Saturday, 21 June 2014

Outcome of the meeting with Railways Ministry on 19.6.2014 – AIRF

Outcome of the meeting with Railways Ministry on 19.6.2014 – AIRF

All India Railwaymen’s Federation
NEW DELHI-110055


At the outset, while thanking Hon’ble MR, MoSR, CRB, other Railway Board Members, General Managers, General Secretary AIRF, Shri Shiva Gopal Mishra, raised the issue of digitalisation of records and making all the offices paperless. He also requested Hon’ble MR for introduction of such software which can provide all the information pertaining to employees on their mobile phones, particularly balance of leaves, Basic Pay, Dearness Allowance, Travelling Allowance, House Rent Allowance etc. and deduction being made from the salaries of the employees.

He also emphasised the demand for scrapping New Pension Scheme that came into effect from 01.01.2004 with restoration of Old Pension Scheme for all the Railway employees and liberalization of SPAD Clause to minimise stress and strain in the staff in the interest of safety.

(i) Thousands of Railwaymen lay their lives while working round-the-clock 24x7x365 days in all weathers, need a better treatment from the Railways and Government of India. Grievance Handling Machinery, particularly Permanent Negotiating Machinery, has been paralysed. Any grievance raised by a particular staff or union must be resolved within 60 days of raising of the grievance to remove stress of the staff, which is major danger for the safety.
(ii) Special attention to be paid for timely filling up of vacancies in Safety Categories. On account of shortage of manpower, the existing staff are compelled to adopt short-cuts, which is a potential threat to safety.
(iii) Adequate and proper training facilities be made available for skill development and to acquaint the manpower with latest technological development.
(iv) Proper infrastructure for maintenance, both preventive and routine, should be made available with adequate facilities.
(v) The New Pension Scheme, i.e. National Pension Scheme, introduced w.e.f. 01.01.2004, has totally eroded the Social Security, and the staff appointed on or after this crucial date is always afraid about their future, which also diverts their proper attention from their duty.
(vi) The system of induction to erstwhile Group ‘D’ Safety Categories, now in Grade Pay Rs.1800 and classified as Group ‘C’, needs to be de-centralized, and the old system of engagement in the form of Substitutes at the Divisional/Workshop level be restored with the process of sponsoring the names of the candidates by local Employment Exchange etc. with weightage of at least 5% marks to the wards of Railwaymen.
(vii) Modernised Tools and Equipments be made available to the technical staff engaged in maintenance of rolling stock, track, signalling gear etc.
(viii) Operating Staff, assigned the work of train passing duty, particularly on intensively utilised section should not be given additional work like commercial duties etc.
(ix) In the category of Running Staff, both Loco & Traffic, no vacancies should be allowed to continue for a longer period of time.
(x) There should be proper resting facilities at out stations in Running Rooms, including cooking facilities and at home, so that they are not subjected to work without proper rest, which is a potential to endangering the safety.
(xi) Running Staff and the staff engaged in train operations should not be compelled to work longer duty hours, for which adequate manpower be made available.
(xii) There should be no compromise in the standard of the material and components, for which strict quality check be ensured through internal assessment, creating necessary paraphernalia for this purpose. Responsibility must be fixed on any breach to life cycle of the instrument or material.
(xiii) Outsourcing of perennial nature maintenance works in all kinds of rolling stock, track and signalling gears as also the infrastructure should not be resorted to in the larger interest of safe rail operation.
(xiv) Increasing trend of outsourcing is also endangering the safety of rail operation because the contractor not only engages untrained manpower, but also violates the Statutory Rules for contractual labours, viz. not paying legitimate wages, not providing even basic facilities in gross violation of Contract Labour(Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970.
(xv) Low paid contractual labour, engaged in perennial nature of departmental works, is found indulged in theft of railway materials. It was accepted by the them CRB, Shri Vivek Sahai, in PREM Group Meeting at the apex level, that, after the introduction of CST, theft incidents have increased and condition has been deteriorated.
(xvi) Inadequacy of funds for replacement of outdated assets, including rolling stocks, track and signalling gears, is also a major hurdle in safety of rail operation.
(xvii) In the recent days, some of the incidents of fire have caused lots of casualties and given bad name to IR. Previously, there was a separate department of RPF Fire, which used to train the staff and checking fire equipments, had been abolished, leaving Railway System in the hand of private parties, responsible for such incidents. Fire Department in the Railways needs to be restored.
(xviii) Track maintenance and problems in keeping block.
(xix) Scope of the LARSGESS needs to be widened, so that the staff working in Safety Categories, who are unwilling or incapable of working, can seek Voluntary Retirement with simultaneous appointment to their qualified and capable wards with a view to induct the young bloods in the system for better productivity and efficiency.
(xx) Safety Organisation in the Railways is working on ad-hoc basis and those who are rejected in the system are posted there. Safety Counsellors, instead of counselling, do policing and punishing the staff. This mentality needs a change.
In our opinion, two types of action plan are required to be framed
(i) Latest Mechanised Cleaning System needs to be introduced departmentally with adequate material, tools and plants and imparting proper training to the staff for their effective use.
(ii) Toilets in the trains be modernised and converted to bio-toilets to make them eco-friendly.
(iii) Cleaning of toilets and fioors of train compartment be done at regular interval on some identified stations, for which sufficient manpower with materials, equipment etc. be made available.
(iv) In case of outsourcing of cleaning system, both trains and stations, the contractor, when allotted the works, complies with the terms and conditions of the contract for a short duration of time and subsequently withdraws manpower as provided for in the agreement, and the quality gradually gets deteriorated on this account. The contractual manpower engaged by the contractor, on account of being untrained, low paid and inconsistent, are incapable of maintaining quality of cleaning on, both at the stations and the trains.
(v) Paucity of funds is another major factor in non-maintaining of proper cleanliness.
(vi) Rail users are also required to be trained through display of pamphlets, posters, documentaries, exhibitions, play/drama/Nukkad Nataks etc., not to spread garbage/wastage etc. everywhere, viz. in the compartment, on railway platform, trains, tracks etc. to maintain cleanliness and for its proper monitoring CCTVs/Cameras may be installed in train compartments and on railway stations.
(vii) Rail users should also be counselled for using the toilets etc. in proper manner.
B. (i) Some Statutory Provisions be made to impose some fine on misuse of toilets, spreading garbage/wastage in the train compartments, rail platform and railway tracks etc. on the pattern of Metro Rail.
(ii) Proper system for monitoring violation of the above-mentioned Statutory Rules be introduced and ensured.

(i) Owing to Railways’ accountability for serving proper quality of meals, only Departmentally- run Catering System needs to be restored.
(ii) To provide proper quality meals, snacks, breakfast etc. onboard, fully equipped and modernised Departmental Base Kitchens need to be established at major stations with sufficient manpower and proper infrastructure.
(iii) Strict quality check, right from raw-material to finished product, needs to be ensured.
(iv) Onboard service of edible items be assigned to departmental workforce only.
(v) Staff hygiene and their upkeep with proper uniform also need to be ensured.
(vi) Staff should be provided with adequate and proper quality equipments and utensils for hassle- free onboard service.
(vii) No outsourcing should be resorted to in the interest of quality and standard of catering services.

The factors affecting punctuality can be broadly divided into two major groups
(i) inadequacy of trained manpower in Running, Operational and Maintenance Categories.
(ii) lmproper quality of materials, leading to in-service failure.
(iii) Compelled short-cuts in working owing to shortage of manpower etc.
(iv) Over-utilization of rolling stock and tracks beyond optimum capacity.
(v) Non-provision of proper maintenance corridor, resulting in line failures.
(vi) Longer hours of duty of Running Staff and Operating Staff.
(vii) Dual System of Law Enforcement Machinery, i.e. GRP and RPF.
(viii) Old aged signalling system needs to be replaced by modernised latest signalling.
(ix) Single traction system, i.e. either diesel or electric sometimes also leads to loss of punctuality on account of line failure, as such introduction of dual traction system may be introduced.

(i) Frequent Alarm Chain Pulling(ACP) without any valid reason, resulting in remarkable loss in
running time of trains.
(ii) Non-provision of strict Statutory Rules against misuse of ACP System etc. and non
enforcement of existing rules.
(iii) Unauthorised trespassing of tracks and level crossing gates.
(iv) Overloading by the contractors, in case of leased brake-van etc.
(v) En-route violence by the unsocial elements travelling in the trains.
(vi) Dislocation of train services in terrorist affected areas.

(i) Departmental PRS need to be streamlined and strengthened by providing adequate and modern equipments with trained manpower.
(ii) Timely replacement of outdated and condemned equipments etc. be ensured.
(iii) Mis-utilization of manpower in other than the assigned duties of the Reservation and Booking Staff needs to be curbed.
(iv) UTS needs to be augmented so as to create this facility on all the railway station for smooth issuing of tickets to the travelling public.
(v) Check and balance to be maintained on e-ticketing system to prevent misappropriation etc.
(vi) Smart Card System be introduced to avoid long queues on booking windows.
(vii) Credit/Debit Card System may be thought of for issue of Reserved and Unreserved ticket.
(viii) Token System with Display Board be introduced in the PRS on all important and major stations to avoid longer queues and stress on the ticket issuing staff.

(i) In the present resource constraints, double-decker passenger trains with Light Weight Bogie need to be introduced in all Mail, Express, Superfast, Passenger Trains.
(ii) For day-service trains, coaches having larger sitting capacity be utilised in place of conventional passenger coaches, for which, coaches of Jan Shatabadi Trains and Double Decker Trains would be most suitable.
(iii) For enhancement of freight loading capacity, new designs of wagons, having larger loading capacity need to be introduced.
(iv) Automatic Signalling System be introduced on all major routes to facilitate operation of more and more number of trains on the existing tracks.
(v) The length of the Mail, Express, Superfast trains may be further augmented with additional coaches.
(vi) Adequate number of Unreserved Express Trains, with newly designed coaches with sitting arrangement, be run on all major routes to cater the requirement of the poor people of the country.
(vii) Rather than providing Luggage Van in all passenger train services, separate Parcel Trains be introduced and the Luggage Van be replaced with Passenger Coaches for ordinary unreserved passengers.

(i) Allocation of funds should be given priority for those projects which are near completion so that the money already invested in the projects can be made effective use of on early completion of the same.
(ii) Projects of national interest still need to be given emphasis in view of national integrity and fulfilment of the aspirations of the people of the isolated areas.
(iii) Keeping in view the large-number of accidents occurring on manned-unmanned level crossings, ROBs and RUBs be given priority, which would not only help averting accidents but also save remarkable amount of revenue.

(i) Improper ticket checking system, due to shortage of checking staff, causes heavy financial loss to the Railways in the form of ticketless/irregular travelling.
(ii) Upgradation system of reserved accommodation is also not working well insofar as improvement in the railway earning is concerned.
(iii) Rationalisation of passenger fare with realistic approach is of utmost importance.
(iv) Useless wastage of money on the works executed without perspective and foresightness needs to be checked and accountability be ensured.
(v) Unwarranted for procurement also needs to be checked.
(vi) Timely disposal of surplus and condemned materials needs to be ensured.
(vii) Uncalled for intensive use of government vehicle needs to be checked.
(viii) Excessive misuse of manpower needs to be affectively curbed.
(ix) Freight Booking System needs to be modernised and upgraded to make it user-friendly.
(x) Undesired works in the name of beautification at the cost of safety need to be stopped.

(i) Unnecessary movement of managerial staff with the Saloon/RA should be minimised.
(ii) Foreign tours in the name of training to those staff and officers, particularly on the on the verge of retirement need to be stopped.
(iii) Musical Chair System on the posts of JAG and above be stopped.
(iv) Bungalow Peon System needs to be abolished.
(v) Proper utilization of surplus railway land be ensured.
(vi) Railways’ buildings need to be utilised for advertisement panels of reputed enterprises.

(i) As already announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, there is urgent need of speeding the decision making, for which paperless system, e-governance would be effective tools.
(ii) The authority to take decision in a particular matter should be widely known and on the pattern of Single Window System.
(iii) Decision in the particular case be ensured in maximum three layers.
(iv) There should not be diversified responsibility in decision making.
(v) Decentralisation of powers in case of decision making.

Source: AIRF

Raise IT Exemption to 5 Lakh, Merge DA, Scrap NPS, Funds for Interim Relief: NC(JCM) writes to Finance Minister

NC(JCM) Secretary writes to FM regarding the important major issues of Central Government Employees as Pre-Budget Consultation:-

Shiva Gopal Mishra
National Council (Staff Side)
Joint Consultative Machinery
Central Government Employees
13-C, Ferozshah Road, New Delhi – 110001
Dated: June 17, 2014
Hon’ble Minister of Finance,
(Government of India), Ministry of Finance,
North Block, New Delhi

Respected Sir,
Reg.: Pre-budget consultation

I, on behalf of National Council (Joint Consultative Machinery), representing more than 36 lakh Central Government Employees’, once again congratulate and welcome you on your taking over as Finance Minister of the new government, recently formed on the verdict of the people of this country.

We take this opportunity to bring to your kind notice some important major issues that need to be taken into consideration while finalising the General Budget of our country for the year 2014-15. This would definitely boost the morale of the Central Government Employees and simultaneously help a lot in overall development of our nation.

Some of the important issues are appended below for your kind consideration;

(i) Effective measures need to be taken to arrest the skyrocketing price rice, particularly of essential commodities effecting common man and to contain inflation, ban speculative forward trading in commodities, strengthen the Public Distribution System, ensure proper check on unlawful hoardings and rationalise the tax dutylcess on petroleum products with a view to minimise burden on common people.
(ii) Adequate allocation be ensurd in infrastructure development in order to stimulate the economy for job creation. Necessary measures are required to be taken for strengthening the Public Sector for job creation and rapid development of the country as this sector plays vital role in this regard. Plan and non-plan expenditure should be adequately increased to stimulate job creation and ensuring consistent income of the people.
(iii) Minimum Wage linked to Consumer Price Index need to be guaranteed to all workers, complying the recommendation of the 15 Indian Labour Conference as envisaged by the apex court of the country and reiterated in the 44th Indian Labour Conference held in 2012, and it should be minimum Rs 15000 p.m.
(iv) In the context of huge job losses and mounting unemployment problem, the ban imposed on recruitment in Government Departments, Public Sector Undertakings and Autonomous Bodies should be lifted as per recommendation of the 43 Session of the Indian Labour Conference, Instructions of the Finance Ministry to abolish the posts which are not filled for one year should be withdrawn and thumb rule surrender of posts in Government Departments and Public Sector Undertakings be stopped, while new posts be created fornew assets and increased workload without imposing any conditn of “Matching Saving” etc.
(v) In the wake of appointment of VII CPC by the former government, allocation of requiste funds be made for Interim Relief and to implement the recommendations of the VII CPC.
(vi) All the restrictive provisions based on poverty line in respect of eligibility coverage of the schemes under the Unorganised Workers’ Social Secuñty Act, 2008 need to be done awaywith and adequate resources be allocated for the National Fund for Unorganised Workers with a view to provide Social Security to all Unorganised Workers, including Contractual/Casual Workers in ne with the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour as also the 43rd Session of the Indian Labour Conference, for which the word “Below Poverty Line” need to be re-defined at the earliest.
(vii) Necessary provision in the budget be made for providing essential services, viz, housing, public transport, sanitation, water, schools/colleges, creche for children, healthcare for the workers in the new emerging industrial areas as also separate women hostels for women workers where their participation is high.
(viii) Budget provision is required to be increased for elementary education, particularly in the wake of implementation of the justify to Education, as the same can be proved an effective tool to combat Child Labour.
(ix) The prevalent system of computation of Consumer Pñce Index needs to be reviewed owing to heavy financial loss to the workers in the present system.
(x) The ceiling limit for exemption of Income Tax for the salaried employees be raised to atleast 5 lakh per annum and fringe benefits, like housing, medical aid education facilities, Running Allowances, be exempted from Income Tax net in totality.
(xi) New Pension Scheme be withdrawn, being detrimental for Social Security, and all employees under the Central Government, State Government, PSUs, Autonomous Bodies etc. recruited on or after 01.01.2004 be covered under Old Pension Scheme. Any National Pension Scheme should be made optional in addition to Old Pension Scheme.
(xii) The genuine demand for Merger of Dearness Allowance with Pay be accepted and adequate allocation of funds for this purpose be made in the budget.

We also put-forth the following suggestions in regard to resource mobilisation for the purpose of fulfilment of the aspirations of the common people of the country in general and the working class in particular:-

  • A Progressive Taxation System should be put in place to ensure taxing the rich and the affluent sections who have the capacity to pay at a higher degree. Corporate service sector, traders, wholesale business, private hospitals and institutions etc. should be brought under broader and higher tax net Increase taxes on luxury goods and reduce Indirect Taxes on essential commodities, as at present overwhelming majority of the population are subjected lo Indirect Taxes that constitute 86% of the revenue.
  • Concrete steps must be taken to recover huge accumulated unpaid tax arrears which has already crossed more than Rs.5 lakh crore on Direct and Corporate Tax account alone, and has been increasing at a geometric proportion. Such huge tax evasion over and above the liberal tax concessions, already given in the last two budgets, should not be allowed to continue.
  • The steps taken by the new Central Government, constituting Special Investigation Team(SIT) for recovering black money are praiseworthy and we urge for speedy action in the matter.
  • Effective measures need to be taken to unearth huge accumulation of black money in the economy, including heavy amount of uncounted money in the tax heavens abroad and within the country, and necessary provisions be made to bring back illicit flow from India, which are at present more than twice current external debt of US$ 230 billion. This huge money be directed towards providing Social Security lo the working class.
We do hope, the above-mentioned views would receive due consideration from your good-self. Besides the, there is an urgent need for continuous dialogue with the Central Government Employees, for which, the National Council(JCM), being ai effective tool, has always played a vital role during the past, however., it is quite unfortunate that the same has been made ineffective during the recent years. It is our considered view that, in the larger interest of the development of the nation, continuous dialogue on the problems of the Central Government Employees through the JCM is necessary.

It is, therefore, earnestly requested that, dialogue in the pre-budget discussion with the JCM(Staff Side) should also be ensured, so that the views expressed by them can also be taken Into account while finalising the Budget.

With kind regards!
Yours faithfully,
(Shiva Gopal Mishra)


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