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Highlights of the Railway Budget 2016-17 - An Official Report

Highlights of the Railway Budget 2016-17 - An Official Report

Highlights of the Railway Budget 2016-17
Theme of the Budget : Overcoming challenges – Reorganize, Restructure Rejuvenate Indian Railways: ‘Chalo, Milkar Kuch Naya Karen’
Three pillars of the strategy i.e. Nav Arjan – New revenues, Nav Manak – New norms, Nav Sanrachna – New Structures.

Financial Performance : 2015-16- Savings of Rs. 8,720 crore neutralizing most of the revenue shortfall, expected OR 90%;
2016-17- Targeted Operating Ratio (OR) - 92%, restrict growth of Ordinary Working Expenses by 11.6% after building in immediate impact of 7th PC, reductions planned in diesel and electricity consumption, Revenue generation targeted at Rs. 1,84,820crore.

Investments and Resources : Process bottlenecks overhauled including delegation of powers to functional levels; average capital expenditure over 2009-14 is Rs. 48,100 crore, average growth of 8% per annum.
2015-16 investment would be close to double of the average of previous 5 years.
2016-17 CAPEX pegged at Rs. 1.21 lakh crore; implementation through joint ventures with states, developing new frameworks for PPP, etc.

Vision : By 2020, long-felt desires of the common man to be fulfilled i.e, reserved accommodation on trains available on demand, time tabled freight trains, high end technology to improve safety record, elimination of all unmanned level crossings, improved punctuality, higher average speed of freight trains, semi high speed trains running along the golden quadrilateral, zero direct discharge of human waste. 
2015-16-Achievements : Action initiated on 139 budget announcements of 2015-16. 

Project execution2015-16 - assured funding through LIC; commissioning of 2,500 kms Broad Gauge lines; commissioning of 1,600 kms of electrification, highest ever. In 2016-17 - targeted commissioning 2,800 kms of track; commissioning Broad Gauge lines @ over 7 kms per day against an average of about 4.3 kms per day in the last 6 years. Would increase to about 13 kms per day in 2017-18 and 19 kms per day in 2018-19; will generate employment of about 9 crore man days in 2017-18 and 14 crore man days in 2018-19. Outlay for railway electrification increased in 2016-17 by almost 50%; target to electrify 2,000 kms.
Dedicated Freight Corridor : Almost all contracts for civil engineering works to be awarded by March 31st 2016; Rs. 24,000 crore contracts awarded since November 2014 as against Rs. 13,000 crore contracts awarded in last 6 years; propose to take up North-South, East-West & East Coast freight corridors through innovative financing including PPP.

Port connectivityTuna Port commissioned and rail connectivity projects to ports of Jaigarh, Dighi, Rewas and Paradip under implementation; implementation of rail connectivity for the ports of Nargol and Hazira under PPP in 2016-17.

North EastBG Lumding-Silchar section in Assam opened thus connecting Barak Valley with rest of the country; Agartala brought on to the BG network. States of Mizoram and Manipur shortly to come on BG map of the country with commissioning of the Kathakal-Bhairabi and Arunachal-Jiribam Gauge Conversion projects.

Jammu and KashmirWork on Katra-Banihal section of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project progressing satisfactorily- 35 kms of tunnelling out of total of 95 kms completed; Decongestion work on Jalandhar - Jammu line in full swing and doubling of two bridges to be commissioned by March 2016, while the other two bridges will be completed by 2016-17.

Make in India: Finalised bids for two loco factories; proposed to increase the current procurement of train sets by 30%.

Capacity Building for the future throughTransparency – initiated recruitments online in 2015-16, process now being replicated for all positions, social media being used as a tool to bring in transparency, all procurement including procurement of works moved to the e-platform, completed trial of process leading to award of tender electronically and to be rolled out on a PanIndia basis in 2016-17.

Governance - delegation led to compression of project sanction time to 6-8 months from 2 years earlier, key result areas identified to judge performance of GMs and DRMs, performance related MOUs signed with few Zones, to be replicated for all zones.

Internal audit measures - specialised teams mandated to screen railway operations in specific areas to detect inefficiencies and prevent wastages, every zone preparing 2 reports by March 31, 2016.

Partnerships – Cabinet approval for JVs with State Governments, 17 consented and 6 MOUs signed with State Governments. 44 new partnership works covering about 5,300 kms and valuing about Rs. 92,714 crore have been indicated in the Budget documents.

Customer InterfaceInteraction and feedback through social media & dedicated IVRS system.

Making travel comfortable by generating over 65,000 additional berths, installing 2,500 water vending machines; introducing ‘Mahamana Express’ with modern refurbished coaches; 17,000 bio-toilets in trains; world’s first Bio-Vacuum toilet developed.

Improving punctuality – operations audit for Ghaziabad to Mughalsarai section.

Ticketing: Introduced 1,780 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines, mobile apps & GoIndia smartcard for cashless purchase of UTS and PRS tickets, enhanced capacity of e-ticketing system from 2,000 tickets per minute to 7,200 tickets per minute and to support 1,20,000 concurrent users as against only 40,000 earlier.

Social initiatives: One-time registration for availing concessions while booking tickets online, online booking of wheelchairs & Braille enabled new coaches introduced for the Divyang, increased quota of lower berths for senior citizens and women, middle bays reserved in coaches for women.

Wi-Fi provided in 100 stations, to be provided in 400 more.

Stations being redeveloped – financial bid received for Habibganj, Bhopal; Cabinet approval for stations to be taken up under PPP.

Security through helplines & CCTVs.

Safety - 350 manned level crossings closed, eliminated 1,000 unmanned level crossings, 820 ROB/RUB completed in the current year and work going on in 1,350 of them.

Other major achievementsEnergy: annualized savings of Rs. 3,000 crore to be achieved in the next financial year itself, a year earlier than announced; achieved by procuring power directly at competitive rates using IR’s status as Deemed Distribution Licensee.

Rail University – initially identified the National Academy of Indian Railways at Vadodara.
Digital India: application of Track Management System (TMS) launched, inventory management module of TMS has resulted in inventory reduction by 27,000 MT resulting in saving of Rs.64 crore and scrap identification of 22,000 MT equivalent to Rs.53 crore.

The Way Ahead Improving quality of travel For the unreserved passenger –Antyodaya Express unreserved, superfast service.

Deen Dayalu coaches – unreserved coaches with potable water and higher number of mobile charging points.

For the reserved passenger – Humsafar - fully air-conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals

Tejas - will showcase the future of train travel in India. Will operate at speeds of 130 kmph and above.Will offer onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine, WiFi, etc. through one service provider for ensuring accountability and improved customer satisfaction
Humsafar and Tejas to ensure cost recovery through tariff and non-tariff measures

UDAY - overnight double-decker, Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri Express on the busiest routes, has the potential to increase carrying capacity by almost 40%.

Ticketing: Sale of tickets through hand held terminals; e- ticketing facility to foreign debit/credit cards; bar coded tickets, scanners and access control on a pilot basis. Expansion of Vikalp – train on demand to provide choice of accommodation in specific trains to wait-listed passengers. E-booking of tickets facility on the concessional passes available to journalists; facility of cancellation through the 139 helpline post verification using ‘One Time Password’ sent on registered phone number, to improve tatkaal services CCTV cameras on windows and periodic audit of PRS website.

Cleanliness -‘Clean my Coach’ service through SMS, ranking of A1 and A stations based on periodic third party audit and passenger feedback; waste segregation and recycling centres; ‘Awareness campaigns’; additional 30,000 bio-toilets; providing portable structures with biotoilets at all platforms of select stations for senior citizens, Divyang and women travellers, plan to explore innovative means of providing and maintaining toilets such as advertisement rights, CSR, voluntary support from social organizations.

Catering and stalls at stations -IRCTC to manage catering services in a phased manner; explore possibility of making catering services optional, adding 10 more IRCTC operated base kitchens; to build local ownership and empowerment, weightage will be given to district domicile holders for commercial licenses at stations. Stoppages: convert all operational halts into commercial halts for the benefit of the common man. Rail Mitra Sewa: expanding Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway to help the old and disabled passengers, strengthening the existing services for enabling passengers to book battery operated cars, porter services, etc. on a paid basis in addition to the existing pick up and drop, and wheel chair services.

Measures for Divyang: all stations under redevelopment accessible by Divyang; to provide at least one Divyang friendly toilet at each platform in A1 class stations during the next financial year and also ensure availability of wheelchairs in sufficient numbers at these stations.
Travel Insurance to passengers - to offer optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking.

Hourly booking of retiring rooms - will be handed over to IRCTC.

Janani sewa: children’s menu items on trains, baby foods, hot milk and hot water would be made available.

SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) Coaches - design and layout of our coaches to ensure higher carrying capacity and provision of new amenities including automatic doors, bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines, entertainment screens, LED lit boards for advertising, PA system.

Mobile Apps - integrate all facilities into two mobile apps dealing with ticketing issues and for receipt and redressal of complaints and suggestions.

Improving customer interface - skilling our front-end staff and those we employ through our service providers, information boards in trains enumerating the on-board services and also GPS based digital displays inside coaches to provide real time information regarding upcoming halts. Work underway on installation of a high-tech centralized network of 20,000 screens across 2000 stations for enabling real time flow of information to passengers and also unlock huge advertising potential. All A1 class stations will be manned with duly empowered Station Directors supported by cross functional teams; to make one person accountable for all facilities on trains.

Pilgrimage centres: to take up on priority the provision of passenger amenities and beautification on stations at pilgrimage centres including Ajmer, Amritsar, Bihar Sharif, Chengannur, Dwarka, Gaya, Haridwar, Mathura, Nagapattinam, Nanded, Nasik, Pali, Parasnath, Puri, Tirupati, Vailankanni, Varanasi and Vasco; also intend to run Aastha circuit trains to connect important pilgrim centres.

Porters- intend providing them with new uniforms and train them in soft skills, henceforth, to be called sahayak.

High Speed Rail: passenger corridor from Ahmedabad to Mumbai being undertaken with the assistance of the Government of Japan. SPV for implementing high speed projects will be registered this month. Prime benefit would be providing IR with technology advancements and new manufacturing capability.

Entertainment: propose to invite FM Radio stations for providing train borne entertainment; extend ‘Rail Bandhu’ to all reserved classes of travelers and in all regional languages.

Passenger traffic - Suburban traffic: in-principle approval for MUTP III received. Early award of tenders for elevated suburban corridors between Churchgate-Virar and between CSTM-Panvel; revive Ring Railway system in Delhi; launching a new investment framework for developing suburban systems in partnership with State Governments, development in Ahmedabad, Bangaluru, Hyderabad Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram on the anvil.

Winning back the lost modal share
Expanding the freight basket of IR - to start time-tabled freight container, parcel and special commodity trains on a pilot basis, container sector would be opened to all traffic barring coal, specified mineral ores and part-loads during the non-peak season. All existing terminals/sheds would be granted access to container traffic, where considered feasible. Rationalising the tariff structure – undertake review of tariff policy to evolve a competitive rate structure vis a vis other modes, permit multi-point loading/unloading and apply differentiated tariffs to increase utilization of alternate routes, explore possibility of signing long term tariff contracts with our key freight customers using pre-determined price escalation principles.

Building terminal capacity - proposed to develop Rail side logistics parks and warehousing in PPP mode, 10 goods sheds will be developed by TRANSLOC, the Transport Logistics Company of India, in 2016-17. To soon inaugurate India’s first rail auto hub in Chennai. Encourage development of cold storage facilities on vacant land near freight terminals. Local farmers and fisherman would be given preferential usage of the facility. A policy in this regard would be issued in the next 3 months.

Nurturing customers - will appoint Key Customer Managers to liaison with our major freight stakeholders; each Zonal Railway will develop customer commitment charter indicating service level commitments of IR, will explore the feasibility of opening up leasing of general purpose wagons.

Non fare revenues
Station redevelopment; monetizing land along tracks; monetizing soft assets – website, data, etc; advertising – in 2016-17 target 4 times the revenue of 2015-16; overhaul of parcel business - liberalize the current parcel policies including opening the sector to container train operators; revenues from manufacturing activity - by 2020, aim at generating annualised revenues of about Rs 4,000 crore.

Process Improvements
EPC projects standard document finalized, will implement at least 20 projects through this mode in 2016-17; by 2017-18, endeavour to award all works valuing above Rs. 300 crore through EPC contracts.

Performance output parameters based contracts - to review service contracts to integrate them and make them simpler and outcome focused.

Leveraging technology for project management- intend to use the latest drone and Geo Spatial based satellite technology for remotely reviewing the physical progress across major projects; monitoring of DFC to be operationalised through this mode in 2016-17.
System-wide Information Technology integration - initiated system wide integration, both horizontal and vertical, akin to an ERP through innovative partnership models.

Rail Development Authority
To enable fair pricing of services, promote competition, protect customer interests and determine efficiency standards; draft bill to be ready after holding extensive stakeholder consultations.

Undertaking Navarambh – a new beginning
Navinikaran - Structural Interventions Organisational Restructuring- proposed to reorganize the Railway Board along business lines and suitably empower Chairman, Railway Board. As a first step, cross functional directorates to be set up in Railway Board to focus on areas like non-fare revenues, speed enhancement, motive power and information technology; explore the possibility of unifying cadres for fresh recruitment of officers; strengthen PPP cell to improve ease of doing business with IR.

Sashaktikaran – Improving our planning practices To set up a Railway Planning & Investment Organisation for drafting medium (5 years) and long (10 years) term corporate plans; identify projects which fulfill the corporate goal. Prepare a National Rail Plan to harmonise and integrate the rail network with other modes of transport and create synergy for achieving seamless multi-modal transportation network across the country
Aekikaran – Consolidation: Forming a holding company of companies owned by IR.
Shodh aur vikas - Investing in the future: to set up a R&D organization, a Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement, SRESTHA. RDSO will now focus only on day to day issues while SRESTHA would drive long term research.
Vishleshan – Analyzing data: a dedicated, cross functional team called Special Unit for Transportation Research and Analytics (SUTRA) would be set up for carrying out detailed analytics leading to optimized investment decisions and operations
Navrachna – Innovation: by setting aside a sum of Rs. 50 crore for providing innovation grants to employees, startups and small businesses.

Avataran - Seven Missions for the transformation of IR
Missions will be headed by a Mission Director reporting directly to the Chairman, Railway Board and heading a cross functional team empowered to take all relevant decisions for a timely targeted delivery. Annual outcome based performance targets for the Mission would be announced and the Missions will finalise the implementation plans for short, medium and long terms and proceed accordingly
Mission 25 Tonne for 25 tonne axle load, Mission Zero Accident for safety, Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency), Mission Raftaar for higher speeds, Mission Hundred for commissioning 100 sidings/ freight terminals, Mission beyond book-keeping for accounting reforms, Mission Capacity Utilisation to prepare a blueprint for making use of the capacity created once DFC is commissioned.

Sustainability and Social Initiatives: Human Resources/ Skilling, Social initiatives, Environment
To tie up with the Ministry of Health for ensuring an exchange between Railways hospitals and Government hospitals; to introduce ‘AYUSH’ systems in 5 Railway hospitals; provide gang men with devices called ‘Rakshak’ for intimating them about approaching trains, also reduce the weight of the tools carried by them while patrolling. To provide toilets and air-conditioning in cabs for our loco pilots.

Set up two chairs – one C T Venugopal chair on Strategic Finance, research and policy development and another Kalpana Chawla chair on geo-spatial technology.
For youth - open our organisation to 100 students across Engineering and MBA schools for 2-6 months’ internships each year.

Partnering with Ministry of Skill Development - skill development on IR premises.
Undertaken energy audits for reducing energy consumption in non-traction area by 10% to 15% - all new light provisions will be LED luminaire and all Railway stations to be covered with LED luminaire in next 2 to 3 years.

Action plan drawn up for environmental accreditation, water management and waste to energy conversion. More than 2,000 locations provided with Rain Water Harvesting facility. In place of steel sleepers on steel bridges environmentally friendly composite sleepers made of recycled plastic waste will be used over all girder bridges.

32 stations and 10 coaching depots have been identified for installation of water recycling plants in the coming years.

Tourism
Partnering with State Governments for operating tourist circuit trains; recent upgradation of National Rail Museum, promotion of tourism through Railway museums and UNESCO world heritage Railways.
To spread awareness about our National Animal, the Tiger, complete packages including train journey, safaris and accommodation to cover the wildlife circuit comprising Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh will be offered. Annex1 of the Speech details the financial performance of the Indian Railways & the estimates of Receipts & Expenditure.

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE 2015-16:
  • Net reduction in Gross Traffic Receipts by Rs 15,744 crore in RE 2015-16 compared to the BE target of Rs 1,83,578 crore. Passenger earnings scaled down keeping in view the persistent negative growth trend since 2013-14 both in the suburban and non-suburban non-PRS segment of travel.
  • Freight earnings impacted mainly on account of low demand from the core sector resulting in resetting the target in R.E. 2015-16 to Rs 1,11,853 crore.
  • Stringent economy and austerity measures adopted to contain the Ordinary Working Expenses (O.W.E.) due to which budgeted Ordinary Working Expenses of Rs 1,19,410 crore decreased in the Revised Estimates 2015-16 to Rs. 1,10,690 crore i.e. by Rs 8,720 crore.
  • BE provided for an appropriation of Rs. 34,900 crore to the Pension Fund. However, based on trend, the pension outgo moderately decreased to Rs. 34,500 crore in RE.
  • Internal resource generation diminished and appropriation to DRF moderated to Rs. 5,500 crore in RE from the BE 2015-16 provisioning of Rs. 7,900 crore. Excess of receipts over expenditure in RE 2015-16 stands at Rs. 11,402.40 crore.
  • Plan size for 2015-16 is currently estimated at 1,00,000 crore i.e. the BE level. 

Budget Estimates 2016-17:

  • The intention to improve revenues and ensure appropriate investments which can continue the road-map of decongestion and enhance line-capacity enhancement as detailed in 2015-16. The focus is on enhanced CAPEX with a mix of various sources of funding in order to ensure that the projects are given assured funding.
  • Gross Traffic Receipts kept at Rs 1,84,820 crore . Passenger earnings growth has been pegged at 12.4 % and earnings target budgeted at Rs. 51,012 crore. The freight traffic is pegged at incremental traffic of 50 million tonnes, anticipating a healthier growth in the core sector of economy. Goods earnings is accordingly proposed at Rs. 1, 17,933 crore. Other coaching and sundries projected at Rs. 6,185 crore and Rs. 9,590.3 crore respectively.
  • OWE provides for the implementation of the 7th CPC.
  • Pension outgo budgeted at Rs 45,500 crore in 2016-17.
  • Higher staff cost and pension liability impacts the internal resource position of the Railways. Accordingly, appropriation to DRF from revenue placed at Rs 3,200 crore and that from Production Units at Rs 200 crore. A withdrawal of Rs 3,160 crore from DRF on net basis proposed though the gross expenditure to be met from DRF in the Annual Plan estimated at Rs 7,160 crore. Rs 5,750 crore proposed to be appropriated to the Capital fund. With a draw-down of Rs 1,250 crore from previous balances in the fund, plan requirement of Rs 7,000 crore for repayment of principal component of lease charges toIRFC met.
  • Railways are preparing a Plan size of Rs. 1,21,000 crore in 2016-17.
Annex-2 of the speech details the Implementation of Budget announcements 2015-16

Source: www.indianrailways.gov.in

7th CPC recommendations on retirement benefits NCCPA Latest Circular and Letter to Joint Secretary Implementation Cell

7th CPC recommendations on retirement benefits NCCPA Latest Circular and Letter to Joint Secretary Implementation Cell


NATIONAL CO-ORDINATION COMMITTEE OF PENSIONERS
Website: nccpahq.blogspot.in
E mail: nccpahq@gmail.com

13C Feroze Shah Road,m
New Delhi. 110 001
20th Feb. 2016.

President: Com. Shiv Gopal Misra..97176 47594
Secretary General: Com. K.KN. Kutty. . 98110 48303

Dear Comrades,

The National Joint Council of Action which met on 8th had decided to call upon the constituent originations to start preparation for an indefinite strike action. In a detailed plan chalked out, there will be a massive rally at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 11th March, 2016 in which the NJCA leaders will take part and the strike notice will be served on the Cabinet Secretary. Simultaneously, all the affiliated Associations and Federations will serve the strike notice to their respective heads of Department.. The strike is to commence from 6,00 AM on 11th “April, 2016. On different dates, every State capital and big industrial units will organize a massive rally of all Central Government employees in which all the NJCA members will be present and the preparation for the strike will be reviewed. The Railway and Defence Federations will complete the strike ballot by the 2nd week of February, 2016. Each Federation has been asked to chalk out their own programmes of campaign to make the strike a cent per cent success. 29th March will be observed throughout the country as Solidarity day by holding rallies and other mobilization programmes.

The NJCA met Sheri R.K. Chathurvedi, Joint Secretary, Implementation Cell, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance , on his invitation on 19th Feb. 2016. The Staff side explained the 26 demands and other issues on which the employees will be organizing the strike action in April, 2011. It is learnt that the implementation cell has not received reports on Department specific issues and the same might take time. The NJCA has pointed out to him that despite the submission of memorandum in many Departments the process of consultation with the Staff Side has not begun, barring a few. Shri Chathurvedi has agreed to expedite the process and the cell will place the list of Nodal officers on its website. It has also been agreed that the meeting with the empowered committee will be held in a fortnight’s time.

The NCCPA has written to Shri R.K. Chathurfvedi on issues pertaining to Pensioners. Our submissions are in consonance with the stand the NJCA has taken at the meeting with him on 19th Feb. 2016. The undersigned had participated in the discussions with the Joint Secretary IC. in his capacity as the member of the NJCA. We send herewith a copy of the said letter, which is self explanatory. We have included the grant of HRA for pensioners as an additional item on the basis of the discussions, the NCCPA Sectt. had on 7th Feb. 2016.

We appeal to the affiliates of NCCPA to get in touch with all organizations and branches and units and the pensioners to elicit their participation in the programmes of action chalked out by the NJCA. Once the state level meeting of NJCA is decided, we shall intimate you the itinery. Since the undersigned would be going over to most of the States, it is appropriate that we must organize a separate meeting of the Pensioners Organizations in each State Capital, the details of which will be communicated to you in our next communication. In the meantime, we propose to have a rally of Pensioners in all State capitals to project our demands separately either prior to 29th March or afterwards. The affiliates are requested to kindly intimate the undersigned their views and opinion over this proposal.

With greetings,

Yours fraternally,
K.K.N. Kutty
Secretary General

Copy of NCCPA/s letter to the Joint Secretary, Implementation Celll. New Delhi.

NATIONAL CO-ORDINATION COMMITTEE OF PENSIONERS.
Website: nccpahq.blogspot.in
E mail: nccpahq@gmail.com

13C Feroze Shah Road,m
New Delhi. 110 001
20th Feb. 2016.

President: Com. Shiv Gopal Misra..97176 47594
Secretary General: Com. K.KN. Kutty. . 98110 48303

Shri R.K. Chathurvedi,
Joint Secretary,
Implementation Cell,
Department of Expenditure,
Ministry of Finance,
North Block
New Delhi. 110 001.

Dear Sir,

Sub: 7thCPC recommendations on retirement benefits- Reg.

The National Co-ordinating Committee of Pensioners Association is the apex organisation of Associations/Federations of Central Government Pensioners. We had submitted a detailed memorandum to the 7th CPC on various demands, problems and grievances of the Central Government Pensioners. However, it must be sadly admitted that most of the issues, which we had projected before the Commission did not have a proper consideration, may be perhaps, due to the Commission’s perceived anxiety over the financial constrains of the Government of India. We have every reason to believe that their anxiety was not well placed, for the Government’s finances are far better presently than what it was two decades back. The memorandum submitted by the Staff Side JCM National Council had elaborately dealt with the issue concerning the relative capacity of the Government to pay its employees and pensioners in the background of accelerated growth of the economy, reduced tax burden on both business houses and the common people the reduced percentage of expenditure on wages, salary and pension with reference to the Government’s revenue resources, revenue expenditure and the GDP itself. The denial of the need based minimum wage,(in accordance wit Dy. Aykhroyd formula) in other words, the bare existence wage in the circumstance by the 7th CPC is incomprehensible. We are pointing out this aspect of the recommendations, for the successive earlier Commissions had denied the need based minimum wage on the specious plea of the inability of the Government to pay. We hope you will appreciate that the present pensioners, who were in active service in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, did suffer immensely as they were denied even the bare existence wages. They suffered on many counts, as they could not provide a decent standard of living to their families, could not construct a residential dwelling, could not educate their children properly for sheer want of requisite finances, so on and so forth. The Pensioners’ community is presently concerned again with the minimum wage as the re-fixation of pension on account of the wage revision effected by the 7th CPC is linked to the minimum wage. We, therefore, appeal that the grievances presented by the Staff Side, National Council JCM on the determination of the quantum of minimum wage by the 7th CPC must be considered seriously and necessary corrections made.

Another important issue we would like to present before you, concerns the New Pension Scheme introduced by the Government of India, with effect from. 1.1.2014. Both the Serving employees and Pensioners organisations placed before the Commission, rather passionately, to consider their submissions made for the replacement of the newly introduced defined contributory system of pension for those who entered the Government of India Service from.1.1.2014 with the time tested defined benefit scheme of pension. As of date the Government employees, by virtue of the new contributory pension scheme are divided into two classes viz. a good number of them receive emoluments after deduction of 10% towards pension contribution whereas the other for the same job is provided with a higher rate of emoluments. It is nothing but a blatant denial of equal pay for equal work. We had pointed out to the Commission in no uncertain terms that the new scheme was conceived as an idea to allow the flow of the hard earned income of the employees to the Stock market and permit the access of those funds for the corporate houses with no guaranteed return to the contributor. We had pleaded before the Commission to recommend for the exclusion of the Government employees from the purview of the NPS, if the scrapping of the scheme is infeasible in the light of the enactment of PFRDA. The Commission, as you could see from the report, has enumerated innumerable flaws, defects, deficiencies and what not in the administrative apparatus of the NPS, which has now amassed huge funds and its coffers are swelling enormously day by day. They have still not evolved a mechanism to monitor the remittances by the concerned employers. The Commission has suggested in the light of their findings, cosmetic remedial measures which in all fairness one should admit, will not address the issue. In short, the Commission has not been emboldened to make a positive recommendation for the exclusion of the Central Government employees from its ambit, even though they have been convinced of the force of our submissions and arguments. We may also state that the Commission which was anxious of the increased financial outflow on account of the revision of wages and pension did not, rather failed to recognise the enormous outflow of tax payers money to the pension fund in the form of Governmental Contributions. Without stating the various other demerits of the New Contributory Pension Scheme, as it has been oft-repeated, we plead that the Government employees be excluded from the Contributory Pension scheme and all of them irrespective of their date of recruitment be brought within the purview of the time tested defined benefit pension system.

Besides the submissions made in the preceding paragraphs, we enumerate hereunder some specific issues concerning pensioners and request the Implementation Committee to consider the same and place it before the empowering committee for acceptance.

1. Parity between the past and present pensioners be brought about on the basis of the 7th CPC recommendations with the modification that the basis of computation be the pay level of the post/grade/scale of pay from which the employee retired, whichever is beneficial to him.

The 7th CPC has recommended the modus operandi for bringing about parity between the past and present pensioners. While issuing orders in acceptance of this recommendation, we urge upon that care may be taken to provide the benefit to the pensioners as envisaged by the Commission in its letter and spirit. Often we find when the orders are issued, the same is interpreted by the pension disbursing authority in such a manner that the envisaged benefit is denied to the deserving personnel on flimsy technical grounds. We want you to appreciate that it is not a perceived grievance but a real and genuine one. To cite a recent example:, When the orders on the question of modified parity was issued after the 6th CPOC recommendation, the benefit was denied to a large number of pensioners by such an interpretation made by the Offices of the Controller General of Accounts. The issue had to be agitated in the Central Administrative Tribunal, where the CGA’s interpretation was set aside. The Government dragged the poor pensioners upto the highest court of justice in the country, the Supreme Court, before the concerned order was amended. Even in the amended order, care was not taken to convey the benefit to certain pensioners fully on the specious plea that the words employed in the original orders speaks only of the scale of pay and not of the revised scale of pay. It is highly unethical to drag the pensioners to the Courts. They are compelled to bear the huge expenditure involved in the litigation at the level of the Supreme Court . To avoid the recurrence of such a scenario, we plead that the orders must specify in unambiguous terms, that the parity must be with reference to the level of pay of an individual employee of the post/grade/scale of pay from which he/she retired, whichever is beneficial to that individual. This is to take care of the situation where the concerned Government servant had been granted MACP, or the pay scale/pay band/grade pay/ had been revised by the Government either suo motu or on the basis of the recommendation of the Pay Commission.

2. Pension to be 60% of the last pay drawn and family pension to be 50% of the last pay drawn. Minimum pension to be 60% of the minimum wage and minimum family pension to be 50% of the Minimum wage.

In our memorandum, we had demanded that pension to be 66.6% of the last pay drawn and the minimum pension to be 66.66% of the minimum wage. The CPC has not conceded this demand. Our present request in the matter is that the pension must be fixed at 60% of the last pay drawn and the minimum pension at the rate of 60% of the minimum wage. This is on the ground that minimum wage is computed taking into account the family consisting of three units of two adults and two children ( i.e. 1+0.8+0.6+0.6=3) Since the requirement of the children can be excluded in the case of pensioners, the rational approach will be to provide 60% of the minimum wage as the minimum pension Both the pension and the minimum pension has to be at the rate of 60% of the last pay drawn (or average emoluments) and the minimum wage respectively. The present stipulation of computing the pension at the rate of 50% and the minimum pension at 50% of the minimum wage has no basis at all. Family pension is granted mostly in the case of the surviving spouse or unmarried or widowed daughter. To reduce the pension beyond 10% is to heap misery and agony on the survivors. Our suggestion in the matter is that the surviving member of the family be provided with at least 50% of the pension.

3. Enhance the pension and family pension on the basis of the increased age of the pensioner. Grant 5% rise in pension for every addition of 5 years of age, 10% after attaining the age of 80 and 20% for those beyond 90.

The decaying process of physique gets accelerated normally after 60 years of age. To keep one fit, after the age of 60, increased expenses on various counts are needed. It was in recognition of this fact that the earlier Pay Commission suggested to calibrate the pension entitlement linking to the age of the pensioner. The demand was formulated to rein in a logical methodology for such increases. Our specific suggestion is to raise the quantum by5% (i.e. 65% at the age of 65) and by 5% for every five year increase in the age of pensioner. However, the increase will have to be 10% at the age of 85 and 20% at the age of 90.

4. Restoration of Commuted value after 10 years and gratuity as per the provisions of the Gratuity Act.

It is now an admitted fact that the Government recovers the full value of the commuted portion of the pension in 10 years including the interest. However, it has refused to accede to the demand for a revision of the period of restoration when it was taken up in the National Council. There had been no reason adduced as to why this demand cannot be accepted, when the issue was subjected to discussions before the 7th CPC. Fifteen years is too long a period and the last five years in which the pensioner is denied the full pension is without justification. We request you to kindly place this fact before the Empowering Committee for a favourable decision. In the matter of gratuity our demand is that the Government must adhere to the provisions of the Gratuity Act and no distinction between the Government employees and the workers in the Public or private enterprises be made in the matter.

5. Fixed Medical Allowance.

In the case of pensioners who resides at locations not covered by the CGHS scheme has no health care benefit at all. The serving employees are entitled for CGHS benefit if they stay in any of the 26 cities where the CGHS facilities are available, and they enjoy the benefit of CVCS(MA) Rules in other places. The Pensioners staying outside the CGHS areas are to bear the health care expenses from the3oir meagre pension amount. It is in consideration of this fact, a fixed medical allowance was introduced. However, the quantum of such allowance is a paltry sum of Rs. 500 p.m. In the neo-liberalised economic system, the administered price mechanism barring in the case of a few medicines, has been dispensed with, consequent upon which is the exorbitant prices of medicines in the market. The pensioner is not able to afford the prices of medicines. Either the Government must come forward to bring in the application of CCS(MA) rules to the pensioners who are not within the ambit of CGHS or the FMA will have to be increased. We request that the FMA may atleast be raised to Rs. 2000 per month.

6. Grant of HRA for pensioners.

Gone are the days when the pensioner can expect to be looked after by their children. In most of the cases, they are unable to live with their children even if the children are willing to accommodate them. This is because of the frequent transfer of workplace and many other relevant factors. As has been pointed out elsewhere in this letter, the pensioners of date were the serving employees of 1970s,80s and 90s. They did not have a decent wage structure nor could they obtain loan facility from the banks on nominal interest (which the people of the present contemporary society enjoys), with the result they could not venture to own a house for occupation atleast after retirement. Throughout their service career they had been in the occupation of the Government accommodation, which they had to vacate after retirement. The real estate business in the country witnessed a boom in 1990s and 2000s, . The pensioners cannot compete in the real estate market either with the consumers like serving employees or business people. All these factors put together makes the pensioners to shell out a major portion of his pension income only for hiring a dwelling place. We, therefore, request the Committee may consider the demand for HRA from a humanitarian point of view.

7. Grant of an increment prior to the date of retirement.

Grant of one increment in the case of those pensioners who retired on completion of one year in service as on the date of superannuation had been the demand the staff side placed before the Government for their consideration in the National Council. The demand was rejected on the technical ground that even though they had worked for a full year the grant of increment would be possible only if they are in service on the day when it become due. The 6th CPC while recommending uniform date of increment for all Government Servants, also suggested that in the case of all employees who had completed more than six months, increment might be granted. The issue was taken up before the 7th CPC too through our memorandum. The Commission also did not recommend the acceptance of our demand. We therefore, appeal once again to the Government that this simple issue may be settled as it has very little coverage and the consequent financial implication is very meagre.

These are some of the issues, which various pensioners organisations have brought before us to take it up with you. We therefore, once again request you to kindly consider these issues in the light of the justification we have appended under each of them and recommend to the Government for a positive consideration thereof.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,
Sd/-
K.K.N. Kutty
Secretary General.

Minutes of the Meeting of Joint Secretary (IC) with the Members of the Staff-Side of the Standing Committee (National Council-JCM) held on 19.02.2016

Detailed report of the meeting held on 10th February 2016 between Joint Secretary (IC) and Members of the Staff-Side of the Standing Committee (National Council-JCM) 

"The Staff-Side brought out their concerns on all the 26 demands included in the Charter of Demands and all the points brought out by them in the letter of the NJCA dt. 10.12.2015 were reiterated."


Minutes of the Meeting of Joint Secretary (IC) with the Members of the Staff-Side of the Standing Committee (National Council-JCM) held on 19.02.2016

A Meeting was held under the chairmanship of Joint Secretary (Implementation Cell), Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, with the Members of the StaffSide of the Standing Committee (National Council-JCM) on 19.2.2016 to discuss the issues raised by the National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) {Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM)} in their letter No. NJC/2015/7th CPC dt. 10.12.2015, addressed to the Cabinet Secretary, regarding their Charter of Demands on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission. The Secretary, Staff-Side of the Standing Committee (National Council- JCM), who is the convener of the NJCA, along with other office bearers attended the meeting. The list of the participants from the Staff-Side is attached at Annexure.

2. Welcoming the members of the Staff-Side, JS(IC) mentioned that the meeting has been convened to enable the Staff-Side to bring out their concerns on the recommendations of the 7th CPC in the light of the Charter of Demands made by them in the aforesaid letter of NJCA so that same could be examined in the Implementation Cell and submitted for consideration of the Empowered Committee of Secretaries. He informed the office bearers that before arriving at a decision, the ECoS would also hold separate discussions with the Staff Side.

2. Commencing the discussions from the Side of the Members of the Staff-Side, Secretary, Staff-Side, Standing Committee (National Council-JCM), explained that they have already placed their Charter of Demands as per the letter of NJCA dated 10.12.2015. He mentioned that the reasons based on which these demands have been made have also been explained therein. He, however, highlighted that the Staff-Side is not at all happy with the recommendations of the 7th CPC and, in fact, no section of the employees is satisfied, as the Commission has recommended a minimal pay increase as compared to the previous Pay Commissions. He mentioned that the Staff-Side does not agree with the minimum pay of Rs. 18000 and the reason as to why the methodology adopted by the 7th CPC to arrive at this figure is not correct has been explained in their letter dated 10.12.2015. He stated that Staff-Side demands enhancement of the minimum pay to Rs. 26000 and the reasons in support of this have been given in their aforesaid letter. He further stated that an amicable and mutually negotiated settlement of these demands is necessary as non-acceptance would further cause resentment in the employees. He informed that Staff-Side has already made their stand clear to go on strike from 11th April, 2016 if their demands are not considered and no amicable settlement happens.

3. Thereafter, the other members of the Staff-Side also expressed their arguments for acceptance of these demands and all of them emphasised that the minimum pay needs to be revised. Consequently, the fitment multiple of 2.57 would also need commensurate change. The leader of the Staff-Side explained that the office bearers who were present in the meeting represent various sections of Central Government employees including railways, defence civilians, postal employees etc., the number of which is around Rs. 32 lakhs.

4. The Staff-Side brought out their concerns on all the 26 demands included in the Charter of Demands and all the points brought out by them in the letter of the NJCA dt. 10.12.2015 were reiterated. However, following issues in support of their demands were highlighted :-

(i) Minimum Pay needs to be revised to Rs. 26000 p.m. and the minimum pay of Rs. 18000 p.m. as recommended by 7th CPC is not acceptable. This would require upward revision in the fitment multiple of 2.57 and change in the Pay Matrix. It was argued that if the 10% of the pay for NPS contribution and the recommended increase in the CGEIS contribution are taken into account, there would be a drop in the take-home salary of the employees at the
minimum pay of Rs.18000.

(ii) Central Government employees need to be excluded from the National Pension Scheme (NPS), which has been a long pending demand of the StaffSide. The Staff-Side stated that the Pension Fund which has been created under NPS to generate annuity for employees, would not ensure reasonable pension. Rather it is quite likely that it may generate negative returns because of the dismal performance of the financial market to which the fund is
invested, leaving the employees without any reasonable social security benefit.

(iii) The 7th CPC has recommended abolition of 52 allowances without properly appreciating the justification of these allowances. The example of break-down allowance in case of Railway employees was given, stating that this allowances is given so that the concerned employees take up the necessary follow up action in the case of breakdown on an urgent basis and therefore its withdrawal is not justified in operational interests of Railways.

(iv) The withdrawal of advances, especially LTC, TA, Medical, National Calamity Advance, was not justified. It was argued that these advances are recovered from the employees and, therefore, the same should be retained. (v) In regard to enhancement of contribution under Group Insurance Scheme, it was argued that increase in the contribution from the employees was not justified and if the same is to be raised, the Government should bear the
insurance premium.

(vi) The post of LDC should be upgraded to UDC and as part of delayering, Grade Pays of Rs. 1900, Rs. 2400 and Rs. 4600 should be abolished and merged with the next higher Grades.

(vii) The rate of increment needs to be raised from 3% to 5% because pay is revised in the Central Government after 10 years. It was mentioned that in the PSUs the pay is revised after 5 years and the rate of increment is also higher.

(viii) Two increments in the feeder post may be granted as promotion benefit.

(ix) Fixed medical allowance for pensioners who are not covered by CGHS and REHS needs to be increased from Rs. 500 p.m. to Rs. 2000 p.m.

(x) The recommendation regarding grant of only 80% of salary for the second year of Child Care Leave need not be accepted and the existing provisions may be retained

(xi) It was also demanded that though the D/o Expenditure has sought the comments of the Ministries/Department on the issues pertaining to them after consulting the Staff Associations, administrative Departments are not inviting the Staff associations for discussions.

5. After detailed explanation by the Staff-Side on all the demands included in the Charter of Demands, JS(IC), while concluding the discussions, assured the Staff-Side that the concerns and demands made by them would be placed before the Empowered Committee of Secretaries for consideration after examining the same in the light of the recommendations of the Commission. He also mentioned that in cases where the comments of the administrative Ministries/ Departments would be necessary, e.g., the case of break-down allowance pertaining to Ministry of Railways, the same would be considered before the issues are placed before the E-CoS. As regards the issue raised that the administrative Departments are not inviting staff associations for discussions, JS(IC) mentioned that the Departments have to formulate the views keeping in view the representations made by the Staff Associations.

6. Thereafter, the meeting ended with thanks to the chair.

Members of the Staff side of the National Joint Council (JCM), who attended the meeting with JS (IC) held on 19.02.2016 -7th Central Pay Commission
S.No Name (S/Shri)
1. Shiva Gopal Mishra
2. M.Raghavaiah
3. N.Kanniah
4. Guman Singh
5. K.K.N.Kutty
6. C.Srikumar
7. S.N.Pathak
8. Ashok Singh
9. R.N.Prashar
10. M.S. Raja
11. Giri Raj singh
12. Satish Chander
13. R.Srinivasan

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