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Friday, October 30, 2009

AI to pay salaries by Oct 31 after pilots warn of stir

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With an impending stir threat by its pilots, Air India is likely to pay the September salaries of its employees in two days and incentives and allowances by November 10, airline sources said today.

Talks were held with banks and financial institutions for working capital loans to arrange the amount for payment of salaries, productivity-linked incentives (PLIs) and flying allowances to the employees including pilots, they said.

Sources also said the management of the cash-strapped airline was making all efforts to pay the dues of the employees very soon, including the salaries by October 31 and PLI and allowances by November 10.

Talks with the banks were initiated after negotiations between executive pilots and their other colleagues in Mumbai over the past few days.

Allotment of DDA flats to commence from next month

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Delhi Development Authority will commence from next month allotment of flats, held up due to allegations of rigging, after a Government agency gave a clean chit to the software used for draw of lots.

The report prepared by the C-DAC, Thiruvananthapuram has not found any evidence of rigging in the software after analysing the hard discs of computers used in draw of lots for alloting nearly 5,000 flats.

The process of issuance of allotment letters will commence in November itself. The persons who fall within the purview of the investigation as mentioned above, will not be issued any allotment letter till the investigating agency clears these cases, the DDA said in a statement.

More details clcik here...

CVC disposed of 536 cases in August 2009

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MAJOR PENALTY PROCEEDINGS RECOMMENED AGAINST 68 OFFICERS

The Central Vigilance Commission disposed of 536 cases during August 2009 referred to it for advice. The Commission advised initiations of major penalty proceedings against 106 officers. Of these, 21 were from M/o Railways, 21 from public sector banks, 13 from MCD, 8 from Northern Coalfields Ltd., 5 from Central Coalfields Ltd., 4 each from CBEC, MHA & Ministry of Urban Development, 3 each from P.G. Institute of Medical Education & CBDT, 2 each from D/o Telecommunications, Ministry of Labour and ESIC. The remaining 7 cases pertained to different departments of the Government of India and PSUs.

The Commission also advised imposition of major penalty against 68 officers including 14 from National Aluminum Co. Ltd., 12 each from Central Coalfileds Ltd. & Public Sector Banks, six from Ministry of Railways, 5 each from National Insurance Co. Ltd. & DDA, 2 each from Border Roads Development Board & Central Board of Excise and Customs. Remaining 10 cases pertained to different departments of the Government of India and PSUs.

The Commission launched prosecution against 8 officers. Of these two were from M/o Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, and remaining six from Indian Overseas Bank, Deptt. of Telecommunication, M/o Railways, MHA, CBDT and M/o Labour.

The Commission disposed 739 complaints during the month. Of these, 648 complaints were sent for necessary action/ATR whereas 91 complaints were sent for investigation and report.

On the Commission’s recommendations, the competent authorities issued sanctions for prosecution against 20 officers including 16 from CBEC. Major penalty was imposed on 77 officers. These included 10 from FCI, 9 from Ministry of Railways, 8 from New India Insurance Co. Ltd., 7 each from Public Sector Banks & Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., 6 each from Department of Telecommunications & ICAR, 5 from Eastern Coalfields Ltd., 3 each from DDA, Council for Development Peoples & CBDT, 2 each from Central Warehousing Corp. Ltd. & Ministry of Water Resources. The remaining 6 cases pertained to different departments of the Government of India and PSUs.

Recoveries to the tune of Rs. 29.15 crore were affected after Commission conducted technical examination of some departments.

Performance of production units during April - September 2009

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Chittranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) produced 81 electric locomotives against the target of 90 electronic locomotives and Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) produced 132 diesel locomotives against the target of 127 diesel locomotives during April September 2009. Rail Coach Factory (RCF) produced 770 coaches against the target of 770 coaches where as Integral Coach Factory (ICF) produced 635 coaches against the targets of 620 coaches during the same period. Rail Wheel Factory (RWF) produced 95483 wheels and 38630 axles during the same period against the target of 95357 wheels and 309975 axles during April-September 2009.

During the month of September 2009, CLW, DLW, ICF, RCF and RWF have produced 17 electric locomotives, 19 diesel locomotive, 120 coaches, 130 coaches, 14953 wheels and 6283 axles respectively against the target of 21 electric locomotives, 22 diesel locomotive, 105 coaches, 130 coaches, 15578 wheels and 5120 axels.

Railways have realized an amount of Rs. 36.27 crore approximately during the month of September 2009 through ticket checking.

Index Numbers of Wholesale Prices in India (Base: 1993-94=100)

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Review for the week ended 17th October 2009 (25 Asvina, 1931 Saka)

The official Wholesale Price Index for 'All Commodities' (Base: 1993-94 = 100) for the week ended 17th October, 2009 remained unchanged at its previous week’s level of 242.2 (Provisional).

The annual rate of inflation, calculated on point to point basis, stood at 1.51 percent (Provisional) for the week ended 17/10/2009 (over 18/10/2008) as compared to 1.21 percent (Provisional) for the previous week (ended 10/10/2009) and 10.82 percent during the corresponding week (ended18/10/2008) of the previous year.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Computerization of Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) Sections of CS Division

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F.No. 15/87/2007-cS-I (CR)

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Department of Personnel & Training

2nd Floor, Loknayak Bhavan, Khan Market
New Delhi, the 29th October, 2009

OFFICE MEMORANDUM



Subject:- Computerization of Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) Sections of CS Division.



The undersigned is directed to say that this Department is in the process of computerization of the work relating to maintenance of APARs and subsequently develop an online system for submission and monitoring of APARs. NIC has been requested to develop a common software for all Ministers/cadre units, which shall be made available in due course of time.

2. As soon as the relevant software is made available, CS Division will move ahead for computerization, so that in future, data on APARs of CSS Officers sahll be made available with a click of a button to the authorized users.In order to speed up such a process all cadre units may furnish to CS Dvivision the details of nodal officers in their respective Ministers/Departments alongwith their address, phone numbers, e-mail IDs etc. who are currently responsible for keeping a watch on the progress of the completion of ACRs/APARs. The officers so indentified(not below the rank of Under Secretary) shall be provided with usernames and passwords to enable them to opreate the APARs software of DoPT&T.

A reply is requested by 10.11.2009.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Incentive increments to sportspersons for outstanding sports achievement at National and International levels

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Department of Personnel and Training

Establishment(Pay-1)Section

*****

Subject: Incentive increments to sportspersons for outstanding sports achievement at National and International levels.

Para 3(iv) of this Department's OM No.16/1/85-Pay-1 dated 16th July, 1985 provides to grant incentive in the form of increments as admissible to such Government servants who achieve excellence in the sporting events of Nationalllnternational importance. The total number of increments to be awarded for achieving excellence in the nationalllnternational events should not exceed five in his/her entire career.

2. Taking into account the changing scenario and rising global competitiveness in the field of sports, the question of honoring such sportspersons of excellence who win a medal(Gold: Silver or Bronze) in Nationalllnternational Tournaments has been considered and it has been decided to review the existing provision of the OM referred to above in so far as incentives is concerned.

3. Vide this Department's OM of even number dated 26th August 2008 and subsequent reminders dated October, 2008, December, 2008 and September,2009 views/suggestions from all the MinistrieslDepartments were invited regarding quantum of lump-sum incentives to be granted to such sportsperson who win a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal in the National/International Tournaments. However very few MinistrieslDepartments have responded to the said OMs.

4. It is, therefore, requested that views/suggestion may be furnished at the earliest to enable this Department to review the existing provisions.

Use of own car / hired taxi on LTC journey on account of physical handicap - Clarification

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F.No. 31011 / 3 /2009- Estt.(A)

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pension

Department of Personnel & Training

New Delhi, the 28th October, 2009

OFFICE MEMORANDUM



Subject:- Use of own car / hired taxi on LTC journey on account of physical handicap.



The undersigned is directed to refer to this Department's O.M. No. 3101114/2008-Estt(A)dated 23.9.2008 in which it was stipulated that LTC facility shall be admissible only in respect of journeys performed in vehicles operated by the Government or any corporation in the public sector run by the Central or State Government or a local body.

2. Instances have come to notice where Government servants on account of physical handicap/disability of self or dependant family members are unable to perform the LTC journey by the authorized modes of transport and are compelled to undertake the journey by own car or private taxi. Representations are being received to allow reimbursement in such cases. Matter has been examined in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure and it has been decided in relaxation of LTC Rules to authorize the Head of Department to allow use of own/hired taxi for LTC journey on account of disability of the Government servant or dependent family member after obtaining following papers/conditions to avoid misuse of such relaxation:-

(i) Medical Certificate from competent authority.

(ii) Undertaking from Government servant that journey in authorized mode is not feasible and he actually travelled by own car/hired taxi.

(iii) such claim should not be more than journey performed by the entitled

class by rail/air by the shortest route.

Inflation is key concern now for RBI

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The central bank’s urgency to tighten its policy is evident from the dramatic shift in its stance--from supporting growth to managing inflation
The Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, on Tuesday signalled an exit from its expansionary monetary policy, ahead of other Asian central banks. RBI governor D. Subbarao has refrained from any hike in the policy rate and the cash reserve that commercial banks are required to keep with it, but shut all refinance windows that were opened for various sectors after the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008. It’s now a matter of months before the central bank goes for a hike in banks’ cash reserve and/or a hike in policy rates. And this can happen even earlier than its next review of monetary policy in January.

Also See Measured Moved (Graphics)

The central bank’s urgency to tighten its policy is evident from the dramatic shift in its stance—from supporting growth to managing inflation. In fact, both price stability and financial stability now top RBI’s priority list, in that order, ahead of growth.

Till recently, it was giving an equal importance to all three but this time around, the policy document makes no bones about the fact that its “fundamental commitment” is to “price stability” and it will take measures as warranted by the evolving macroeconomic conditions “swiftly and effectively”. The rise in RBI’s year-end inflation estimate from 5% to 6.5% “with an upside bias” gives credence to the belief that a hike in rate and tightening of liquidity is imminent.

Also Read India moves closer to credit default swaps

Indeed, some of RBI’s actions are rather academic at this point. They do not match the governor’s tough talk and won’t have a huge impact, but they are of enormous symbolic value. They signal the withdrawal of accommodation, a precursor to actual tight money policy that will raise the borrowing cost for firms and individual consumers and stamp out liquidity that stokes inflation.

To start with, Subbarao has raised the floor for banks’ holding of government bonds from 24% to 25% of their deposits and closed most of the special refinance facilities that were opened in the wake of the global credit crunch. Theoretically, a 1 percentage point hike in banks’ government bond holdings means withdrawal of liquidity from the system and less money in banks’ kitty for giving loans, but since they have already invested 27.6% of their deposits in government bonds, the hike will not make any material difference right now.

Similarly, the withdrawal of refinance facilities for non-banks, housing finance firms, mutual funds and exporters and closure of the window for swapping banks’ foreign exchange liabilities will hardly make any difference, as there haven’t been too many takers for such facilities with around Rs1.2 trillion excess liquidity sloshing the system. These windows were to close in March. But their early close is a signal of the reversal of stance—a year after RBI opened all taps to generate liquidity and prop up a slowing economy.

Between October and April, RBI brought down its repurchase (repo) rate or the rate at which it infuses liquidity in the system by 4.25 percentage points, from 9% to 4.75%; reverse repo rate or the rate at which it sucks out liquidity from the system by 1.75 percentage points, from 5% to 3.25%; and banks’ cash reserve ratio, or CRR—the portion of deposits that banks need to keep with RBI— by 4 percentage points from 9% to 5%. Collectively, the CRR cut and new refinance windows infused Rs5.6 trillion into the financial system. All these measures have improved the prospects of the economy, which RBI feels will grow at 6% or even at a slightly higher rate. And hence the shift in focus, from managing the crisis to managing recovery.

In fact, apart from raising SLR to its 2008 level, RBI has also quietly raised banks CRR through the back door. While CRR continues to remain 5%, banks’ borrowing from the money market, which was never taken into account while calculating their CRR obligation, will now be considered. The daily average of such borrowings is now around Rs60,000 crore. This means banks will have to keep an additional Rs3,000 crore with RBI from the third week of November. Such an action will not have an immediate impact on the banking system but help banks prepare for the next stage of action. Similarly, a hike in provisioning requirements for loans given to commercial real estate developers and provisions for all stressed assets are prudential measures to strengthen their balance sheets, but behind such moves are in play RBI’s apprehensions on incipient signs of asset bubbles. In fact, by raising the provisions for real estate loans, RBI has joined authorities in other Asian countries such as Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong in cooling the property market and preventing any bubble being formed. Prices of real estate in India have almost returned to their peaks seen in late 2007 and early 2008 before the crash.

In early October, when Subbarao announced that he would need “to exit from the present excessively accommodative monetary and fiscal policies” but wondered loudly “when and how” he should exit, there was strong opposition from the government. Finance secretary Ashok Chawla, deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and chairman of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory council C. Rangarajan—three wise men who form the government’s economic think tank and provide valuable inputs to the making of the monetary policy —all advised him to wait for the right time for exit. The governor, however, has stuck to his guns.

In times of crisis, it is relatively easy for the Source: Livemint

Association demands judicial review of working conditions of loco pilots

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The biennial general body meeting of the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) has urged the Railway Ministry to appoint a judicial review committee to look into the duty hours and rest patterns of loco pilots.

The meeting held here on Monday was attended by zonal president R. Murali. Presided over by central vice-president K.A.S. Mani, the event was inaugurated by the joint secretary general of the AILRSA, N.B. Dutta.

It was addressed by secretarial member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sivagnanam, secretary of the Coordination Committee of Central Government Employees and Workers S. Karunanidhi, and joint secretary of the Dakshin Railway Employees Union R.G. Pillai.

The meeting condoled the death of 22 passengers in the recent Mathura train accident. It expressed anguish over routine comments by members of the top railway management putting the blame for accidents on “human failure” without addressing the causes for any such human failure.

It is evident from past accidents that the railway management had not taken any corrective measures to avoid human failure by amending the draconian rules of Hours of Employment Regulations that are in force from 1931. This involved duty limit extending up to 13 hours, six continuous nights of duty a week and depressed weekly rest of 30 hours against 40 hours for similarly classified workers and prolonged outstation detention of 96 hours.

Though the system of working had changed much in the railways since 1931, issues pertaining to loco pilots and working conditions have not witnessed any change. Posts under the wrongly assessed and depressed sanctioned strength was not being filled up. This is resulting in denial of leave and weekly rest, worsening the situation. Under the guise of economy, safety was being compromised. The meeting demanded that the grade pay of Assistant Loco Pilots should be increased from Rs.1,900 to Rs.2,800. Distinct grade pays should be allotted to loco pilots handling shunting, goods vehicles, passenger trains, express and mail trains. The meeting demanded revision of rate of running allowance as per the running allowance committee (RAC 1980 formula). Source: The Hindu

THREE NEW SCHEMES INCLUDED IN THE PRIME MINISTER’S NEW 15 POINT PROGRAMME FOR THE WELFARE OF MINORITIES

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The Union Cabinet today decided to include three schemes namely, National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) of the Department of Drinking Water and Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) and Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) scheme of the Ministry of Urban Development in the Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme where the flow of fund to minority concentration areas up to the extent of 15% would be monitored.

The Cabinet approved inclusion of Mewat district in place of Gurgaon in Haryana as one of the minority concentration districts.

The Cabinet also decided to include Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly in the State and District level committees to monitor the implementation of the 15-point programme. This modification would also make them members in the State and District Level Committees for implementation of Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP).

There has been a steady improvement in the recruitment of minorities in the Central Government and the Public Sector Undertakings since issuing of guidelines by the Department of Personnel and Training on 8th January, 2007 for giving special consideration to the recruitment of minorities. The percentage of recruitment of minorities which stood at 6.95% in 2006-07 went up to 8.22% in 2007-08 and was 9.18% in 2008-09. In respect of maintenance of Communal Harmony the Ministry of Home Affairs has revised the Communal Harmony guidelines in July, 2008. States/UTs have been advised to submit reports to review the progress of implementation of these guidelines.

Under Priority Sector lending, Rs.82864.65 crores, amounting to 12.41% of total lending, was disbursed by the public sector banks to minority communities.

BACKGROUND :

Prime Minister’s New 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities was introduced in 2006 with a view to incorporate programme specific interventions so that benefit of various Government schemes for the underprivileged reach the disadvantaged sections of the minority communities. The New Programme envisages location of certain proportions of development projects in minority concentration areas. It also provides that, wherever possible, 15% of targets and outlays under various schemes should be earmarked for minorities.

It has been three years since the Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme was introduced. The Cabinet has held the review meetings six times, including today’s meeting, since the introduction of the new programme. It has been ensured that 15% of the targets and outlays, for schemes considered amenable to earmarking has been allocated in respect of seven components of SSA, operationalisation of Anganwadi Centres under ECDS, assistance to Swarojgaris under SGSY, housing for the rural poor under IAY and enhanced credit support through priority sector lending. It has also been ensured that at least 15% funds flow to minority concentration areas under Basic Services For Urban Poor (BSUP) and Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Breast Cancer Survival - Life post diagnosis

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At 35, you are a mother of two sweet kids doing household chores and taking care of the family. You suddenly have a feeling of some lump in your breast and you consult your gynecologist. A mammography is advised and unfortunately your reports are not positive- perhaps you are diagnosed with breast cancer. You come home from hospital, highly disheartened and sad. Your tears don't seem to end and it seems that to you that earth will explode today. You are lucky if your husband supports you and accepts you in such a situation as well.

It has been seen in many cases in India where men have married other healthy women due to family pressure and not bothered about supporting their wives diagnosed with breast cancer. The reason for such cases is but obvious- breast cancer treatment is quite costly with a single medicine dose costing as high as Rs.1 lakh.

If you are a government employee, you may get some benefit as government has CGHS and CHS health schemes which sponsor your treatment. If you have a medical insurance policy in your name, go through clauses to find if cancer is covered in the policy. If your financial conditions cannot support cancer treatment, several NGOs and cancer support organizations are there at your help- CPAA(Cancer Patients Aid Association and Roko Cancer to name a few.

Information on Breast Cancer

It has been seen that early diagnosis increases survival rate. So have a look at some useful information about breast cancer.

Symptoms:

-Feeling of lump in your breast or underarm area

-If your nipple stays flat or inverted(not since birth)

-Sudden increase in breast size

-If your breast is always warm and hot to touch sometimes, it may be inflammatory breast cancer

Advice:

-Get mammography done every year when you are above 30 years age.

-Consult your doctor as soon as possible if you find any symptoms.

Here is how you can conduct a self examination:

1. Stand in front of a mirror and look for any visible changes in breasts such as puckering, dimpling or changes in size or shape of breasts. Squeeze each nipple and check for any discharge. Repeat these steps placing your hands on your hips, over your head, and at your side.

2. Raise your right arm and examine carefully every part of your left breast. Move in increasingly smaller circles, from outside to in, using the pads of your index and middle fingers. Gently press and feel for lumps or thickenings if any. Now repeat with your left arm and right breast.

3. Put a pillow under your right shoulder, and your right hand behind your head while you lay down. Again gently massage and feel your breast for lumps or other changes. Now repeat the same with towel under left shoulder with left hand behind head.

Source: Headlinesindia

South Indian Bank largest service provider for New Pension Scheme (NPS)

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Thrissur (Kerala) Oct 26 (IANS) Kerala-headquartered South Indian Bank (SIB) has emerged as the largest service provider for the 'New Pension System' (NPS), launched by the central government.

With 134 of its branches authorised to offer the service, SIB became the largest service provider among the 21 banks and financial institutions operating this pension and investment scheme, the bank said Monday.

'This scheme will empower subscribers to plan their retirement and pension. This is a good investment tool,' said V.A. Joseph, managing director and chief executive of the bank.

NPS is a social security scheme open to all employees falling in the age category of 18-55.

The scheme is implemented by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

Last week, Oscar award winner Resul Pookutty launched this service for SIB's NRI customers here.

SIB posted the highest ever quarterly net profit of Rs.60.11 crore in the first quarter this fiscal as against Rs.38.62 crore reported in the like period last year, registering a growth of 55.64 percent.

The bank recently was in the news when it bagged the 10th 'Financial Express' Awards for 'India's Best Banks' in the traditional banks' category.
Source:IANS

Monday, October 26, 2009

Taxes Code To Be Implemented From 2011-12: FM

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The government plans to implement the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) from 2011-12 after addressing all concerns relating to controversial proposals like taxation of retirement benefits, weeding out incentives for housing sector and changes in the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).

The proposals in the Code are only "illustrative" and are open for discussion and there is no need to think that these "have been decided," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

Giving the roadmap for the Code that will replace the Income Tax Act of 1961, he said, "It will be implemented from 2011. So, the finance bill of 2011-12 would be appropriate."

The government, Mukherjee said, has identified seven critical areas of concern in the Code and would take suggestions on board before finalising it.

The critical areas of concern include shifting the base for computation of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) from book profits to assets; capital gains taxation in case of non-residents; double tax avoidance agreements; General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR); taxation of foreign companies; taxation of charitable institutions; and shift to EET system for taxation of savings.

On the issues relating to taxation of savings at the time of withdrawal, the Minister said, "Whether it will be EET (exempt, exempt, tax) or ETE (exempt, tax, exempt) ... is to be finally arrived at a decision. So one need not rush to the conclusion that it has been decided. That is the short point that I would like to make it clear."

DTC has proposed that all savings schemes should be taxed at the time of withdrawal. Under the current dispensation, the savings schemes like Public Provident Fund (PPF) and General Provident Fund (GPF) are not taxed at all, while in some schemes like National Savings Certificate (NSC) only interest accruals are taxed.

The Code is also silent on tax incentives for housing sector as against the current practice of provide rebate on repayment of interest and principal on home loans.

As regards the MAT, the Code proposes to levy minimum tax on assets instead of book profits. The proposal evoked sharp reaction from the industry which described the move as introducing wealth tax on enterprises.

Referring to his interaction with the representatives of the industry on the Code at Delhi and Bangalore, Mukherjee said, "I told them to express (their) views candidly ... final decision will be taken after obtaining inputs from various stake holders and in depth discussions.
Source:PTI

Pay revision for polytechnic colleges : Update

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On behalf of AIFPTO, General Secretary Shri N Chandra Shekhar,has led a delegation of Polytechnic teachers on Dt. 23-10-2009 and met Smt. Purandeswari, MOS HRD at her camp office in Visakhapatnam. AIFPTO Thanked her for taking initiative for submitting a note to Sri Kapil Sibal, HRM to consider review of MHRD recommendations for inclusion of PB4 for Polytechnic teachers. She assured us that a meeting with AIFPTO office bearers in the presence of Sri Kapil Sibal would be arranged after Nov. 1st to resolve the issue.

Shri N Chandra Shekhar advised polytechnic community to wait for better days to come and requested to give wide publicity of this news item among all polytechnic teaching community and local press.

Accept pay scale, IIT federation tells members

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The All India IIT Faculty Federation (AIIITFF) President M Thenmozhi today urged faculty members of all the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to accept and implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

“We have requested the faculty to accept the pay package in the interest of the entire IIT system,” Thenmozhi told reporters here after the faculty meeting at IIT Delhi today. The meeting was held to take stock of the situation after the HRD ministry met the IIT Council on October 19. The board of governors of most IITs will meet in a month’s time and the IIT faculty will meet thereafter.

Thenmozhi, however, said that the issue relating to the 40 per cent cap on promotion of professors to senior grades and the provision of contractual appointment at entry level continue to remain matters of concern.

Last month, HRD minister Kapil Sibal had assured the faculty that the government guidelines on the pay structure could be relaxed for promoting excellence. Faculty associations were unhappy about an HRD clause which said there would be a 40 per cent cap on professors who are eligible to receive higher pay after six years in the post.
Source:Business Standard

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Committee to examine fee structure of IITs

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A high level committee appointed by the IIT Council will revisit the fee structure as part of its mandate to assess how the revenue could be increased for the premier institutes.

The IIT Council, the apex body to decide on the issues of IITs, has set up a five-member committee headed by Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar for the purpose.

Students are paying Rs 50,000 per annum as tuition fee at the B.Tech courses in the IITs at present. The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students are exempted from the tuition fee.

Besides, students pay about Rs 20,000 annually for other purposes like accommodation, alumni and admission fees.

The IIT Council, which mete here on October 19, discussed the issue against the backdrop of government starting a loan scheme with subsidised interest rate to help poor students in higher studies, sources said.

Questions & Answers: Related to the New Pension Scheme (NPS)

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Clarifications:-

1. Whether a retiring Government servant is entitled for leave encashment after retirement under the NPS?

The benefit of encashment of leave salary is not a part of the retirement benefits admissible under Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972. It is payable in terms of CCS (Leave) Rules which will continue to be applicable to the government servants who join the government service on after 1-1-2004. Therefore, the benefit of encashment of leave salary payable to the governments/to their families on account of retirement/death will be admissible.

2. Why is it mandatory to use 40% of pension wealth to purchase the annuity at the time of the exit (i.e. after the age of 60 years) from NPS?

This provision has been made in the New Pension Scheme with an intention that the retired government servants should get regular monthly income during their retired life.

3. Whether any minimum age or minimum service is required to quit from Tier-I?

Exit from Tier-I can only take place when an individual leaves Government service.

4. Whether Dearness Pay is counted as basic pay for recovery of 10% for Tier-I?

As per the New Pension Scheme, the total Dearness Allowance is to be taken into account for working out the contributions to Tier-I. Subsequently, a part of the “Dearness Allowance” has been treated as Dearness Pay. Therefore, this should also be reckoned for the purpose of contributions.

5. Whether contribution towards Tier-I from arrears of DA is to be deducted?

Yes. Since the contribution is to be worked out at 10% of (Pay + DP + DA), it needs to be revised whenever there is any change in these elements

6. Who will calculate the interest PAO or Central Pension Accounting office(CPAO)?

The PAO should calculate the interest.

7. What happens if an employee gets transferred during the month? Which office will make deduction of Contribution?

As in the case of other recoveries, the recovery of contributions towards New Pension Scheme for the full month(both individual and government) will be made by the office who will draw salary for the maximum period.

8. Whether NPA payable to medical officers will count towards ‘Pay’ for the purpose of working out contributions to NPS?

Yes. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has clarified vide their O.M. no. A45012/11/97-CHS.V dated 7-4-98 that the Non-Practising Allowance shall countas ‘pay’ for all service benefits. Therefore, this will be taken into account for working out the contribution towards the New Pension Scheme.

9. Whether a government servant who was already in service prior to 1.1.2004, if appointed in a different post under the Government of India, will be governed by the CCS (Pension) Rules or NPS?

In cases where Government servants apply for posts in the same or other departments and on selection they are asked to render technical resignation, the past services are counted towards pension under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972. Since the Government servant had originally joined government service prior to 1-1-2004, he should be covered under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972.

10.Procedure for allotment of Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN):-

Immediately on joining Govt. service, the Govt. servant will be required to provide particulars such as his name, designation, scale of pay, date of birth, nominee(s) for the fund, relationship of the nominee etc. in the prescribed for (Annexure I).

The DDO concerned will be responsible for obtaining this information from all Govt. servants covered under the New Pension Scheme.

The PAO concerned will allot a unique 16 digit Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN). The first four digits of this number will indicate the calendar year of joining Govt. service, the next digit indicates whether it is a Civil or a Non-civil Ministry, the next six digits would represent the PAO Code (which is used for the purpose of compiling monthly accounts), the last five digits will be the running serial number of the individual govt.

servant which will be allotted by the PAO concerned. PAO will allot the serial number pertaining to individual Govt. servants from 00001 running from January to December of a calendar year. A register will be maintained for allotment of PRAN to ensure that PRAN are allotted in sequence and there is no duplication of PRAN.

For the flow of information from Non Civil Ministries/Departments to the CPAO, each of them will nominate a Nodal Office, which will be responsible for forwarding the consolidated information/particulars in respect of their Ministry/Departments and for correspondence with CPAO.

The particulars of the Govt. servants received from the various DDOs will be consolidated by the Nodal Office identified in each Ministry/Department/Office and sent to the CPAO. The CPAO will keep this information in their computer database.

The accounting heads involved in the operation of the new pension scheme will be intimated in due course.

The first salary bill of the new entrant will be passed after ensuring that the Annexure-I is received.

Tier1 amount equal to 10% of the (basic+da+npa) will be deducted from the payBill and a matching contribution will also be credited to the individuals credit.

Separate paybill should be prepared for the individuals who are covered under this scheme. The schedule information is to be captured in the Annexure-II, which should be carefully checked. The data file of annexure-I and annexure-II will be created and forwarded to CPAO on monthly basis. CPAO on receipt of this information will update its database and generate exception reports for missing credits, mismatches etc.

No withdrawal of any amount will be allowed during the interim arrangements.

At the end of each financial year the CPAO will prepare annual accounts statements for each employee showing opening balance, details of monthly deduction and Govt.’s matching contribution, interest earned, if any, and the closing balance. CPAO will send these statements to Nodal Office concerned.

After the close of each financial year, CPAO will have to report the details of the balances (PAO-wise) to each PAO for the purpose of reconciliation. The PAO will reconcile the figures of contributions with figures as per the books of CPAO.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Re-designation of the merged cadre of SO(A) and AAO

with 2 comments


Subject:- Re-designation of the merged cadre of SO(A) and AAO and classification thereof :

Ministry of Finance vide Notification under GSR 622 (E) dated 29.08.08 had upgraded the pre-revised pay scales of Section Officer (Accounts) and Assistant Accounts Officer and placed them in a common Pay Band (PB-2 Rs 9300-34800) with Grade Pay of Rs 4800/- merging the posts of Section Officer (Accounts) and Assistant Accounts Officer.

2. Consequently, it has been decided that the merged cadre of Section Officer(Accounts) and Assistant Accounts Officer will be re-designated as Assistant Accounts Officer and classified as Group ‘B’ Gazetted. Till such time, the new Recruitment Rules are framed, the promotions to the new cadre of AAO would be made in terms of existing RRs of Section Officer (Accounts) cadre.

3. This will take effect from the date of issue of this letter.

Workshop on EPI for Identification of Assessment of Critically Polluted Areas

with 0 Comment


One Day Workshop on Development of Environmental Pollution Index (EPI) for Identification and Assessment of Critically Polluted Areas begins here tomorrow. The aim of this workshop is to develop an Environmental Pollution Index (EPI) for the quantification of the environment health of industrial areas. The EPI helps in synthesizing the available information on environmental status of the area by using quantitative criteria, thus reducing complex information into a smaller, more easily retained, amount of information. EPI also helps in determining the effectiveness and comparing alternative plans and policies and assists environmental decision-makers in initiating appropriate measures in ranking the critically polluted areas. Subsequently, the decision makers can devise an effective and efficient management plans to improve the environmental quality of the identified critically polluted areas.

The new EPI will help to yield information about linkages between causes and effects and cross-link them. It will be possible to analyze adequately complex, multidisciplinary, large-scale, global phenomena.

Objectives of the workshop are to identify the adequacy of the available data and monitoring protocols in terms of air, water and soil quality parameters which could be used for representing the environmental health of the area, to get feedback on the proposed EPI which is based on the concept, Source -> Pathways -> Receptor, which is simple to use, transparent, and expandable across other issues, apply the proposed EPI to selected polluted area and relatively rank them in terms of their environmental health and propose a guideline for preparing action plan (industry specific as well as infrastructure specific) as corrective and preventive measures for the critically polluted areas.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bank 9th Bipartite :Bank employees may have to wait little more for pay hike

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There is always a slip between the cup and lip, as they say. And for nearly 8 lakh officers and employees waiting for their wage hike , the gap may not be bridged in a hurry. This is even as the Indian Banks Association (IBA) and United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) have agreed upon a 17.5% wage hike.

But, there seems a devil hiding in the details of the proposed option to join the pension scheme for those who are out of the pension net currently. Issues like accounting for the cost of pension and its cost-sharing arrangement between bank management and employees have cropped up which is delaying the entire negotiation process. The wage revision is due from November 2007.

For starters, IBA and UFBU have now agreed upon a 17.5% wage hike over the establishment expenses of banks as on March 31, 2007. IBA, the body for the bank management, has also in principle agreed to offer the pension option to those who did not opt for it in 1993. Around 2.66 lakh public sector bank employees do not get monthly pension.

Even after agreeing on the second pension, IBA has put fresh conditions. It now wants employees to share a burden for building up the pension corpus. Then, the proposed introduction of New Pension Scheme (NPS) and variable pay are still need to be resolved, said All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) president Rajen Nagar. AIBEA is the largest bank union.

Top bankers who are part of the wage negotiation did not want to officially comment at this juncture. Yet, they have confirmed that IBA has agreed in principle to offer the second option for pension.

For the second pension option, banks (barring SBI) will have to shell out an additional Rs 6,000 crore collectively. IBA is also likely to consider pension option for bankers who retired before March 31, 2008 and are out of the purview of pension scheme.

Although, both the parties have in principle agreed to the core issues, some details are yet to be worked out, said State Bank of India’s employee’s association s general secretary for Bengal circle, Shyamal Karmakar. However, this pension issue does not really bother SBI employees who are always entitled to pensions.

However, UFBU -- the umbrella organisation for nine leading bank unions -- is not also comfortable with the IBA s proposal to introduce NPS for bankers joining after April 2010. We want the old pension scheme to continue till October 31, 2012. We have committed that unions will discuss the issue of NPS after this. Mr Nagar said. Incidentally, the ninth bipartite settlement will be valid till October 31, 2012.

We are also against the concept of variable pay. It deteriorates performance rather than improving it, Mr Nagar opined.
Source : Economic Times.

Fixation of pay in case of employees who seek transfer to a lower post under FR 15(a)

with 1 comment

F.No. 13/9/2009-Estt(Pay-I)

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Department of Personnel & Training
Esst(Pay-I) Section

North Block, New Delhi-03
dated 21st October, 2009

OFFICE MEMORANDUM



Subject:- Fixation of pay in case of employees who seek transfer to a lower post under FR 15(a) - clarification regarding.



The undersigned is directed to refer to instructions issued vide this Department's OM NO. 16/6/2001-Estt(Pay-I) dated 14.2.2006 on the above subject. It was clarified therein that on transfer to the lower post/scale under FR 15(a), the pay of a Government servant holding a post on regular basis will be fixed at a stage equal to the pay drawn by him in the higher grade. If no such stage is available, the pay will be fixed at the stage next below the pay drawn by him in the higher post and the difference may be granted as personal pay to be absorbed in future increments. If the maximum of the pay scale of the lower post is less than the pay drawn by him in the higher post,his pay may be restricted to the maximum under FR 22(a)(a)3).

2.Consequent upon implementation of the revised pay structure comprising grade pays and running Pay Bands, w.e.f. 1.1.2006 in cases of appointment of Government servants to posts carrying lower Grade Pay under FR 15(a) on their own request, the pay in the pay band of the Government servant will be fixed at a stage equal to the pay in the pay band drawn by him prior to his appointment against the lower post. However, he will be granted grade pay of lower post. Further, in all cases, hewill continue to draw his increments based on his pay in the pay band +grade p(lower).

3. Where transfer to a lower post is made subject to certain terms and conditions then the pay may be fixed according to such terms and conditions.

4. In so far as persons serving in the Indian Audit & Accounts Department are concerned, these orders issue after consultation with the Comptroller & Auditor General of India.

5. This order takes effect from 1.1.2006.

Grant of DR to Provisionsl Pensioners or 5th CPC Pensioners

with 0 Comment


F.No.42/12/2009-P&PW(G)

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare

3rd Floor, Lok Nayak Bhawan,
Khan Market,New Delhi-03
DAted : 22nd October, 2009

OFFICE MEMORANDUM



Subject:- Grant of. Dearness Relief to Central Government pensioners who are in receipt of Provisional Pension or pension in the pre revised scales of 5th CPC - w.e.f. 1.7.2008 and 1.1.2009.



In continuation to this Department's OMs No. 42/2/2008-P&PW(G) dated 12th September, 2008 and 25th September, 2008 sanctioning the installment of DR admissible from 1.7.2008 and this Department's OM No.42/12/2009-P&PW(G) dated 27th March, 2009 sanctioning the installment of DR admissible w.e.f. 1.1.2009 the undersigned is directed to say that the President is pleased to grant the DR to those Central Government pensioners who are in receipt of Provisional Pension or pension in the pre-revised scales of 5thCPC at the rate of 54% w.e.f. 1.7.2008 and @ 64% w.e.f. 1.1.2009.

2. The other terms and conditions of this Department's OM dated 12.9.2008 and 27.3.2009 remain unchanged.

3. In their application to pensioners/family pensioners belonging to Indian Audit & Accounts Department, these orders are issued in consultation with C&AG.

4. This issues with the concurrence of Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure vide their UO No. 350/EV/09 dated 12.10.2009.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New rural cover scheme does away with health checks

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People living in rural parts of the country will soon be able to avail insurance cover without being subject to mandatory health check-ups as is the norm for life insurance policies.

The department of posts is set to launch a major micro life insurance policy which will no more require the insurees to disclose their present health condition or diseases at the time of buying the policy, a move aimed at expanding the coverage in rural India.

The proposed insurance scheme, which can be availed by economically weaker sections (EWS) of the society and particularly women, will provide a risk cover up to Rs 25,000, said an official in the ministry of communication and information technology. The aim is to cover around one-tenth of Indians and become one of the potent players in the Indian insurance sector by easing out the procedural formalities that precedes purchase of any life insurance scheme.

While the new scheme has been made customer friendly, the postal department will put in place system and process to address the issue of fake claims. To ensure that relaxation over disclosing the insuree’s health condition does not lead to wrong claims, the claimant has to file a death certificate issued by a government doctor on the deceased’s cause of death, the official said. If the medical report says that the insuree was suffering from any ailment that existed prior to the purchase of the insurance policy, the postal department has an option not to honour the insurance claim. The policy premium will vary according to the age of the insuree and the duration of the policy.

India Post expects to cover around 100 million Indians by the end of 2011 under the scheme, this policy is assumed to play a major role in attaining this objective. The move is a part of the initiative taken by India post to put a major thrust on its insurance services and have a strong presence in the insurance sector specially in rural areas,” the official added.

Eight million lives and a sum of Rs 40,000 crore have been insured, since the launch of rural postal life insurance scheme launched in 1995, under various policies offered by India Post under the rural postal life insurance. The department also plans to align its investment norms for life insurance policies to pump in part of its daily collections in revenue-generating instruments including stocks, a move which is likely to start from October 1, 2009.

With a huge presence in the country with around 1.55 lakh post offices, the postal department is slowly developing itself as a centre for distributing diversified services like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), life insurance and financial solutions to its customers apart from its mail delivery system.
Source: Economic Times

Govt against teachers' training in distant mode

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The government is considering to discourage offering pre-service training in distant mode for students looking forward to taking up teaching jobs.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal held a roundtable on teachers' education here on Monday where majority of the participants said teachers' education should be given on face-to-face mode in view of the importance of such education.

The government will convene a meeting of the vice chancellors soon to discuss the issue.

The members, which includes principals of many city schools, however, said the in-service teachers could be allowed to pursue teachers' training in distant mode.

The round table also discussed about the differential pattern of school education in states. While in some states, the primary schooling is up to class IV, a few other states have primary schools offering education up to class three.

The differential pattern also creates problem in planning teachers' training in the country.

All-India Consumer Price Index - September, 2009

with 0 Comment


All-India Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural and Rural Labourers on Base 1986-87=100 – September, 2009

The All-India Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural Labourers and Rural Labourers (Base: 1986-87=100) for September, 2009 increased by 7 points each to stand at 515 (Five hundred and fifteen) points for Agricultural Labourers and 514 (Five hundred and fourteen) points for Rural Labourers.

The rise in index varied from State to State. In case of Agricultural Labourers, 8 States reflected an increase in index between 9 to 13 points; 8 States between 5 to 8 points and 4 States between 1 to 4 points. Punjab with 569 points topped the index table whereas Manipur with the index level of 444 points stood at the bottom.

In case of Rural Labourers, the increase in index ranged between 9 to 14 points in 8 States, between 5 to 8 points in 7 States and between 1 to 4 points in 5 States. Punjab with 568 points topped the index table whereas Manipur with the index level of 445 points stood at the bottom.

The Consumer Price Index Numbers of West Bengal State for Agricultural Labourers registered the highest increase of 13 points mainly due to increase in the prices of rice,wheat atta, Khesari dal, vegetables & fruits, sugar, gur and bidi while for Rural Labourers, the index of Punjab State recorded the maximum increase of 14 points mainly due to increase in the prices of rice, wheat/maize atta, turmeric, vegetables & fruits, sugar, gur, tea readymade, firewood and leather/ plastic shoes.

Point to point rate of inflation based on the CPI-AL and CPI-RL increased from 12.89% and 12.67% in August, 2009 to 13.19% and 12.97% respectively in September, 2009. The rates of inflation during September, 2008 were 10.98% for both the series.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pay and promotional disparity in BSF compared to armed forces

with 20 comments


World's largest para-military organisation, Border Security Force (BSF) suffers from highest attrition for quite a while. Experts cite reasons like low promotional avenues along with pay disparity in relation to their armed forces counterparts after the implementation of the Sixth pay commission report for the high attrition rate in the BSF. Every month at least 350-400 BSF jawans and officers seek premature retirement of which Rajasthan Frontier has not been far behind.

A BSF source said the Centre does not realise the challenges our jawans and officers face every day while protecting the 7,000 km long border adjoining Pakistan and Bangladesh. "During 30-35 years of career, a BSF person could manage to stay not more than a few days with his family and the promotional avenues in comparison to the army personnel, it has been frustrating for them," said a source.

According to an available data more than 900 jawans and officers from the Rajasthan Frontier alone left the job during October 1, 2008 to September 30 ,2009. The data released by BSF headquarters at New Delhi reads that in 2008 alone at least 4,400 people left the job while till June 2009, it has crossed 2,600 at the all-India level from the organisation.

As the data reveals most of the personnel leave the job after completing 20 years in service just to take post retirement benefits while almost 40% of them leave the organisation well before 20 years of service on account of low wages, promotional avenues and tough living conditions and service conditions.

A retired director general BSF, M L Kumavat, accepted the fact of high attrition rate in the BSF but said "The trend has been arrested after the implementation of the pay commission report." Kumavat believes that not only the service conditions and pay disparity have not been the reasons for high attrition. "People leave the job as they get lucrative offers from the private sectors and also family pressures and responsibility plays its role," added Kumavat.

Kumavat accepted the fact that a constable in the BSF takes at least 20 years to be promoted to head constable while a similar rank in the Army needs 7-8 years to reach that level. Similarly, a second command officer in the BSF have not been included in the pay band 4 (P4) while his counterparts Lt colonel has been included.

Agrees P S Nayar, general secretary, All India Central Para Military Forces and Services Welfare Association, who said "The difference between the salary of a jawan in BSF and Army is of at least Rs 5,000 a month meanwhile the difference goes up to Rs 22,000 in case of higher ranks. This disparity does more harm than good so far moral of BSF is concerned."
Source:The Times of India

Retirement age of university teachers raised from 60 to 62

with 1 comment


The Bihar Government has decided to raise the retirement age of university and college teachers as well as that of non-teaching staff from 60 to 62 years.

The increase in the retirement age would, however, come into effect only after some relevant legal changes were approved by the State legislature.

A decision to raise the retirement age was taken at a special State Cabinet meeting here on Saturday evening.

The Government's decision would benefit at least 7,000 teachers and non teaching staff working in the State's nine universities.

In Patna university alone, 50 per cent of the posts were lying vacant.
Source: UNI

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DA hike for section of CPSE employees

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The government has announced a five percentage point increase in dearness allowance effective from July for employees of the public sector enterprises that follow the Central Dearness Allowance pattern.

The Department of Public Enterprises has cleared the proposal for enhancing the existing rate of DA from 22 per cent to 27 per cent.

"These rates may be made applicable in the case of CDA (Central Dearness Allowance) employees, whose pay have been revised with effect from January 1, 2006," The DPE said in a circular.

However, only 69 CPSEs out of 242 follow the CDA pattern.

As many as 96 per cent of the total 15 lakh people employed in all Central Public Sector Enterprises are paid the Industrial Dearness Allowance (IDA).
Source:PTI

Central Government Employees Group Insurance Scheme

with 0 Comment


A portion of monthly contributions paid while in service is credited in a Saving Fund, on which interest accrues. A Government servant while entering service has to apply in Form No. 4 of the above Scheme to the Head of Office, who shall issue a sanction for the payment of subscriber’s accumulation in the Savings Fund segment together with interest and arrange for its disbursement, soon after retirement. Payments under this Scheme are made in accordance with the Table of Benefit which takes in to account interest up to the date of cessation of service. Insurance cover benefit under this Scheme is available to the family in the event of death of the subscriber. No interest is payable on account of delayed payments under this Scheme.

central Government Employees Group Insurance Scheme, 1980 - Tables of Benefits for the Savings Fund for the period from 1.1.2009 to 31.12.2009.

Railway Ministry:

In continuation of this Ministry's letter No.PC-III/2000/GIS/2 dated 15.01.2008, a copy of O. M. No.7(2)/EV/2008 dated 22.12.2008 of the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure on the above subject is forwarded herewith for information and necessary action.

Finance Ministry:

The undersigned is directed to r/efer to this Ministry's O.M. No.7{3)/EV/2oo7 dated 18th December, 2007 forwarding ther ewith Tables of Benefits under CGEGISfor the year 2008. New Tables of Benefits for the savings fund of the Scheme based on a subscription of Rs.I0 per month from 1.1.1982to 31.12.1989 and Rs.15 per month w.e.f. 1.1.1990 onwards have been prepared for the year 2009 and a copy of the table is enclosed. Another Table of Benefits for the savings fund based on a subscription of Rs.10 per month for those employees who has opted out of the revised rates of subscription w.eJ. 1.1.1990 have also been drawn up for the year 2009 and a copy of that table Is also enclosed. The amounts in the Tables have been worked out on the basis of interest @ 10% per annum(compounded quarterly) for the period from 1.1.1982 to 31.12.1982, 11% per annum(compounded quarterly) w.e.f. 1.1.1983 to 31.12.1986, 12%per annum(compounded quarterly) w.e.f. 1.1.1987 to 31.12.2000, 11% per annum (compounded quarterly) w.eJ. 1.1.2001 'co 31.12.2001, 9.5% per annum(compounded quarterly) w.eJ. 1.1.2002 to 31.12.2002, 9.0% per annum(compounded quarterly) w.e.f. 1.1.2003 to 31.12.2003 and 8% per :annum (compounded quarterly) w.eJ. 1.1.2004 onwards. The mortality rate under the Scheme has been taken as 3.75 per thousand per annum up to 31.12.1987 and 3.60 per thousand per annum thereafter in both the cases. While calculating the amount it has been assumed that the subscription has been recovered or will be recovered fr om the salary of the month in which a member ceases to be in service failing which it sh'Juld be deducted from accumulated amounts payable.

2. In its application to the employees of Indian Audit and Accounts Depa.rtment this Office Memorandum issues in consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Price data once a month

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The government will release inflation data, based on the wholesale price index, every month rather than on a weekly basis.

The base year for the new data has been changed to 2004-05 from 1993-94. “The new series of WPI inflation with 2004-05 as the base year would be introduced in November,” commerce minister Anand Sharma told reporters after a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs.

However, the government will come out with a weekly price index for primary articles, such as rice and wheat, and commodities, including fuel and power, to facilitate the monitoring of the prices of agriculture commodities and petroleum products that are “sensitive in nature”.

The changes in the inflation data pattern are being brought in line with global practices. “The new proposal is based on the recommendations of the National Sample Survey Organisation, and the practice is followed worldwide,” said Sharma.

At present, the base year for the wholesale-price-index-based inflation is 1993-94, and it measures the price movements of 435 items. The new WPI will include more items, mostly processed food products and industries such as telecom which were earlier not properly reflected in the index.

Abhijit Sen, a member of the plan panel, who headed a working group that updated the existing index, said the existing price index, which uses 1993-94 as the base, might have been underestimating inflation. The new index will capture the economic scene better, he said. The panel plans to update the indexes of industrial production and consumer prices, too.

Officials said an underestimation could mean that the recent price surges seen in food items and industrial products such as metals was actually much higher. “WPI will now become more representative of today’s price reality,” said D.K. Joshi of Crisil.

According to policy-makers, monthly WPI data along with the weekly numbers for primary articles will help the Reserve Bank of India to better manage its monetary policy.

Plan panel officials said data generated under the new indirect tax regime — the goods and service tax is scheduled to be introduced from next fiscal — would come in handy in calculating the new index.
Source: Telegraph

Centre planning to establish 10,000 ITIs and 1,000 Polytechnics across country

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Centre planning to establish 10,000 ITIs across country

The Central government is planning to establish 10,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in rural areas across the country for imparting technical training to the rural youth.

Union minister of state for planning V Narayanasamy announced this on Monday while inaugurating the first national convention of rural institutes, organized by the National Council of Rural Institutes.

“We have opened the flood gates for foreign investment in the education sector. Our thrust is on expanding the educational infrastructure in the rural areas by opening more institutes and universities,” the minister said.

He said plans were afoot to set up one rural university in each backward and tribal clusters across the country. Besides, 25,000 schools would also be set up in rural areas under the Public-Private Partnership mode.

The ambitious Bharat Nirman programme launched by the government of India with an outlay of Rs1 lakh-crore has helped in containing migration of rural people to urban areas to a certain extent what with creation of better infrastructure facilities in villages, he added.

“With emphasis on rural education and health care apart from infrastructure development, people in rural areas could feel better off. We can stop migration through such efforts,” Narayanasamy pointed out. National Council of Rural Institutes chairman S V Prabhath, former director of IIT-Madras P V Indiresan and others were present.
Source: PTI


Centre approves setting up 1000 new polytechnics: Minister

A new scheme of setting up 1,000 polytechnics across the country has been approved by the Centre to create more job opportunities for youth and arrest migration of rural youth to urban areas in search of jobs, Union Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs V Narayanasamy said today.

Inaugurating the first National Convention of rural institutes organised by the National Council of Rural Institutes (NCRI), he said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government was committed to provision of Urban facilities in Rural Areas (PURA) propagated by former President A P J Abdul Kalam.

''Skill training is needed for millions of youngsters. Older people also needs to be re-trained. The NCRI can play a lead role here,'' he observed.

The success stories of the Gandhi Gram Rural University in Tamil Nadu and Barefoot College built by Barefoot Architects in Tilonia, Rajasthan, amply manifested the Gandhian principles of higher learning and rural development, he pointed out.

He said under the National Mission on Education, internet connectivity would be provided to 20,000 colleges and 10,000 departments in universities at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore in the next three years. The Union Government also planned to set up 2.50 lakh common service centres across the country, he added.

He urged the NCRI to promote at least one rural university in each of the clusters of backward and interior rural and tribal areas of the country.

Noting that wherever local bodies were active and functioned well, the implementation of rural developmental programmes was much better, he stressed the need for developing skills of Panchayat Raj Institutions in designing, planning, monitoring and implementation of these programmes.

The UPA Government's agenda was to transform India into a ''superpower of peace and inclusive prosperity in 21st century.'' Referring to the Centre's decision to restructure the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana and convert it into a national Rural Livelihoods Mission, he said a multi-pronged strategy would be adopted for poverty reduction in a time-bound manner by providing sustainable livelihood through various means to rural people below poverty line.

Poorest of poor, hitherto uncovered by government schemes, would be provided identity cards by the Unique Identification Authority of India and made part of inclusive development, he added.
Source:UNI

Monday, October 19, 2009

AIANGOs Dharana on 12th Oct,2009 at OFB, Kolkatta

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Some fantastic dharna photos collected from AIANGO's website...

To show their concern towards the Demands & Protest aganinst Non-Implementation of Government Orders by Ordnance Factory Board



New Pension Scheme Unacceptable: Communist Party of India (Marxist)

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New Pension Scheme Unacceptable

Below we reproduce the full text of the speech made by Dr Asim K Dasgupta, minister for finance and excise, government of West Bengal, at the conference with chief ministers and state finance ministers on ‘Issues related to Pension’:

WE appreciate the convening of this conference of chief ministers and state finance ministers on issues related to the New Pension Scheme and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill, 2005. It gives us an opportunity to express our views on a specially important aspect of social security in terms of pension for the government employees as well as other sections of working population of our country.

TWO PENSION SYSTEMS

For the government employees and others, such as teachers, employees of public undertakings, there has evolved over the years a social security scheme in terms of a defined benefit pension system. In this pension system, defined benefit in terms of 50 per cent of last salary (or average of last ten months’ salaries) drawn, commuted value of pension, gratuity, Dearness Relief etc. is ensured by the government. In West Bengal, the defined benefit pension system covers not only all state government employees, but also includes employees of state public undertakings, teachers and non-teaching staff of all state government-aided educational institutions from the primary to the university level as well as employees of the municipalities and the panchayats.

As against the, defined benefit pension system, a New Pension System (NPS) has been introduced by the government of India from January 1, 2004 for new entrants to services in the central government (other than the Armed Forces). This NPS means a shift from the defined benefit pension system to a defined contributory pension system. The new system works on defined contribution basis and has two tiers - Tier I and II. Contribution to Tier I is mandatory for all government employees (joining services from January 1, 2004), whereas contribution to Tier II is optional and at the discretion of the employees. In Tier I, the government employees have to make a contribution of 10 per cent of the basic pay plus dearness allowance which will be deducted from the salary bills. The government also has to make a matching contribution. Tier I contributions (and investment returns) are kept in a non-withdrawable Pension Tier I Account. Tier II contributions are kept in a separate account which is withdrawable at the option of the employee. In order to implement the scheme, there would be a Central Record Keeping Agency and several Pension Fund Managers to offer to the government employees, in the initial formulation, three categories of schemes A, B and C based on the proportion of investment in fixed income instruments and equities.

In order to give the NPS a statutory basis and to put in place a regulator with statutory powers, the union government introduced the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill, 2005 and after obtaining the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance has now proposed an amendment to the Bill to (a) make available to subscribers a further option – ‘D’ of 100 per cent investment of their fund in government securities, (b) provide that at least one of the pension fund managers’ be a government company or owned by a government company or companies, and ( c) prohibit investment of fund of subscribers overseas.

It is important to note that on the issue of providing a government guarantee of the retirement benefit, the New Pension System states [in Clause 20(f) of the Bill] that “there shall not be any implicit or explicit assurance of benefits except market based guarantee mechanism to be purchased by the subscriber.”

Despite this critical absence of assurance of benefits in this new scheme, the Defined Contribution Pension System is sought to be introduced in place of the Defined Benefit Pension Scheme on the basis of three arguments: (a) financial unsustainability of the Defined Benefit Pension System, (b) lack of choice of schemes and fund managers in this pension system and (c) inadequate coverage beyond the employees and workers in the organised sector.

We present our views on each of three important points mentioned above, as well as loss and gain of the government and the employees from New Pension System.

FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY OF THE DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION SYSTEM

The union finance ministry has made an estimate of rise in pension expenditure and increase in the ratio of pension expenditure to tax revenue taking the entire period 1993-94 to 2004-05 as a whole, and indicated a compound growth rate of pension expenditure of around 21 per cent for the central government and 27 per cent for the states, and an increase in the ratio of pension expenditure to tax revenue from 9.7 per cent to 12.6 per cent for the central government and from 5.4 per cent to more than 10 per cent for the states in 2004-05. On the basis of trend rate of pension expenditure and tax revenue over this period (1993-94 to 2004-05) as a whole, the projection has been made for financial unsustainability in terms of rise in pension-tax revenue ratio.

If, however, instead of taking the data for the entire period from 1993-94 to 2004-05 as a whole, the relevant data are carefully noted for the recent years, then a different picture emerges. In recent years, after introduction of the Value Added Tax in the states, growth rate of tax revenue of the states has increased significantly –– from a historic rate of growth of 12 per cent of sales tax revenue to more than 20 per cent growth rate of VAT revenue. Moreover, rate of growth of pension has also started falling in recent years. For West Bengal, for instance, during the last three financial years, growth in pension expenditure has been generally below 10 per cent.

On the basis of large sample data, and using standard actuarial techniques and LIC life expectancy figures, we have made a projection of likely behaviour of the ratio of pension expenditure to tax revenue for the state of West Bengal. Even if an allowance is made for increase in pension expenditure after accommodating possible recommendations of Pay Commission, in a balanced manner in terms of a 15 per cent annual increase in pension bill (in place of about 10 per cent annual increase now), and the tax revenue is projected to grow at 18 per cent, then the ratio of pension expenditure to tax revenue will, in fact, steadily fall to 9.6 per cent in 30 years, i.e., in 2037. If the tax revenue is projected to grow at 20 per cent, then the pension-tax revenue ratio will steadily fall further to 5.7 per cent. In other words, on the basis of careful assumptions and appropriate steps on pension expenditure and tax revenue growth, financial sustainability of the Defined Benefit Pension System can indeed be ensured.

LOSS AND GAIN OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM THE NEW PENSION SCHEME

The state government has also worked out the estimated expenditure for payment of government’s contribution under the new pension scheme. It has been estimated on the basis of 100 per cent replacement rate that the state government’s expenditure on this account will be Rs 33 crore in the first year and will increase to Rs 2,495 crore in 22 years, in addition to the expenditure on account of existing pension scheme. These requirements will go on increasing for 33 years, assuming that the newly employed recruits will render 33 years of service before retirement. Therefore, for about 33 years, after the introduction of the new pension scheme, the total pension expenditure of the state government will keep on increasing at a very high rate. It is only after 33 years that the effect of the new pension scheme can be felt. The contribution under the New Pension Scheme will then become more or less steady except for inflation-related increases and the pension expenditure under the existing scheme will come down as there will be no net addition to the number of pensioners covered by the existing scheme.

There can be net saving under the New Pension Scheme only when the reduction in expenditure in relation to the projected expenditure under existing scheme is more than the contribution to be paid by the government. This can only happen some time after 33 years. There is, therefore, no gain to the government at least in a time horizon of about 33 years. In fact, during this period, the government will have to bear substantial, additional burden.

LOSS FOR EMPLOYEE FROM THE NPS

Now let us look at the new pension scheme from the point of view of the employees. There will clearly be a cut in the wages of employee to the extent of 10 per cent of pay including dearness allowance throughout his service. This is a loss to the employee in terms of wages. Let us see what happens to his pension. Let us take the case of a Group D employee who is recruited in the year 2007. We assume that the employee will retire in 2040 after rendering 33 years of service. As per existing scheme of the government, he will get movement to the first, second and third higher scales after 8, 16 and 25 years of service. Thus, if the employee does not get any promotion, his pay including dearness allowance will increase from Rs 4,446 per month to Rs 8,943 per month at the end of 33 years. We are not considering the effect of inflation on salary. At 2006-07 price, the employee would be entitled to the following retirement benefits under the existing scheme: -

i) Pension including pension - Rs 4,472 per month relief, before commutation (In West Bengal, at the rate of 50 per cent of last salary drawn)

ii) Gratuity - Rs 1,46,702

Let us assume that an employee contributes 10 per cent of his pay including dearness. allowance every month and the government makes an equal contribution. We also assume that the deposit earns a real rate of interest of 2 per cent per annum, with nominal rate of interest being appropriately higher depending on the rate of inflation. Now, if from the amount accumulated at the end of 33 years, the gratuity (to which he is entitled as per existing pension scheme) is paid off and the balance is converted into an annuity with survivor benefits, the employee would get an amount of Rs 3,600 per month, which is about 80 per cent of the pension he would have got under the existing scheme. In other words, the employee will lose 20 per cent of his existing retirement benefits if he comes under the new pension scheme. Moreover, the annuities are generally not inflation-indexed and therefore, the annuity will remain fixed throughout his life and the life of the survivor. This means that with increase in the cost of living index, the pension will fall further, unlike in the case of existing scheme in which an employee gets 100 per cent neutralisation for increase in the cost of living index through dearness relief. Thus, there is a serious loss to the employee in so far as his retirement benefits are concerned in addition to the loss that. He has suffered through effective wage-reduction during his service.
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Dearness Allowance for workmen and officer employees in banks - Aug Sep Oct 2009

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Dearness Allowance for workmen and officer employees in banks - Aug Sep Oct 2009


Dearness Allowance for workmen and officer employees in banks
Payable for the Year Payable for the months Average CPI No. of slabs % of pay
2009 Aug Sep Oct 3454 291 52.38
2009 May June July 3378 272 48.96
2009 Feb Mar April 3370 270 48.6
2008-09 Nov Dec Jan 3302 253 45.54
2008 Aug Sep Oct 3172 221 39.78
2008 May/Jun/July 3089 200 36
2007-08 Feb/Mar/April 3056 192 34.56
2007-08 Nov/Dec/Jan 3028 185 33.3
2007 Aug/Sep/Oct 2944 164 29.52
2006-07 May/Jun/Jul 2907.06 154 27.72
2006-07 Feb/Mar/Apr 2898.84 152 27.36
2006-07 Nov/Dec/Jan 2836 137 24.66
2006 Aug/Sep/Oct 2768 120 21.6
2006 May/Jun/Jul 2716.28 107 19.26
2002 Feb/Mar/Apr 2312.17 157 0
2002 May/Jun/Jul 2307.23 155 0
2002 Aug/Sep/Oct 2346.67 161 0
2002-2003 Nov/Dec/Jan 2391.05 174 0
2003 Feb/Mar/Apr 2386.11 178 0
2003 May/Jun/Jul 2400.9 177 0
2003 Aug/Sep/Oct 2450.21 188 0
2003-2004 Nov/Dec/Jan 2460.07 194 0
2004 Feb/Mar/Apr 2474.86 198 0
2004 May/Jun/Jul 2484.71 200 0
2004 Aug/Sep/Oct 2524.15 205 0
2004-2005 Nov/Dec/Jan 2578.38 220 0
2005 Feb/Mar/Apr 2568.53 224 0
2005 May/Jun/Jul 2588.25 226 0
2005 Aug/Sep/Oct 2604 79 14.22
2005-2006 Nov/Dec/Jan 2672.05 93 16.73
2006 Feb/Mar/Apr 2711.5 106 19.08










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