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Monday, May 29, 2017

7th Pay Commission: Will central government employees finally get to know about their allowance structure?

 BT Online   New Delhi : May 29, 2017

Central government employees who have been waiting for an update on their pay hike are pinning their hopes on a meeting of Empowered Committee of Secretaries (E-CoS) scheduled on June 1. Officially confirmed by Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha, the meeting is meant to decide on recommendations over allowance structure.

For the past few weeks, central government employees have been on the tenterhooks as reports have repeatedly suggested a final decision on the 7th Pay Commission recommendations about allowances could be taken anytime soon. However, it remains to be seen when these recommendations will be finalised and submitted to the cabinet.

Meanwhile, a report on OneIndia says that the final draft of the allowance structure is likely to be formulated by the E-CoS in a meeting today. Although not confirmed by government sources, the meeting is supposed to focus on keeping HRA rates as demanded by the central government employees. Increase in basic pay and payment of arrears on revised allowance rates are also expected to be feature in the agenda.

The 7th Pay Commission proposed to bring HRA rates down to 24 per cent, 16 per cent and 8 per cent for XYZ cities respectively, as opposed to the 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent being demanded by the staff. The E-CoS is supposed to ponder over recommendations in this regard by Committee of Allowances .

The Lavasa Committee has proposed HRA to be pegged at 27 per cent, 18 per cent and 9 per cent when DA crosses 50 per cent and 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent when more than 100 per cent. Disappointed with the pay panel recommendations, central government employees and pensioners are hoping Lavasa Committee to bring about some good news.

No clear signs could be seen as to whether the E-CoS will adhere to the Lavasa Committee recommendations, or not. The Committee was formed under Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa to screen the recommendations made by the pay panel regarding allowance structure.

The 7th Pay Commission has suggested radical changes in allowances, many of which were not taken well by the central government employees. It had suggested that 52 allowances out of a total of 196 should be abolished completely and 36 others should be subsumed under existing allowances.

Once the recommendations are finalised, the findings of E-CoS will be consolidated during the meeting and June 1 before sending to the Union Cabinet for their approval on the same day.

7th Pay Commission: No clue about recommendations of Ashok Lavasa panel, employees' forum tells Cabinet Secretary  | New Delhi, May 28, 2017 | 

The inordinate delay in implementation of revised allowances under the Seventh Pay Commission has left Central government employees frustrated.

In a letter to Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, the secretary of National Council (staff side) Joint Consultative Machinery said Central government employees were clueless about the recommendations of the Ashok Lavasa committee. 

"The Committee on Allowances took longer time while finalising its recommendations, but it is a matter of deep regret that even after submission of the report by the said committee, the same has not been made available to the staff side (JCM), therefore we do not know what recommendations have been made by the said committee," said Shiv Gopal Mishra, secretary of staff side (JCM).

The JCM requested the Cabinet Secretary to make the recommendations of the Committee of Allowances available to them. On behalf of Central government employees, the JCM said that the government should implement revised allowances without further delay with effect from January 1, 2016. 

While Central government employees are still waiting to hear from the Narendra Modi government, let us take a look at how other states are faring in implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. 

BIHAR: The Cabinet of Nitish Kumar recently agreed to increase the salary of its employees and pensioners following submission of report by the fitment committee on the Seventh Pay Commission. The salary of state government employees is likely to increase by 14-15 per cent. The decision will benefit 3.65 lakh employees and 6 lakh pensioners in Bihar. 

CHHATTISGARH: The Raman Singh government announced implementation of Seventh Pay Commission for its employees in March.  Nearly 3 lakh state government employees will benefit from the decision. 

JAMMU AND KASHMIR: The state government recently set up a seven-member panel to examine the revision of pay scales of employees and pensioners under the Seventh Pay Commission. The state's finance minister Haseeb Drabu, in his budget speech, had announced a 23.5 per cent hike in salary and post-retirement payouts. The Jammu and Kashmir government said it would implement the Seventh Pay Commission's recommendations from April 2018.

States like Uttarakhand, Haryana have already implemented the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission from January.

Government starts online performance assessment system for bureaucrats

 NEW DELHI: Probity, Sparrow and Solve -- these are the three new buzzwords for the central government by which bureaucrats and their service records are now going to be assessed through online portals to take the big call on retiring the non-performers or identifying those lacking integrity.

The latest is the 'Online Probity Management System' launched by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) few days ago in association with other ministries to assess the integrity and  performance levels of officers.

The government has been assessing the performance of all officers who have turned 50 or 55 or have completed 30 years of service to decide whether they be allowed to continue in service or compulsorily retired.

"Since the number of officers under review is huge, it involves lot of paperwork at ministries and the submission of regular physical reports.

The new 'Probity' portal makes the process completely online by which  ministries can now submit their reports online and the government gets a birds eye-view of the status on one portal," a government official told ET. 
The Minister of State for DoPT and PMO Jitendra Singh on Tuesday said 30 Group A officers and 99 Group B officers had been sent on retirement in the past few months. Citing the huge number of officer records being scanned, Singh said 24,000 Group A officers and 42,251 Group B officers were put under the scanner before the recent compulsory retirements while the government was looking into service records of another 34,451 Group A officers and 42,521 from Group B to check on non-performers.
The new 'Probity' portal is also monitoring the rotation of officers on sensitive and non-sensitive posts to identify officers occupying sensitive positions for over three months, a senior bureaucrat told ET.

The Sparrow (Smart performance appraisal report recording online window) system of the DoPT is meanwhile being used to make the entire appraisal system online and accessible for review by the ministries concerned.

The DoPT has recently extended 'Sparrow' from just the IAS cadre to 13 cadres, including the central secretariat services (CSS). An official said the idea is to make the 'Probity' and 'Sparrow' portals work in conjunction. The third DoPT portal is 'Solve' --a system for online vigilance enquiry for board-level appointees.

There is a plan to expand this portal for other employees to help the government coordinate between 'Probity', 'Sparrow' and 'Solve' portals to assess officers' performance and integrity.

Achievements of Department of Posts over past three years

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Canada issues Eid-ul-Fitr postal stamp

Canadian postal service has issued an Eid-ul-Fitr celebratory stamp on country’s 150th anniversary.
“As Canada reaches its 150th birthday, our stamp committee reflected on some themes that need to reflect the Canada of today,” Deepak Chopra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Canada Post said.

The stamp has ‘Eid Mubarak’ inscribed in Arabic on top of which is a minaret and a yellow pattern signifies architecture that is unique to Islam.

The stamp has blue and orange as its base colours.

Canada last issued a stamp pertaining to Islamic festivities some 50 years ago and until then the state only celebrated Christian and secular holidays.

According to Canada Post, the stamp has been issued for three years and would become a practice if it does well.

Canada is set to issue stamps over Jewish as well as Hindu festivities as well.
Source :

Every department should disclose demonetisation details: CIC

NEW DELHI: It was the duty of every government department concerned with demonetisation to spell out all relevant facts and reasons behind the radical move, the Central Information Commission has observed.

In what could be the first comments of the transparency panel on the lack of information about the notes ban decision, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said any attempt to withhold information would generate serious doubts about the economy.

He said the attitude of building "steel forts" around the decision needed to be done away with.

"It is very difficult to reconcile with the attitude of building steel forts--that could not be broken even by 'Bahubali'--around the public affair of demonetisation in a democratic nation, if governed by rule of law," he said.

He was referring to the 2015 blockbuster film Bahubali.

The observations assume importance in the background of the Prime Minister's Office, the Reserve Bank of India and the Finance Ministry rejecting RTI applications which sought the reasons behind the notes ban.

The move to scrap Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016.

Acharyulu was deciding a case of an RTI applicant, Ramswaroop, who had sought information from the post office in Pinto Park Air Force area about the total currency exchanged there, the people who exchanged it and the number of customers who provided their identification proof for exchange.

The postal department claimed they did not have the information in a consolidated form.

Directing the department to disclose the information, Acharyulu also said all public authorities should reveal information about the move which has affected every citizen of the country.

"All the public authorities have a moral, constitutional, RTI-based democratic responsibility to explain to each and every citizen who is affected by demonetisation, the information, reasons, impact and remedial measures, if discovered any negative impact," he said.

He said the CPIO should not have brushed aside this RTI request which reflected his blatant anti-transparency attitude.

He said each person was affected by the decision and even beggars, rikshaw pullers, push-cart sellers reeled under this stroke.

"If the suffering was just temporary and there will be windfalls in future, let that also be told to the people officially by each and every public authority concerned with demonetisation," he said.

He said if public authorities shy away from disclosing any information related to notes ban, it would raise serious questions in the mind of general public.