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26/1, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Central Excise, Annex Building, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600 034.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Letter on AO - DOS Grade Pay

Pune, the 26th August, 2011
Dear Members,

You may all recall the recent meeting of the Officer Bearers held at New Delhi, with the Hon'ble Chairman in the presence of Senior Officers from the Board, seeking settlement of various outstanding demands (The Minutes of the meeting is available in the previous post). As desired by the Hon'ble Chairman, a fresh proposal has now been submitted to the Hon'ble Chairman, justifying the demand for granting Higher Grade Pay to the grades of AO and DOS. A copy of the said letter is placed below for information of the Members.



Ref.No. AICESTMOA/2011-12/AO-DOS/
Date:- 24th August, 2011

The Hon’ble Chairman, 
Central Board of Excise and Customs,
Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance
North Block, New Delhi-1.
Sub: Assignment of Grade Pay of Rs.4,800/- to Administrative Officer and Rs.4,600/- to Deputy Office Superintendent – Objections/submissions on the observation of Department of Expenditure communicated vide letter dated 09.09.10 - reg.
* * *

            Most respectfully, your kind attention is invited to the discussion held with your goodself in the presence of some Board officials as well as the office bearers of this Association on the 12th July, 2011 on the subject matter apart from other related issues. In continuation to this Association’s letter dated 14.03.2011 & 05.04.2011 (copy enclosed for ready reference), on the above subject, the following few lines are being submitted herewith for your kind and favourable consideration.
2.         As pointed out during the discussion that the observation made by the Department of Expenditure conveyed vide Board’s letter F.No.A.26017/92/2008-Ad.IIA dated 09.09.2010, does not reflect the correct position and in fact, contradicts the recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission.   It is also against the principles of natural justice and equity as guaranteed by the Constitution of India and endorsed by various judicial pronouncement.  It is in this context, we would like to once again, submit the following to facilitate taking up the matter once again with the Department of Expenditure as agreed upon in the meeting referred to above.
3.(a) Observation of the Department of Expenditure:
            The post of Administrative Officers and Private Secretaries are common category post in offices outside the secretariat and hence the Pay scales recommended by the 6th CPC and approved by the Government for common category post are to be implemented in this case and no special dispensation can be made for common category post in one department ;
Stand of the Association:
3.b(i)   The above observation is absolutely not in conformity with one of the fundamental policy recommendation of the 6th CPC. It recommended complete parity between officers of both Hdqrs. Organization and Field Formations in chapter 3.1.The specific recommendation in Para 3.1.3 and Para 3.1.4, being relevant to the context, is reproduced below:
Para 3.1.3:-        “Higher pay scales in the Secretariat offices may have been justified in the past when formulation of proper policies was of paramount importance. The present position is different. Today, the weakest link in respect of any government policy is at the delivery stage. This phenomenon is not endemic to India. Internationally also, there is an increasing emphasis on strengthening the delivery lines and decentralization with greater role being assigned at delivery points which actually determines the benefit that the common citizen is going to derive out of any policy initiative of the Government. The field offices are at the cutting edge of administration and may, in most cases, determine whether a particular policy turns out to be a success or a failure in terms of actual benefit to the consumer. Accordingly, the time has come to grant parity between similarly placed personnel employed in field offices and in the secretariat. This will need to be absolute till the grade of Assistants. Beyond this , it may not be possible or even justified to grant complete parity because the hierarchy and career progression will need to be different taking in view the functional considerations and relativities across the board.
Para 3.1.4:- “ A parity has long been established between the posts of Lower Division Clerk (LDC) and Upper Division Clerk (UDC) in Secretariat and field offices. The position becomes different for posts above UDC level, with the Assistant in secretariat offices being placed in higher pay scale vis-à-vis those working in field offices. Earlier, the respective pay scales of Rs. 5500-9000 and Rs. 5000-8000 existed for Assistants in Secretariat and in field offices. This disparity was aggravated in 2006 when the Government further upgraded the pay scales of Assistants belonging to Central Secretariat Service to Rs. 6500-10500/-.”
3.b(ii) In addition to this, 6th CPC has recommended a particular hierarchical structure for Hdqrs. Organization in Para 3.1.9., and has similarly recommended another structure in Para 3.1.14 in respect of the Field formations. In fact at Para 7.15.14 the 6th CPC has pointedly observed that such dispensation in chapter 3.1 would also be applicable for the Ministerial Officers in CBEC/ CBDT. Although, this particular paragraph has been quoted by Department of Expenditure in the present context, unfortunately this aspect appears to have not been taken into cognizance by the Department of Expenditure.
3.b.(iii)Therefore, the observation as regards common category staff is not at all relevant and the recommendation for the Hdqrs. Organization in chapter 3.1 would also be squarely applicable for the Ministerial Officers in CBEC as they deserve a special dispensation in accordance with Chapter 3.1, read with Para 7.15.14. Thus grade pay of Administrative Officer and Deputy Office Superintendent in CBEC is to be equated with Section Officer and Assistant in Hdqrs. Organization. It was observed by the Honourable Chairman that a specific recommendation of the Pay Commission will have an over-riding effect over any general or common recommendation made elsewhere in the report.
 4.(a) Observation of the Department of Expenditure:
            There is no established relativity between the post of Administrative Officers/ Private Secretary vis-à-vis the Section Officers and Private Secretaries of CSS/CSSS. They are governed by different set of Recruitment Rules. Their mode of Recruitment, nature of duties and responsibilities are also different;
Stand of the Association
4.b(i)   The above observation is completely in contradiction of the principle-stand, adopted by the 6th CPC, as articulated in chapter 3.1 and explained in the earlier paragraph. Such arguments (not governed by the recommendation of the 6th CPC) are concocted to deny the legitimate claims of a particular group of officers, comprehensively endorsed by an expert body like Central Pay Commission. This undermines the very essence of the recommendation of the 6th Central Pay Commission.
 4.b(ii)  In fact, the Government of India has accepted this particular recommendation of 6th CPC, granting parity between Hdqrs. Organization and Field Formation, for granting grade pay of Rs.4,600/- in PB-2 to Assistants, Personal Assistants of Central Secretariat Service, Armed Forces Headquarters Service, Indian Foreign Service “B” and Railway Board Secretariat Service and their counterpart Stenographer Services vide O.M. F.No.1/1/2008/IC, dated 16.11.2009. The Government’s position is made clear in Para – 4 of the said O.M. which is as under:-
“While considering the case of granting upgraded grade pay of Rs.4,600/- to Assistants and Personal Assistants in the Central Secretariat, it is noted that 6th Central Pay Commission had recommended parity in terms of hierarchical structure of Office Staff in Field and Secretariat Offices upto the level of Assistants and this recommendation had been accepted by the Government. …”.
4.b(iii)             Therefore, it is amply clear that the Department of Expenditure is adopting double standards in as much as on the one hand it has accorded Rs.4,600/- to Assistant on the grounds of extending parity between  Hdqrs. Organization and Field Formations (in terms of the recommendation of 6th CPC), while on the other hand it has refused to extend a similar benefit in the case of Administrative Officers and Deputy office Superintendents  in CBEC by drawing parity with Hdqrs. Organization.
4.b(iv)             It may be argued that the parity between Hdqrs. Organization and Field Formations in CBEC has not yet been overtly established as yet and they might be governed by a different set of Recruitment Rules, having a separate mode of Recruitment. However, it is pertinent to note that nowhere in the entire report has the Pay Commission envisaged a pre-condition for establishing relativity between the post of AO/PS vis-à-vis the Section Officers & Private Secretaries of CSS/CSSS. The fact that they are governed by a different set of Recruitment Rules was available to the Pay commission as well & the recommendations have been made after taking the same into consideration. But, it is the accepted recommendation of 6th CPC that there cannot be any disparity of pay structure & hence the pay commission must have factored these facts while recommending the same. Thus, such imputed arguments are not in conformity with the views of the 6th CPC which Govt. too has accepted for implementation.
4.b(v)  Further based upon the above premise, the Honourable Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi has vide order dated 19.02.2009, in O.A. No. 164/2009 considered the issue of parity between the Section Officer and Private Secretaries of the Central Administrative Tribunal with that of the Section Officer and Private Secretaries in CSS/CSSS. The decision of the Tribunal was favourable to these officers and the same has been accepted by the Government and the benefit has been since then extended to them. Contrary to the above, the Department of Expenditure is taking a completely different stand while considering extension of similar benefits to the post of Administrative Officer and Deputy Office Superintendent in CBEC.
4.b(vi)             Certain functions like Revenue Reconciliations, Refunds, Audit and Drawbacks etc, are performed by the Administrative Officers and Deputy Office Superintendents which are unique to this Department and hence it is requested to consider this post as Departmental Posts (A.O and D.O.S of Central Excise & Service Tax) for grant of higher Grade Pay on this ground.
5.(a) Observation of the Department of Expenditure:
15.       Keeping in view the nature of duties and responsibilities etc., there is no case for parity between the post of Administrative Officers/ P.S/Supdt./Deputy Office Superintendent, in the Directorate of Logistics with the executive post covered by the O.M dated 21.04.2004
Stand of the Association
5.b(i)   This is not a valid argument in the spirit of the recommendation of the 6th CPC. Infact, one of the major reasons for which three pre-revised pay scale were proposed to be merged into a single Grade Pay of Rs.4,200/- in PB – 2 has been the unilateral upgradation of pay scales of Inspectors and Superintends in CBEC and CBDT on 21.04.2004. Para 2.1.19, sub para vii is reproduced below:
5.b.(ii) Para 2.1.19.Vii:- Many pre-revised scales are being merged. Barring the Group-D posts, this merger has been done by extending the existing minimum prescribed for the highest Pay scale with which the other scales are being merged. However, the grade pay for the merged scale so derived has been computed with reference to the maximum of the highest scale. This besides ensuring a uniform benefit, will also prevent bunching Following scales have been merged.
Scales of Rs. 5000-8000, Rs. 5500-9000 and Rs. 6500-10500/- have been merged to bring parity between field officers; the secretariat; the technical post; and the work shop staff. This was necessary to ensure that due importance is given to the levels concerned with actual delivery. It is also noted that a large number of anomalies were created due to the placement of Inspectors/equivalent posts in CBDT/CBEC and Assistants/ Personal Assistants of CSS/CSSS in the scale of Rs. 6500-200-10500. ……….
The recommendation made in consonance with the above, in Para 7.15.13 is also relevant, which is reproduced below:-
5.b.(iii) Para 7.15.13:- The posts of Inspector and equivalent exist in CBDT as well as CBEC.  The Fifth CPC had recommended the scale of Rs.5500-9000 for these posts. The pay scale of these posts was, however, upgraded to Rs.6500-10500.  Demands have been received from other posts existing in the scale of Rs.5500-9000 in these two Boards seeking similar dispensation.  The Commission has recommended merger of the pay scales of Rs.5000-8000, Rs.5500-9000 and Rs.6500-10500 which will automatically meet this demand.  Hence, no specific recommendation on demands seeking such upgradations is being made.”
5.b(iv)             It is ironical that the root cause of the present anomaly itself is cited as a reason for denying the legitimate demand of this cadre. The fact that the pay scales of the executive was unilaterally upgraded is one of the consideration under which the three payscales were merged and thereafter, the pay commission had in para 3.1.14 recommended that “in accordance with the principle established in the earlier paragraphs, parity between Field and Secretariat Offices is recommended”. Hence the observation of the Department of Expenditure is unjustified and not backed by the spirit of the recommendation of the 6th Central Pay Commission.
6.(a ) Observation of the Department of Expenditure
18.       Para 7.15.14 has been quoted verbatim to justify the rejection. Para 7.15.14 as per the report of the Pay Commission is as under:-
 Para 7.15.14:            Fifth Central Pay Commission had recommended the pay scale of Rs.6500-10500 for the posts of Appraiser/Superintendent (Preventive)/equivalent in CBEC and the post of Income Tax Officer/equivalent in CBDT. The Government, in 2004, upgraded the pay scales of these posts to Rs.7500-12000.  Various posts in ministerial cadres that earlier were in the pay scale of Rs.6500-10500 have demanded an identical dispensation in order to maintain their relativity.  The Commission would like to clarify that posts in ministerial cadres cannot claim any relativity with those in the executive cadre as the functions are different.  Mere fact of two posts being in the same pay scale cannot be a ground for establishing relativity.  However, the ministerial posts will get a separate dispensation because the Commission has recommended parity between headquarters organizations and the field offices in chapter 3.1 of the report.  The recommendations made therein shall apply to the ministerial cadre in CBDT and CBEC as well without any relativity being established vis-à-vis the posts belonging to the executive cadre (emphasis as available in the original report of the pay Commission.
Stand of the Association
6.b(i)   The fact that the actually intended and highlighted portion of the recommendation has been ignored and the non-highlighted portion has been taken into account for rejecting the demand was brought to your notice. The concluding sentence in the paragraph sums up the entire recommendation in the said paragraph, i.e., the recommendations made in Chapter 3.1 of the report shall apply without any relativity being established to the executive cadre. Therefore, there shall be no relativity with executive cadre as the pay commission has come to the conclusion that parity should be granted between Hqrs., Organisation and field formation. This leads to an undisputed conclusion that the Deputy Office Superintendent should be assigned Rs.4,600/- on par with the Assistants in Hqrs., Organisation and the Administrative Officer be assigned Rs.4800/- in PB 2 on par with Section Officers who have been assigned with the same grade pay.
6.b(ii)              Moreover, the grade pay of Deputy Officer Superintendents merits revision on a different account as well, since the grade pay of Inspector has been revised to Rs.4600/- in PB-2 vide order dated 13.11.2009. The recommendation made in Para 7.15.15 is pertinent here.
6.b.(iii) Para 7.15.15:-An anomaly has been reported in case of Senior Tax Assistants who are presently eligible for promotion as Inspector as well as Deputy Office Superintendent.  It is stated that Senior Tax Assistants, if they are promoted as Deputy Office Superintendent, reach the scale of Rs.5500-9000.  However, in case of promotion as Inspector, they are placed in the scale of Rs.6500-10500 which is anomalous especially because they function under Deputy Office Superintendent before promotion as Inspector.  The Commission has recommended merger of the pre-revised scales of Rs.5000-8000, Rs.5500-9000 and Rs.6500-10500 which will place the posts of Inspector and Deputy Office superintendent in an identical pay scale. No specific recommendation is, therefore, necessary in this case.”
Therefore it is once again humbly requested to take up the matter with the Department of Expenditure on the ground detailed hereinabove and in the true letter and sprit of the recommendation of the 6th Central Pay Commission and render justice to section of deprived officers, desperately and patiently waiting for the same..
Yours faithfully,
Encl:- As stated
(Ashim Pramanick)

Copy to :-

1.       Director, AD.IIA, CBEC, North Block, New Delhi.
(Ashim Pramanick)

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