Thursday, March 28, 2013

Central excise officers going for three-day strike

Flash News : Agitation withdrawn
Inspectors and Superintendents of Central Excise will observe a countywide three-day strike from March 29 to 31 against the indifferent attitude of the concerned authorities with regard to their promotional avenues, pay matters and working conditions.
They have decided that the authorities of Central Board of Customs and Excise can't force them to attend the office in non-statutory manner. This decision has been taken during a combined meeting of the All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers and All India Central Excise Inspectors Association.


All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers has also taken the decision to intensify their already declared agitational programme of "mass resignations" on April 30 throughout the country. These officers are retiring with single promotion in their service career of 35-40 years.
Before submitting their resignations, none of them along with the Inspectors of Central Excise will attend the offices from March 29 to 31 for attending the work relating to revenue enhancement at the end of financial year.
They will also gather at Jantar Mantar in the national capital on April 12 in their uniforms to march towards the residence of Finance Minister and again gather around his residence. These officers have been presenting their case to the authorities regularly for last more than two decades, but nobody is feeling their pain of working under junior on account of discriminatory rules and faulty promotional policy. They have already observed the Satyagraha programmes for many years like fasting, Anshan, dharnas, Shantigoshthis, Gandhigiri, lunch hour protests, bearing black badges, boycott of excise day function etc., but the concerned authorities always liked to have a deaf year to their grievances despite of the major government revenue being earned by them in the form of central excise duty, customs duty and service tax.
The cadre restructuring meant for removal of stagnation is pending with government for last seven years, while next cadre restructuring becomes due at every five years. Only one cadre structuring has happened in the history for them in 2002. After 2002, IIIrd cadre restructuring should have been started but the ongoing one is still pending.
The ongoing one is also not being implemented despite of the approval by the Expenditure as well as Finance Minister two years ago, whereas a large number of the officers are retiring every month without promotion. Their demoralisation, dissatisfaction, humiliation and non-motivation have already resulted into the shortage of the government revenue target for the current financial year. These officers are entered into the job as Inspector and retire after one promotion as Superintendent while their common entry counterparts are getting five to six promotions. Their counterparts are already reaching the levels of Joint Secretary and Commissioner. Even the pension of their counterparts is more than their salary due to lack of promotions. They are deprived of appropriate pay scales while their analogous counterparts, including CBI and IB, etc. are getting higher pay scales along with group 'A' status.
The employee grievance redressal mechanism has totally failed. They were promised so many things on the occasion of cadre restructuring presentation two years ago, but none of the promises has been fulfilled. They are also promised so many things in the meetings by the administration but the same always proves to be mere "lip sympathy". Their counterparts are retiring in Pay Band-4 while they are forced to retire merely in Pay Band-2.
The verdict given by the Supreme Court with respect to their promotional avenues to frame new recruitment rules for 'just and fair representation' is also not being implemented. They are also at loss under the MACP scheme announced by the government to modify the existing ACP scheme to make it more beneficial. The recommendations of 6th CPC to grant them parity with counterparts of Enforcement Directorate under the same Department of Revenue are also not being implemented. They have been granted the time scale after four years of service in Pay Band-2 while others in Pay Band-3.
They are not being granted the relief in r/o arrears of pay, time scale, promotions and stepping up of pay etc. despite of the orders of legal courts including Supreme Court. The Superintendents are being promoted (if any) merely to junior scale while other counterparts to senior scale. The regular service of these officers is also being counted in discriminatory manner resulting them a loss of around 1 year of service. They are facing the worst career prospects and working conditions as compared to other government employees.
Even their counterparts of State services are far better placed than them in r/o salary, promotions, MACP benefits, working conditions etc. The IRS officers have been ensured 9 promotions as well higher pay packages and are being given parity with their common entry counterparts of other departments but nothing such is even being thought for these officers. They are even forced to work under the extreme juniors of Customs (Examiners and Appraisers) belonging to the same cadre looking after same work and recruited through same process in the same organisation of CBEC under the same department of Revenue of the same Ministry of Finance.
The single cadre of Inspector has been trifurcated into 3 sub-categories, i.e., Inspector (Central Excise and Land Customs), Preventive Officer (Inspector Customs) and Examiner (Inspector Customs) to be promoted as Superintendent (Central Excise and Land Customs), Superintendent (Customs) and Appraiser (Customs) respectively re-merging at group 'A' entry level. This re-merger places the officers entering the job as Inspector (Central Excise and Land Customs) decades behind the Examiners due to the discriminatory rate of promotion.
As a result, the Central Excise Superintendents and Inspectors are forced to work under junior Appraisers and Examiners due to fast promotions of later categories despite of belonging to same cadre. It is also very disappointing that these officers are not being promoted to higher posts despite of many of them drawing the salary of Asstt. Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner and also despite of shortage of officers at these levels.
Recently, a protest week was observed by the Superintendents of Central Excise throughout the country from February 25 to March 1 by bearing black badges along with peaceful demonstration in lunch hour on March 1 and total boycott of the Excise Day function along with Inspectors. They are also already observing only "work to rule" in relation of budget related as well as revenue collection work without taking any extra personal measures. But no authority is worried about them.
The authorities are worried about only the stature of the Indian Revenue Service. The authorities give no importance to the stature of the service of these poor officers. Thus, 30000 executive officers of Central Board of Excise and Customs (who are actually responsible for revenue collection) will not attend the work for the last three crucial days of the financial year.
All airports, dry ports, Inland Customs Depots (ICD's), Container Freight Stations (CFS's), Customs Houses, Land Customs Stations, International Border Customs Stations, Service Tax offices and Central Excise offices manned by these officers throughout the country will remain closed. No export or import work will be attended by them.
This may result substantive loss to the government revenue but these officers have no other option to attract the mind of the authorities towards their grievances. Not only it, these officers have formed a common Coordination Committee to fight for common cause of Inspectors and Superintendents of Central Excise. Now, they will observe all the forthcoming steps of agitation under common forum.
Source : Udayvani

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