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (PFUCTO) served a 10-day ultimatum to the Punjab government to notify the revised pay-scales for college and university teachers.

Hundreds of college and university teachers converged here to hold a protest rally. They are demanding increased pay from the state government as per the new scale announced last month by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and approved and notified by the union human resource development ministry.

Nearly 10,000 teachers in 170 private aided colleges, 54 government colleges and all five universities in Punjab and Chandigarh went on a one-day mass casual leave.

The strike affected over 200,000 students in higher educational institutions in the region.

“Eighty percent of funds will be released by the central government and the Punjab government has to contribute only 20 percent. Why is the government delaying that?” PFUCTO general secretary Jagwant Singh said to IANS.

“We have given the Punjab government 10 days to implement the new scales. Otherwise, we will intensify our agitation,” Singh said.

Teachers in Punjab pointed out that the state governments in neighbouring Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are already in the process of implementing the new pay scales for teachers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

West Bengal Teacher’s will be getting paid as per UGC

The West Bengal Govt. will implement the UGC pay panel’s recommendations, the state finance minister said on Sunday. The salaries of nearly 15,000 college and university teachers in the state will go up.

 

It may be mentioned than 80% of the exchequer is being born by the central govt. and the rest 20% by the state itself.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Armed Forces battle with 6th Pay Commission continues

The armed forces have asked the government to withdraw a controversial order stopping Lt Colonels from being sent on deputation. In a letter dated January 14, a copy of which is with India Today, the services say that not doing so will cause man management problems and reduce the army's combat worthiness.

A government order dated December 31, 2008 had elevated Lt Colonels into the Pay Band 4 created by the Sixth Pay Commission, but asked the armed forces to send out officers equivalent to Major and Colonel (one rank above and below Lt Colonel, respectively) instead.

"Due to the government order, in one stroke, these vacancies on deputation have become unavailable to the services. Retaining such officers in units will lead to man management problems and thus reduce their combat worthiness," says the January 14 letter from Vice Admiral D.K. Dewan, Chairman of the Principal Personnel Officers Committee.

The letter puts forth a series of arguments against banning Lt Colonels from deputations –from arguing that it would create a series of anomalies in fixing the pay of Lt Colonels and equivalents to the fact that they were against the principles of natural justice.

Lt Colonels and their equivalent form the largest percentage of cadre strength in the armed forces officers and spend from 13 to 26 years in service. Hence, posting them on deputation is an inescapable necessity, the letter states. Lt Colonels/equivalent with more than 17/18 years of service are non-empanelled for promotion. In order to maintain a youthful profile and to ensure that officers in the units are junior to Commanding Officers, senior Lt Colonels and their equivalent are posted on staff, Extra Regimental Employment and deputation.

Presently, approximately 2100 Lt Colonels and their equivalent ranks (Commanders, Wing Commanders) are on deputation. The armed forces say they cannot spare so many equivalent officers on deputation. They already have a shortage of Majors and Colonels and their equivalents are needed to man key operational appointments.

The letter says denying PB-4 to Lt Colonels on deputation will have 'long term adverse implications on the officer cadre management of the services and combat worthiness of the units. Further, it will reduce efficacy of the organisations to which Lt Colonels are posted as they are user representatives and involved in joint research, development, production and training in organizations such as the DGQA, DRDCO, Ordnance factories and NCC.

The letter notes that the government order is against the spirit of the Ajai Vikram Singh committee report which recommended a youthful profile for the armed forces.

The letter questions the concept of 'combat ready' or 'ready-to-combat' jobs as mentioned in the January letter from the PMO. "Even ships, units and establishments located in peace stations are always in operational readiness. In an era of asymmetrical warfare, this aspect becomes more relevant as the recent Mumbai terror attacks have proved, when units of the army, navy and air force were pressed into action at the shortest notice possible," the letter states.

Source : India Today

Friday, January 23, 2009

Employees in Maharastra protest delay in implementation of 6th pay commission

The Maharashtra State Rajpatrit Adhikari Mahasangh (MSRAM) held agitations across the state on Thursday to protest against the delay in implementation of the 6th pay commission in the state. 

"The gazetted officers and employees from various departments participated in the agitation," said Ravindra Dhongde, president of MSRAM. 

"The state cabinet had assured us the benefits under the 6th pay commission due since January 2006. However, it has failed in taking any decision," Dhongde said. 

Adding that the government lacks the will to revise wages, Dhongde said, "in the current financial year, the government made an allocation of only Rs 7,000 against the revised wages. The MSRAM had submitted various proposals before the state for implementation of the 6th pay commission recommendations. However, the government has neither approached the organisation nor called a meeting on the matter."

Source : Times of India.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

U'khand Govt extends benefits of 6th Pay Commission to employees

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Uttarakhand Government has extended the benefits of the Sixth Pay Commission, heaping in a bonanza for over 11,000 teachers and non-teaching staff and provided grade pay to 1.63 lakh employees.
The decision to implement the new pay report would put an additional burden of over Rs 4,000 crore in terms of arrears and payment of salaries till the end of this fiscal. 

The total budget of the state in the current fiscal is approximately Rs 5,600 crore. 

Besides this, the Uttarakhand Cabinet has also declared benefits such as Assured carrer  Progression (ACP) and increase in House Rent Allowance for its employees.

At present, the state government has 1,63,000 employees and 65,000 jobs were still lying vacant.


source : UNI

PSU bank employees on 2 days strike from Feb 25


Employee unions of 28 public sector banks, on Friday, decided to go ahead with the proposed two-day strike from February 25 and an indefinite strike from the last week of March.
  
The decision follows the failure of talks with Indian Banks Association (IBA) and the government on merger of public sector banks, pension, outsourcing, compassionate appointments and recruitments.
  
The tripartite meeting in New Delhi, which went on for seven hours on Friday, was attended by the Chief Labour Commissioner, representatives of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and IBA representatives.
 
 C H Venkatachalam, convenor, UBFU, said: "The talks have failed... we are going ahead with the strike as planned."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coal India Employees wage pact to be signed on 24th January

Coal India may be forced to to raise prices next year to partially meet the increased wage bill.

 The Govt. will sign a new wage pact with Coal India employees on 24th January.Coal India has more than five lakh non executive employees. Under the new wage agreement, the workmen will get 24% pay hike. As per the eighth national wage settlement for Coal India employees, they  will have a retrospective effect, - from July 2006 for workmen and January 2007 for officers.

 According to Union minister of state for coal Santosh Bagrodia, the revised wages will put an additional burden of Rs 5000 crores on Coal India.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Govt. set up Anomaly Committee to settle anomalies in pay.

The Government has released orders for constituting National Anomaly Committee and Departmental Anomaly Committees for settlement of anomalies arising out of implementation of 6th CPC recommendations.

No.11/2/2008-JCA

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Dated the 12th January, 2009 
Subject:- Setting up of Anomaly Committee to settle the Anomalies arising out of the implentationof the 6th CPC recommendations. 
Definition of AnomalyAnomaly will inculde the folllwing cases:
(a) Where the Official Side and the Staff Side are of the opinion that any recommendation is in contravention of the principle or the policy enunciated by the 6th CPC itself without the Commissionassigning any reason: and 
(b) Where the maximum of the revised scale is less than the amount at which one is entitled to be fixed except in those cases where the same is as a result of modified fixation formula adopted by theGovernment and 
(c) Where the amount of revised allowance is less than the existing rate. 
(2) Composition: There will be 2 levels of Anomaly Committees, National and Departmental, consisting of reprensentativesof the Official Side and the Staff Side of the National Council and the Departmental Council respectively. 
(3) The Departmental Anomaly Committee may be chaired by the Additional Secretary (Admn.) or the JointSecretary (Admn.), if there is no post of Additional Secretary (Admn.). Financial Adviser of the Ministry/Departmentshall be one of the Members of the Departmental Anomaly Committee. 
(4) The National Anomaly Committee will deal with anomalies common to two or more Departments and inrespect of common categories of employees. The Departmental Anomaly Committee will deal with anomaliespertaining exclusively to the Department concerned and having no repercussions on the employees of anotherMinistry/Department in the opinion of the Financial Adviser. The items already taken up by the Fast Track Committeewill not be considered by the Anomaly Committee. 
(5) The Anomaly Committee shall receive anomalies through Secretary, Staff Side of respective Council upto six months from the date of its constitution an it will finally dispose of all the anomalies within a period of one yearfrom the date of its constitution. Any recommendations of the Anomaly Committee to resolve the anomaly shallto the approval of the Govenment. 
(6) Cases where there is a dispute about the definition of "anomaly" and those where there is a disagreementthe staff side and the official side on the anomaly will be referred to and "Arbitrator" to be appointed out of apanel of names proposed by the two sides. However, this arbitration will not be a part of the JCM scheme. 
(7) The Arbitrator so appointed shall consider the disputed cases arising in the Anomaly Committees at the National as well as Departmental level. 
(8) Orders regarding appointment of the Arbitrator and constitution of Anomaly Committee at NationalLevel will be issued separately. 
(9) All Ministries/Departments are accordingly requested to take urgent action to set up the Anomaly Committeesfor settlement of anomalies arising out of implementation of the 6th CPC recommendations as stipulated above.


Central Govt. Employees may get 22% Dearness Allowance from January 2009

Look here for probable D.A. from January 2010.

Look Here for D.A w.e.f 01.07.2009

All India Consumer Price Index Number for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) on base 2001=100 for the month of November, 2008 remained stationary at 148 (one hundred and fortyeight).
During November, 2008, the index recorded maximum increase of 5 points each in Quilon and Madurai centres, 3 points each in Mysore, Ernakulam, Bhilwara and Coonoor centres, 2 points in 13 centres and 1 point in 14 centres. The index decreased by 1 point in 19 centres and 2 points each in Jalandhar, Nasik, Bhavnagar, Siliguri, Asansol and Howrah centres, while in remaining 20 centres the index remained stationary.
The maximum increase of 5 points in Quilon centre is mainly due to Fish, Fresh Vegetable Items and Washing Soap etc., while that in Madurai centre is mainly due to Rice and Vegetable Items. The increase of 3 points each in Mysore, Ernakulam, Bhilwara and Coonoor centres is due to Rice, Onion, Fish Fresh, Vegetable Items, Tea Readymade, Toilet Soap etc. While the decrease of 2 points each in Jalandhar, Nasik, Bhavnagar, Siliguri, Asansol and Howrah centres is due to decrease in the prices of Vegetable items, Mustard Oil, Groundnut Oil etc.

The point to point rate of inflation for the month of November, 2008 remained constant 10.45% at the level of October, 2008.
The CPI-IW for December, 2008 will be released on the last working day of the next month, i.e. 30th January, 2009.

All India Consumer Price Index Industrial Workers BASE YEAR 2001 = 100
MonthBase year 2001=100Total of 12 Months12 Month Average% Increase over 115.76 for DA
Nov20071341562130.1712.45
Dec20071341569130.7512.95
Jan-20081341576131.3313.45
Feb-20081351583131.9213.96
Mar20081371593132.7514.68
Apr-20081381603133.5815.39
May20081391613134.4216.12
Jun-20081401623135.2516.84
Jul-20081431634136.1717.63
Aug20081451646137.1718.50
Sep-20081461659138.2519.43
Oct-20081481673139.4220.44

Expected Dearness Allowance for Central Government Employees from 1.1.2009 - 22%

Source : Our own source and 'Swamy's News, January,2009.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Punjab to implement Fifth pay commission soon

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Sunday said the state would soon implement report of Fifth pay commission. 

"The government is expecting commission's report in next 20 days and we will implement immediately whenever we get the report," Badal said here today. 

Fifth Pay Commission was constituted in December 2006 by previous Congress government headed by Capt. Amarinder Singh and its terms of reference had been issued by the Governor in March 2008. 

The four member Pay Commission is headed by retired IAS office S K Tuteja. The commission will decide the date of effect thereof that should govern the structure of pay, allowances and other facilities/benefits, whether in cash or in kind, to all categories of employees of Punjab Government. 

However the employees whose scales of pay have been determined on the recommendations of the University Grants Commission will not be considered by the Commission. 

Manpreet Badal has claimed that Punjab government has been giving money to Punjab State electricity Board in instalments for supplementing the expense of board on free power to agricultural and for other categories. 

When he was asked to comment on regarding downsizing the security cover to VVIPs in Punjab, he said it was the need of hour and we should cut the expenses from top level for the cash strapped state. 

Source : Zee News.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sixth Pay Commission: Bardhan urges Nitish to hold talks with striking staff

CPI general secretary A B Bardhan appealed to the Nitish Kumar government to take proper initiative to hold dialogue with the striking employees to end the 10-day indefinite strike of the non-gazetted employees, secretariat staff and fourth 
grade employees. 

The indefinite strike began on January 7, demanding implementation of the Central Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. In between, the finance department officials held talks with associations of employees which had not gone on strike.

Bardhan said that the government should enter into dialogue with the representatives of striking employees and accede to their demands. "Their demand is simple. They want cent per cent implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations," 
Bardhan said.

According to him, several states had implemented it. CPI parliamentary party leader Gurudas Das Gupta, who, along with CPI state secretary Badri Narayan Lal, accompanied Bardhan, said that the West Bengal government had also been holding talks with the employees. "Why not Bihar?" Bardhan asked, adding: "We have never said that Bihar should always remain behind. In some matters, Bihar should be ahead."

Later, Das Gupta, who is also the general secretary of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), addressed the rally of the Bihar State Road Transport Corporation Employees' Federation held on the premises of the State Transport Corporation. Das 
Gupta said that the demands of the transport corporation employees were genuine, and, therefore, the government should implement the order of Supreme Court with regard to their demands. 

Source : Times of India.

Grade A IIT officers seek pay revision

fter the teachers of central universities, it's the Grade A officers of all the seven IITs, who are seeking pay revision. The members of the All IITs Group A Officers Federation (AIITGAOF) are meeting in IIT Kanpur on Sunday to plan their agitation for the same. 

As per the statement released by AIITGAOF president B N Yadav, the salary of the non-teaching staff of IITs is not at par with the UGC's teaching staff after the Sixth Pay Commission. Yadav stated the pay revision being implemented for the non-teaching staff as proposed by the MHRD is lopsided.

Source : Times of India.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pay hike for UPSC, CVC staffers gets cabinet nod

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the decision to revise payscales of heads and members of Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). 

This was decided at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by PM Manmohan Singh. Home minister P Chidambaram told reporters after the meeting the new scales had been approved in light of the sixth pay commission recommendations. 

The Cabinet also gave its nod to bring the pay scales of faculty of Kolkata-based Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) on par with that of scientists of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. The Cabinet approved a proposal to de-link the pay scales of professors, associate professors and assistant professors of ISI from the UGC pay scales. 

The Cabinet approved a proposal for signing an agreement between India and Macedonia for exemption of visa requirements for diplomatic passport holders. 
Source : Times of India

The Cabinet also cleared creating a joint secretary's post in the department of pharmaceuticals. This department was constituted on July 1 last year with a view to promote the pharmaceuticals sector. 

IIT pay scale for statistics hubs

Director Sankar K. Pal at the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, today received a fresh incentive that he says may help coax promising faculty from India and abroad to join the 77-year old institution.

The Union cabinet today approved a proposal to de-link pay scales of scientists at the ISI, Calcutta, and its centres in Bangalore and New Delhi, from the University Grants Commission, and upgrade them to those at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

The new scales will apply to assistant professors, associate professors and professors at the ISI. “We’re happy,” Pal said. “Now we will be able to compete (for faculty) against some of India’s other premier institutions on equal terms.”

Pal said an assistant professor at the ISI draws a base salary of Rs 10,000, in contrast to a base salary of Rs 12,000 for an assistant professor at the IISc, Bangalore, which follows the same scales as the Indian Institutes of Technology.

The Centre had notified new pay scales for UGC institutions on January 1, 2009, which effectively will raise the base salary of an assistant professor to Rs 22,200.

However, a government-appointed committee tasked with formulating revised pay scales for the IISc and the IITs is expected to submit its recommendations next month. If the government accepts them, the scales for these institutions will also go up.

Over the past three years, Pal said, 10 to 12 candidates among 38 offered positions at one of the three ISI centres have opted to join the IISc or the IITs.

Only last month, he said, a former ISI student who had obtained a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and was in a post-doctoral position at the University of Toronto, Canada, turned down an offer from the ISI and joined the IISc. “He was one of our best products,” Pal told. 

The ISI, established by P.C. Mahalanobis in December 1931, has developed into an institution engaged in research across diverse disciplines — applied and theoretical statistics, mathematics, computational sciences, biological sciences and earth sciences, among others. An act of Parliament in 1959 had declared the ISI as an institution of national importance.

Faculty at the ISI had initiated proposals to raise their pay scales about three years ago. “There has been a feeling that we are at par with the IITs or the IIScs in research,” said T.S.S.R.K Rao, the head of the ISI Bangalore centre.

“In some disciplines, we have less teaching loads and our faculty has more time for research,” Pal said.

Source : The Telegraph.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pay disparity may lead agitation in Goa.

If one section of the government employees, namely the Goa Civil Services (GCS) officers, are able to retain their upgraded pay scales in the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, then it is possible that the state government may face an agitation from other sections like the Goa Government Employees Association, the engineers association, etc. whose pay scales have been downgraded. 

The Goa Civil Service Association (GCSA) has threatened a strike from January 12 if their salaries are not revised as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. The association had set January 9 as the deadline for their demands to be met. There are about 130 officers in the GCS. 

Government sources said the GCS employees had got their payscale upgraded much earlier. When the Fifth Pay Commission was implemented in 1996, the government took a decision to downgrade everybody's upgraded pay scales.

Around June 2007, the government was faced with an agitation from the Goa government employees association (GGEA). The GGEA was demanding parity in pay scales alleging that certain selected grades including secretariat staff were given upgrades in pay scales while other categories were left out. The standoff continued for some time with the association threatening to go on an indefinite strike. 

The association had launched a pen down tool down strike' which was a success hampering work across all government departments barring essential services. The impasse reached a stage where the government had to invoke the Essential Services Managment Act (ESMA). 

At that time, the government had two options before it. First was to bring down the upgraded salaries of about 1200 employees. The second, and more difficult option, was to give the entire workforce of around 40000 government employees a raise to restore parity. The government chose the first option and in its order dated October 10, 2008, the finance department decided to lower the upgraded pay scales while implementing the Sixth Pay Commission. The GCS was part of that list and is opposing the decision to downgrade their scales. 

But the question before the government is this. Can the government retain the upgraded pay scales of one section of employees, the GCS officers, without running the risk of other government employees like the GGEA or the engineers coming on the roads with the same demand? The matter is under examination of the Finance department. 

But a member of the GCS group defended his group’s demands. He agreed that the pay scales of the GCS were not downgraded when the 5thPay Commission was implemented, while those of some other cadres were downgraded.
But the GCS scales were not downgraded only because of an order from the high court. Secondly, the GCS are governed by the Goa Civil Services Rules which decides their recruitment, pay scales, seniority, etc. The GCS scales are independent of the other scales, the GCS officer said. 
Source : Times of India.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oil strike finally ends

In a major relief to people across the country hit by the oil sector strike, petroleum secretary R S Pandey told newsmen on Friday that the oil officers' strike was over and fuel supply would be normal by Saturday afternoon.

State-run oil companies -- Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and GAIL -- went on strike on Wednesday demanding hike in salary.

While BPCL was the first to call off the strike, the othe petro giant, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation did not join the agitation at all.

As supply started trickling into the petrol stations, Pandey appealed to the public to stop 'panic buying' as that would create more scarcity.

"The country has adequate stocks of petrol, diesel, LPG, kerosene and ATF (aviation turbine fuel). Attempts are being made to restore full supply by morning. One hundred and thirty eight LPG outlets would be functional by tonight in Mumbai and the rest of the outlets would be functional by morning. The ministry has set up a monitoring cell to keep an eye on the situation," Pandey said.

Thanking the media for their cooperation in highlighting the oil crisis, Union Petroleum Minister Murali Deora expressed unhappiness that some officers leading the strike refused to talk to the members of the high powered committee set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Insterad of engaging in discussion over their grievances, Deora said they decided to go on strike.

"It gives us no pleasure to dismiss our employees or take action against them. They are welcomed to hold talks. We will look into their grievances, and we will address those that we find as just. They get a good pay packet of Rs 125,000 to 300,000 per month," Pandey said. He complimented the chairmen of those organisations who kept their word and ensured that their employees did not join strike. Army and Territorial army have also helped.

While the ministry said more than sixty per cent petrol pumps are already operational, truckers' strike was making dispatches difficult.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Urgent need for new pay commission for lower court judges: CJI

 After getting respectable salaries for himself, Supreme Court and High Court judges, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan is focused on getting the lower court judicial officers their due, for they get a monthly take home that is even lower than their counterparts in the executive. 

But, he knows from his bitter experience in the implementation of the first National Judicial Pay Commission (NJPC) recommendation that it would be an uphill task to make the cash-strapped states, who pay the salaries to the lower court judges, to agree for a salary hike. 

"The only way out is appointment of a fresh NJPC. It could be done through a judicial direction by the Supreme Court which got the first NJPC's recommendations implemented through judicial fiat, though it took nearly five years," he told TOI. 

So, in the new year, the lower court judges, getting pittance of a salary, can expect some good news -- the constitution of the second judicial pay commission whose recommendations like the first one would be applicable to all judicial officers in the subordinate courts. 

The first NJPC headed by Justice Jagannatha Shetty was constituted on March 21, 1996, and it gave its recommendations in November 1999. It had recommended a salary hike that entitled a civil judge (junior division) a starting salary of Rs 11,775, a civil judge (senior division) Rs 15,200, district judge (entry level) Rs 20,800 and district judge (super-time scale) Rs 23,850. 

But, this was recommended keeping in view the then salaries of HC judges which was fixed at Rs 26,000 and that of an HC CJ at Rs 30,000, SC judges Rs 30,000 and CJI Rs 33,000. 

The salary structure for the higher judiciary recently got changed with the government agreeing to revise the salary of HC judges to Rs 80,000, HC CJ Rs 90,000, SC judges Rs 90,000 and CJI Rs 1 lakh. 

Though the recent hike in the salaries of higher judiciary judges fell a notch below their expectations, this has spurred the CJI to take a fresh look at the low salaries of the trial court judges, who work the most given the massive pendency of cases in the subordinate judiciary. 

The concern of the CJI for the lower court judges stems from his recent public speech where he had said that though he did not exercise administrative control over them, he was morally responsible for their welfare and weeding out corruption in the subordinate judiciary. 
Source : Times of India

Armed forces' suggestions sought on separate pay panel

The armed forces were Wednesday asked for their suggestions on a separate pay panel that the Prime Minister's Office has cleared for them, an official said.

'The service headquarters have received a note from the defence ministry seeking suggestions on how to go about constituting a separate pay panel for the defence forces,' the official added, requesting anonymity.

The note was sent along with a letter from the PMO on the decision on a separate pay commission for the armed forces to delink their salary revision from other government employees.

While agreeing to give more pay to lieutenant-colonels in the Indian Army and their equivalents in the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force, the Prime Minister's Office Dec 31, 2008 sent a letter to the cabinet secretary informing him about the decision on a separate pay commission for the armed forces.

The government has also decided that lieutenant-colonels deployed on 'combat or ready-to-combat' duties in their parent service may be placed in pay band four (Rs.37,400-67,000) - one step higher than the Sixth Pay Commission recommended in its report last year. Lieutenant-colonels on deputation will get the scale when they return to their parent service.

The government has also decided to set up a high-powered committee to resolve issues relating to command and control functions and the status of the armed forces vis-?-vis the paramilitary and civilian government employees.

However, the PMO letter is silent on one other issue: including officers of the rank of lieutenant-general and equivalent in the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) Plus category that has been created in all government departments except the armed forces.

Directors-general of police, whose rank is equivalent to that of a lieutenant-general, have been placed in the HAG Plus category.

The report of the Sixth Pay Commission, headed by Justice (retd) B.N. Srikrishna, was submitted to then finance minister P. Chidambaram March 24. Chidambaram is now the home minister, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holds the finance portfolio.

Sources.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oil sector officers’ strike from today

Contingency plans in place


Territorial Army on alert to take up operations of installations

Strikers warned of the strictest possible action


NEW DELHI: With public sector oil officers rejecting the government’s appeal not to go on indefinite strike from 6 a.m. on Wednesday, the government has drawn up contingency plans to deal with the disruption in supply of petroleum products, including LPG, and warned of the strictest possible action against those abstaining from work.

The Oil Sector Officers Association (OSOA), which claims a following of around 45,000 executives, on Tuesday refused to heed the government’s offer of talks on the officers’ wage demands and announced its intention to go on strike. “We are only being offered verbal assurances and there is nothing concrete,” OSOA president Amit Kumar said.

Mr. Kumar on Monday met senior BJP leader L.K. Advani on the issue. Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Tuesday spoke to Home Minister P. Chidambaram and the Chief Ministers of Assam and Maharashtra urging them to take steps to protect oil installations during the agitation. The Centre has put the Territorial Army on alert to take up operations of various oil sector installations. Officers of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) are not participating in the strike, while those of Oil India Ltd have also indicated that they may not join the agitation.

Meet with OMC heads

Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey on Tuesday held a high-level meeting of heads of oil marketing companies (OMCs) to take stock of the situation. He said Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL) assured him that normal operations would be maintained at their facilities.

Private refineries’ offer

However, Mr. Pandey said operations in three major refineries could be affected and private refineries, including Reliance and Essar, had offered to supply petroleum products to the government in case of any emergency. He said a strike in the oil sector at this crucial juncture could cripple the economy and cause severe hardship to citizens. “We are not vindictive against our own officers. All we want is that the economy is not be impacted and citizens are spared of any hardship,” he added.

ESMA to be invoked

The Centre has already asked the States to invoke the Essential Supplies Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ensure that auto and cooking fuel supplies are not choked. The National Security Act (NSA) would be invoked in States that did not have ESMA.

The OMCs have initiated contempt proceedings in High Courts against the OSOA office bearers. The courts had barred the body from striking till the next date of hearing in February.

Source : The Hindu.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nagaland employees seek nod on pay hike

Employees serving under the Nagaland government have demanded implementation of the 6th Central Pay Commission recommendations which has already been accepted by the Government of India and given the nod to by some of the State governments. In a letter addressed to the Chief Secretary of Nagaland, the Confederation of All Nagaland State Services Employees Association (CANSSEA) explained that the Central government had already accepted the report of the 6th Pay Commission and therefore urged the Nagaland government to implement the same. Some of the demands include revised pay bands, fixation of initial pay in the revised pay structure, merger of Dearness Allowance, Non Practicing Allowance, Assured Career Promotion Scheme, Annual Increment, Performance Related Incentive Scheme, House Rent Allowances, Special Compensatory (Remote) Locality Allowances, Special Compensatory (Hill Area) Allowance, Transport Allowance, Children Education Allowance, Risk Allowances, Maternity Leave/Child Care Leave, Pensionary Benefit of Employees, etc.
The CANSSEA, which reportedly met in November 2008 deciding to write to the Chief Secretary, maintained that it was essentially necessary to accept the 6th Pay Commission Recommendation given the high rate of inflation which had reached an unprecedented upward trend of 12.44% in August 2008. It was argued that the ability of employees to purchase has eroded enormously thereby having a negative impact on the market as well. As such, the CANSSEA letter has sought for an expeditious decision towards successful implementation of the pay commission scales along with financial benefits as mentioned in the report.
Meanwhile, sources have informed that the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers of Nagaland cadre have already written to the State government for implementing the new pay structure. The Indian Administrative Services (IAS) Nagaland cadres are likewise reportedly planning to officially approach the government. Others like the All Nagaland Government Colleges Teachers Association (ANGCTA) are also anticipating something favourable to come out from the government side.
It may be mentioned that several State governments have already given the nod to accept the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission for its State employees. For instance, the Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced recently to give a new year gift to about 3.5 lakh employees of the State Government by announcing to implement the recommendations of the Pay Revision Committee (PRC) constituted under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to work out the modalities for the implementation of the recommendations of the sixth pay commission. Haryana is reportedly the first State in the country to have implemented the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission from January 1, 2006, and to have paid arrear in cash to its employees. However with the revision of the pay scales of the employees, net additional burden in the year 2008-09 and 2009-10 would be Rs.6431.26 crore.
However, it is the smaller States facing the dilemma as it is facing a resource crunch besides having to balance between its development objectives and keeping its State employees happy. It was reported that striking employees in Manipur are already demanding assurances from Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. The CM has reportedly expressed his inability to implement the recommendations of the sixth Pay Commission. About 60,000 employees have been protesting since November 6 demanding payment fixed by the commission.
In this backdrop, there have also been reports that States will ask the Centre to bear 50% impact of implementation of the sixth pay commission. It was learned that an empowered committee of finance ministers of all states has been formed. This committee reportedly met in Delhi and decided to request the Centre to bear 50% of the implementation of the sixth Pay Commission recommendations. The West Bengal Finance Minister reportedly heads the committee.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Separate Pay Panel For Armed Forces A Farce

Defence personnels are not happy with the setting of the separate pay commission by the government and have criticized it adversely.

The separate pay commission for the armed forces shall be the seventh pay commission, which shall be operative after 10 years. This announcement has been opposed by all the defence personnels.

Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd) said, “Nobody knows what would happen after 10 years. This announcement of the Centre is just eyewash. “

He further said that the government should have implemented the separate pay commission now itself as a review of the present pay commission. This is not the way armed forces should be treated. Soldiers don’t want mercy.

Major General Satbir Singh (retd) has taken up various issues of armed forces with the Government.

Viewing this as a political agenda of the Central Government, in view of the coming parliamentary elections, Brig KK Kahlon said, “It is a political stunt of the government. Politicians have started looking at us as a vote bank.”

Former JAG officer Col SK Aggarwal said that the Government has not given any relief except that their demands have been deferred for another 10 year the decision of the Central Government is not binding on the new government, if the Government really wanted to do something for the forces, it should have reviewed the present recommendations.

Lt Col SS Sohi of Indian ex-services league said, “We are still caught in crossfire as the outcome of this decision would come after 10 years and nobody knows what would be the condition at that time. It has to be time-bound for six months or a year so that it can be beneficial to all in true spirit.”

The defence personnel are also not happy as nothing is being done regarding their demand of one rank one pension (OROP), and a lot of disparity is being generated amongst the personnel.

The Union Government has agreed that in future, pay revision of the armed forces shall be delinked from that of the civilians and a separate Board or Commission shall be set up for the revision of the pay of the armed forces.

Armed forces feel let down by PM's pay commission missive

It was meant to be a New Year's gift to the armed forces and will be welcomed by nearly 12,000 officers of the rank of Lt Colonel and equivalent who will earn over Rs 8000 per month by being placed in a higher Pay Band 4.

But the January 1 letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office to the Ministry of Defence, a copy of which India Today was able to access, could raise more issues than it resolves.

For starters, all deputations have been immediately disincentivised. Over 2000 officers of the rank of Lt Colonel / Commander and Wing Commander go on deputation to the National Security Guards, DRDO, Assam Rifles, R&AW, IB, Ministry of Defence and Ordnance Factory Boards. They now stand to lose nearly Rs 13,000 in PB4 benefits when they move on deputation.

This provision does not apply to the officers currently on deputation but will apply to all appointments made after this letter becomes a government order. The PM's letter also states that only Majors and Colonels be sent on deputation - a tough task says the military because Colonels (and their equivalent Captains and Group Captains in the navy and air force) command battalions, warships and bases and hence cannot be made available for deputations.

The PM's letter effectively places another contentious issue of parity with the civilian establishment on a back-burner by recommending the setting up of yet another high-powered committee. The pay commission has already seen two high-powered committees – the committee of secretaries headed by the cabinet secretary and the Group of Ministers headed by Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and including (then) Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K. Antony. "How many more high powered committees are we going to see?" asks an exasperated army officer.

It's not just unheard of words like 'ready to combat jobs' used in the letter which has puzzled the armed forces. They say the Prime Minister's letter is silent on three other issues they raised: lower grade pay than their civilian counterparts, Lt Generals being left out of Higher Administrative Grade and the cutting of pension to Persons Below Officer Rank (PBORs).

The letter, instead speaks of an unrelated demand – a separate pay commission for the armed forces – raised even before the pay commission recommendation were submitted to the government earlier this year. The move for a separate pay commission effectively hives the military away from the civilian pay commission, but only in the year 2018 when the Seventh Central Pay Commission is convened.



Letter from PMO to Ministry of Defence

Full text of the confidential letter:

Refer meeting on November 28 with the EM and RM

i) Lt Colonels in their parent service holding combat or ready to combat jobs may be placed in PB4 and may be given a grade pay of Rs 8000. Lt Colonels on deputation may be given PB4 and Grade Pay of Rs 8000 only when they return from deputation to their parent service

ii) While the dispensation in Para (i) above may apply to Lt Colonels already on deputation, in future no Lt Colonel may be sent on deputation. Only Majors and Colonels may be sent on deputation.

iii) A high powered committee may be set up to resolve command and control functions / status of armed forces officers vis-à-vis paramilitary forces and civilians

iv) In future, pay revision of armed forces may be delinked from civilians and separate board set up for the armed forces.

Source : India Today


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