Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dept. of Posts to set up Postal Land Development Authority

In a bid to commercially exploit vacant plots of land under its ownership, the Department of Posts is planning to set up a Postal Land Development Authority (PLDA), a limited liability special-purpose vehicle aimed at setting up Postal Estates on around 1,900 such plots. A proposal to this effect is likely to come up for approval before the Union Cabinet on Thursday (21.2.08).
The move, akin to the Railway Ministry’s plan of setting up a Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), is essentially aimed at consolidating the vacant plots of land lying unused with the Department of Posts. The move is expected to contribute in improving the brand image of the department, in addition to allowing commercial utilization of existing building and real estates.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), in the past, has directed the Department of Posts to come up with a plan to commercially exploit the vacant land it owns in consultation with the Finance Ministry and Urban Development department. Following this, the Postal Services Board approved the note for setting up the PLDA. Following the Planning Commission’s advice, the Department of Posts, in July 2006, engaged a consultant to undertake a market survey on commercial development of land on four vacant plots.
(Source: ‘The Indian Express dt. 21.2.08)

Hike for govt staff round the corner-Times Of India about 6th pay commission

NEW DELHI: The long wait of lakhs of Central government officers and staff is about to end as the Sixth Pay Commission is expected to finalise its report "very soon," well before its term ends on April 4. Even before the pay panel submits its recommendations to the government, the first indication of what is in store for officialdom could be available in 10 days' time when Finance Minister P Chidambaram makes his Budget speech. Since the employees' fortunes are almost certain to be touched upon, the commission is keeping its recommendations a closely guarded secret, although speculation on the quantum of salary hike have ranged from a moderate 30% to a highly optimistic 165%. Apart from his speech itself, the actual allocation by the Finance Minister under the head: salaries and pensions, may well be another indicator of what is in store for employees. But even before the February 29 Budget, the Rail Budget, commission sources said, could come as an eye-opener as well as the "profit-making" railways is looking for ways to meet its expected salary and pension bill of Rs 9,000 crore in the light of possible salary changes and a tight-fisted Finance Ministry. A pre-Budget meeting of the commission is being awaited and this could be scheduled to consequently enable the Finance Minister to make a mention of possible hikes for lakhs of employees, including those in defence and paramilitary forces. Sooner or later, the state governments across the country revise salary structures of their employees in accordance with what is accepted at the Centre. Commission sources did not rule out a pre-Budget formal presentation before Chidambaram but added that the panel was "unlikely" to make a mention of any change in the present retirement age of 60 years. "There are two distinct processes - the commission recommending a salary structure and the government accepting the proposals. The commission has interacted with a large range of players, held wide-ranging meetings, received petitions and paid visits to different parts of the country. The outcome of this prolonged process would be reflected in the recommendations," the sources said

Friday, February 15, 2008

Meeting with Secretary, Dept. of Posts

Sri. D. Theagarajan, Secretary General, FNPO and Sri.K.Ragavendran, Secretary General, NFPE met Secretary, Dept. of Posts Shri. I.M.G.Khan on 13.2.2008 and discussed the following subjects.
1. Change of nomenclature of Railway Mail Service (RMS) Divisions.
It was urged to withdraw the order issued on 30.1.2008. The Secretary said that he cannot withdraw the order immediately, but he will hold consultations with the Staff Side on this issue and till then the order will be kept in abeyance.
2. Withdrawal of order issued on 7.12.2007 regarding posting of FTP LSG officials in LSG delivery post offices with immediate effect.
The Secretary replied that the above order is issued in the interest of service and not agreed to withdraw the order. However, transfer in the middle of the academic year can be reviewed and he will speak to Member (P) in this regard.
3. Absorption of JAO qualified officials in the Department of Telecom.
About 500 JAOs in the postal side are waiting for promotion to the JAC cadre. It is practically impossible to promote all the qualified officials since such number of vacancies in the Postal side will not arise to this extent in the near future. Hence it was requested that the waiting JAOs be sent to Department of Telecom where large number of vacancies are lying vacant and that Department is also willing to absorb them. The Secretary said that he is not against anybody’s promotion and he shall consult Member (P) and sort out the issue.
4. Recognition of Federations.
The Secretaries General pointed out the inordinate delay in according recognition to the Federations. The Secretary said that he will look into the matter early and do the needful.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pay panel estimates 150% Civil Service salary hike

Government salaries may literally give India Inc a run for its money, if one of the latest estimates of salary revisions by the Sixth Pay Commission is to be believed. Basic salaries are likely to rise by over 150 percent. However, the actual payout may be more moderated, as inclusive of all allowances, existing salaries are not for below the new slabs.
Section officers will get a starting basic salary of Rs. 20,000, while their department heads, joint secretaries, would get a fixed basic salary of Rs.60, 000 a month. Basic Pay for sections officers currently begins at Rs. 8,000 per month. Secretaries to the government would earn a fixed salary of Rs. 75,000 a month. A cabinet secretary’s monthly salary would also be fixed at Rs.80, 000 per month. At each grade, the 5.5. Million central government employees would earn an inflation neutralizing dearness allowance (DA) of 6 percent of basic. The minimum scale for non-executives is likely to be hiked to Rs. 6, 500 a month, from the present Rs.2, 550 a month.
The buzz around the Sixth Pay Commission has grown louder, with the panel headed by Justice BN.Srikrishna expected to submit its report next week. The good news, however, may just stop here. Contrary to expectations, government officials will continue to retire at 60 years The plan to increase the retirement age has been shelved, according to the Pay Commission estimates. The Commission, though, is expected to recommend that officials will now retire on December 31 of the year they reach age 60.
Other allowances – including DA house rent and travel benefits, linked to basic pay- would also increase. DA would be hiked by 6 percent retrospectively from January, 1, 2007, and 14 percent from this year, according to this estimate. House rent is proposed to be hiked by 30 percent of basic for metros, but with a cap of Rs.12, 000. While the recommendations are effective from January 1, 2006, arrears would he given only from January 1, 2007.

(Source: The Indian Express dt. 9.2.08)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Inclusion of Staff Representatives in the local purchase Committee

No. 26-2/2008 – UPE 28.1.08
Sub: - Including staff representatives in the local Purchase Committee – General
Instructions regarding.
References / suggestions have been received from some quarters regarding inclusion of staff representative in the local Purchase Committee to avoid complains and ensure transparency.2. In this regard, attention is invited to the guidelines/instructions issued by the Department of Personnel & Training (DOP&T) vide O.M.No. 14/7/2003-JCA dated 21.11.2005 (copy enclosed). As per Rule 161 (ii) & (iii), a member to be nominated by the concerned staff Associations/Unions is also required to be associated in the Purchase Committee. These instructions may please be scrupulously followed.3. Receipt of this letter may please be acknowledged to Section Office (UPE).
No. 14/7/2003-JCA 21st November, 2005
Sub: - Procurement of uniforms (summer/winter) for common categories of employees in the Central Government Ministries/Departments – revised procedure under the General Financial Rules, 21005 – reg.
Ref: - Ministry of Finance OM No. 1/12/E.II(A)/94 dated 29.7.2005
The undersigned I directed to refer to the consolidated instructions issued in this Department OM No. 14/8/90-JCA dated 29.6.1990 and further orders issued from time to time dealing with the procedure for procurement and supply of summer/winter uniforms to common categories of Group ‘C” and ‘D” employees serving in various Ministries/Departments of the Central Government and to say as follows.
2. Consequent to the coming into force of the new General Financial Rules, 2005 (GFRs), it has become necessary to review and modify the existing ‘procedure for procurement/purchase of summer/winter uniforms’ for common categories of Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees serving in various Ministries/Departments of the Central Government so as to bring it in line with the provisions of the revised GFRs. In this connection, it is also relevant to note that vide OM dated 29-7-2005 cited above, the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure) has clarified that the special dispensation from the process of inviting tenders/quotations provided to NCCF/Kendriya Bhandar in DOPT Welfare Division’s OM dated 14.7.1981 and 11.4.1994 under Chapter 8 of the old GFRs no longer holds good and that purchase/procurement of goods by Government of India offices will now be solely guided by the provisions of GFRs 2005.
3. In the circumstances, in super session of this extant instructions regarding procurement of summer/winter uniforms relating to Groups ‘C’ & ‘D’ employees in the Central Secretariat Ministries/Departments and its attached and subordinate offices, the purchase procedure to be followed in different exigencies and the relevant rules in the GFRs are outlined below:-
(i) Chapter 6 of the GFR’s 2005 pertaining to Procurement of Goods and Services may be carefully perused to ensure that the procurement/purchase procedure adopted is strictly in line with the prescribed rules. In this connection attention is specially drawn to some of the following important provisions, details of which may be obtained from the GRR’s 2005:-
Rule 137 – Fundamental Principles of Public Buying
Rule 144 – Reserved Items
Rule 145 – Purchase of Goods without Quotation
Rule 146 – Purchase of Goods by Purchase Committee
Rule 148 – Demand should not be divided into small quantities to make price-meal purchase
Rule 160 – Transparency, competition, fairness and elimination of Arbitrariness in the procurement process
Rule 161 – Efficiency, Economy and Accountability in Public Procurement System
(ii) As purchases should be made through a duly constituted Purchase Committee comprising of three members of appropriate level as decided by the Head of the Department, including one member from the Internal Finance Division and two belonging to the Administration Division. In addition, a fourth member may be associated with the Purchase Committee, to be nominated by the concerned staff Associations/Unions.
(iii) In case of purchase of goods of a value above Rs.15,000/- and up to Rs.1,00,000, on each occasion, purchase may be made only on the recommendation of a duly constituted Purchase Committee defined in para (ii) above, and as decided by the Head of the Department. The Committee will survey the market to ascertain the reasonableness of rate, quality and specifications and identify the appropriate supplier. Also, before placing the purchase order, the members of the Committee will jointly record a certificate and authenticate it, as under:
“Certified that we, S/Shri---------, members of the purchase committee, are jointly and individually satisfied that the goods recommended for purchase are of the requisite specification and quality, priced at the prevailing market rate and the supplier recommended is reliable and competent to supply the goods in question.”
(iv) Subject to the exceptions incorporated in Rules 151 and 154 of GFR’s 2005, invitation to tenders by advertisement should be used for procurement of goods of estimated value of Rs.25 lakhs and above.
(v) In case the Ministry/Department directly procure DGS&D rate contract goods from suppliers, the prices to be paid for such goods should not exceed the rates mentioned in the rate contract and the other terms and conditions of purchase should also be in line with those specified in the rate contract. In addition, the Ministry/Department has to make its own arrangement for inspection and testing of the goods, where so required.
3. While observing the above change in procedure, the Purchase Committee/Competent Authority may also keep in view the provisions of Rule 144 of the GFRs, 2005, that reads as under:-
“Rule 144. Reserved Items: The Central Government, through administrative instructions, has reserved all items of handspun and hand-woven textiles (Khadi goods) for exclusive purchase from Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC), it has also reserved all items of handloom textiles required by Central Government departments for exclusive purchase from KVIC and/or the notified handlooms units of ACASH (Association of Corporations and Apex Societies of Handlooms). The Central Government has also reserved some items for purchase from registered Small Scale Industrial Units. The Central Departments or Ministries are to make their purchases for such reserved goods and items from such units as per the instructions issued by the Central Government in this regard.”
Hindi version will follow.

Verification of Membership

To All Circle / Divisional / Branch Secretaries,
NUPE Group 'C'

Dear Collelagues,
The Department is likely to issue notification regarding verification of membership in the month of March 2008 and the verification would take place in the month of April 2008.
I appeal to all of you to start preparations from now onwards. This is an urgent and uphill task. Please start touring all the Divisions and meet the members individually and inform them about the verification process. Interact with them and apprise them of our activities at all levels. Try to settle urgent individual problems at your level immediately. Contact non members and convince them and enroll them in our Union.

This time, I wish to have 90 percent membership in NUPE Group 'C'

I hope all of you will rise to the occasion and start campaigning from now onwards.

With Warmest Greetings,

Yours fraternally.
D. Kishan Rao, G.S., NUPE Gr.C, New Delhi 110 018

Joint Programme of Action by Postal JCA

All Circle Secretaries/Divisional / Branch Secretaries,
Ntional Union of Postal Employees Group 'C'

Dear Collelgues,
The circular issued by the Postal JCA on 3.2.2008 has already been published in the web site. Sri.D.Theagarajan, Secretary General, FNPO, said that he would be forwarding the Charter of Demands of both the Federations as well as the sectional demands of the affiliated Unions to all the Circle Secretaries of FNPO affiliates.
Hence the Circle Secretaries are requested to forward the same to all the Divisions/Branches immediately so as to enable the branches to organise demonstrations etc., on 15.2.2008.
With warmest Greetings,

Yours fraternally,
D. Kishan Rao, G.S., NUPE Group 'C', New Delhi 110 018

Joint Programme of Action by Postal JCA

We met in the meeting of Postal JCA of NFPE and FNPO with all our affiliated Unions/Associations in the NFPE office on 1.2.2008 to assess the actual state of implementation of 19th April 2007 agreement by the Department of Posts and the sufferings and suffocations of the postal employees. We assessed that the Department of Posts is not serious in implementing the April settlement but in practice violated many assurances contained therein.

We also took into account the different Action Programmes under launch by various Unions/Associations of both of our federations jointly to ventilate the serious grievances of respective category of employees.

We have thereupon come to the unanimous conclusion that without sustained movement and a serious industrial action, the employees may not be rendered justice by the Government/Department of Posts.

Taking into account of all aspects we have unanimously decided to continue with the agitational programmes of individual Unions/associations as already declared. We have also decided in addition to launch a common programme of action under the banner of All India Postal Joint Council of NFPE and FNPO federations in the following manner to seek the settlement of all our pending issues.
Submission of “Postal Sectional Charter of Demands” by Postal JCA to the Secretary (P) by holding mass demonstration in front of Postal Directorate and the4 same would be submitted to Chief PMG/PMG/SSPOs/SSRMs and other Administrative Heads at all level by holding demonstrations.
19.02.2008 to 15.03.2008
Intensive Post Card campaign to Hon’ble MOC & IT and Secretary (P); Protest demonstrations all over the country. The text of the Post Card campaign is as follows:-
1st WEEK May 2008
All India JCA will meet and announce the indefinite strike.
We request our Circle Secretaries to circulate this JCA Circular along with the Charter of Demands to all Divisional and Branch Secretaries under their circles, immediately to enable them to submit the same to the respective Head of Division We also request our Circle Secretaries to hold demonstrations and submit the same to respective Regional/Circle Heads on 15.02.2008 and also take all efforts to the success of the second phase of the Post Card campaign etc and prepare all employees for the eventual industrial action to win our justified demands.

Comrades and Colleagues! We wish to assure you that the Postal JCA has full confidence on the rank and file that they would play their due role in carrying out the above programme of action with all seriousness.
Comradely yours,
D.Theagarajan K.Ragavendran
Secretary General Secretary General

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fast Track Examination is to be introduced again

The Department is seriously considering to reintroduce Fast Track Promotion Scheme very soon. This time 1/3rd posts in the LSG cadre would be filled up by the examination. The reason may be that large number of BCR offcials, now decline to work in LSG cadre.
Further details will bepublished after the receipt of the order from the department.

Member (P) agrees to fill up APM Accounts posts as per 1976 orders

According to Sri.D.Theagarjan, Secretary General, FNPO, Member (P) is agreeable to fill up APM Accounts posts as per the original order i.e., year of passing the PO&RMS accountant exam.TheCHQ has been pressing for the same for the last two years. Accordidng to Sri.D. Theagarajan, he would consult the G.S., NUPE-C and convey his consent. Members maybe aware, the RMS Unions were earlier opposing this stand. The S.G, while addressing the C W C at Hyderabad informed that he would support the NUPE C stand on this issue.

Post offices to sell air tickets

Hon,ble Dr.Shakeel Ahmed, MoS, Coomunictions & I.T saidd that the project for making flight tickets availablel In Post offices would be expanded to different regions very soon. The project had already been launched on a trial basis in 500 Post Offices in Karnataka Circle in collobaration with the private air line Air Deccan.
The department had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the HDFC to provide loansto farmers through Post Offices against NSCs and KVPs, in seven States. Post Offices would also be distributing SIM cards and postmen had been authorised to verify the genuiness of address of the SIM card holders, in their postal delivery area, Dr. Ahmed said.
The department would make two ships available very soon to carry postal and other articles to 11 islands in Lakshadweep from the State (Kerala). The ships would be operated from Kochin