GDS COMMITTEE REPORT – AN ANALYSIS
Dear Comrades! The GDS Committee headed by Shri.Nataraja Murthi has submitted its recommendations to the Honourable Minister of Communications & IT on 29.10.2008. The Report contains more than 450 pages. A detailed study of the whole report is being undertaken by the Federation and the GDS CHQ. It may take some time to make a complete evaluation. However here we place our immediate reaction to the GDS Committee Report. NFPE is unhappy over the denial of basic issues of Status and Statutory Pension even though a social security scheme is suggested by the GDS Committee in lieu of lump sum grant of severance amount. Comrades are requested to send comments on their opinion and analysis by clicking on the 'comments' at the end of this article.
Wage increase from 1.1.2006.
Arrears will be paid by two instalments @ 40% this financial year and 60% next financial year.
1.86 times of multiplication factor as like regular government employees is not recommended but only 1.74 times. Even the 5% increased TRCA in lieu of 50% DA Merger is to be adjusted in future increments. This is a heavy blow.
Allowances are with prospective date of effect only.
Many Allowances like HRA, Transport Allowance, SDA, Compensatory Allowances etc are virtually denied.
Great discrimination on DA is being recommended.
PLB Bonus – Discrimination against GDS is introduced.
Performance Related Incentives Concept is introduced like 6th CPC instead of grant of time factor to facilitate departmentalisation of GDS.
Despite Court Verdicts, Statutory Gratuity is rejected by GDS Committee.
GDS is considered as Part Time only by the GDS Committee.
Even the GDS Conduct and Employment Rules is recommended to be changed as GDS Conduct and Engagement Rules.
Some improvement on Welfare Measures recommended.
Group Insurance Cover very meagre increase only.
No improvement in Leave except 3 months maternity TRCA + DA for two child births, which is also denied if abortion or miscarriage occurs.
Retirement age reduced from 65 to 62.
Existing transfer rights also snatched – Only for spouse women employee and compassionate appointee to be considered for transfer.
Disciplinary Rules not democratised – no classification of major and minor penalties.
Attack on 1946 settlement of 50% PA vacancies to Postmen by reducing it to 25% and offering remaining 25% vacancies to outsider quota.
Trade Union rights curtailed – Monthly meetings at divisional level reduced – No right to affiliate with Federations etc. – ID Act coverage being removed -
Nomenclature of TRCA will continue.
74% DA as on 1.1.2006 has been taken into account for arriving at the hourly rates of GDS as follows:
GDS BPM: Rs.915/- per hour
GDS MD/SV: Rs.888/- per hour
GDS MC etc: Rs.765/- per hour.
The above per hour amount will be multiplied by the number of working hours of the respective GDS for arriving at the minimum of the TRCA.
BPM Minimum Working Hours 3 Hours
For 3 Hours the Points will be 75 = Minimum TRCA is Rs.2745/-
For 3 Hours 30 Min. will be 87.5 Points = Minimum TRCA is Rs.3200/-
For 4 Hours the Points will be 100 = Minimum TRCA is Rs.3660/-
For 4 Hrs 30 Min the Points will be 112.5 = Minimum TRCA is Rs.4115/-
For 5 Hours the Points will be 125 = Minimum TRCA is Rs.4575/-
But for estimating the workload of BOs the present norm of Rs.1000/- = 1 Point is changed adversely into Rs.20,000 = 1 Point on ad-hoc basis. This is too high. This will affect the work load of BOs resulting in lower TRCA.
GDS MD up to 3 Hours is newly introduced in the name of decreasing work load due to fall in mail traffic. This will be applicable only for future recruits.
GDS MD for 3 Hours = Minimum TRCA Rs.2665/-
GDS MD for More than 3 Hrs but upto 3 Hrs 45 Mins = TRCA Rs.2870/-
GDS MD for more than 3 Hrs 45 Mins but upto 5 Hrs = TRCA Rs.3635/-
Not even the 3% annual increment allowed by Government for regular employees is recommended to GDS. Only an Annual Increase in TRCA for 1.74% to 1.96% is permitted as follows:
Category of GDS Scale proposed Annual Increase
GDS SPM Rs. 4575-85-7125 Rs. 85
GDS BPM Rs. 2745-50-4245
(3hours work/upto 75 points) Rs. 50
(3hrs.30min./upto 87.5 points) Rs. 60
(4 hrs./upto 100 points) Rs. 70
(4hrs.30min./upto 112.5 points) Rs. 75
(5 hrs./upto 125 points) Rs .85
GDS Mail Deliverer / GDSSV
Rs. 2665-50-4165 (upto 3 hrs. workload). This will Rs. 50
be applicable for future engagements and present
incumbents will continue to be paid for a minimum
of 3 hrs. 45 min.
Rs. 3330-60-5130 (more than 3 hrs. and upto 3 hrs. Rs. 60
Rs. 4220-75-6470 (more than 3 hrs. 45 min. Rs. 75
GDS Mail Carrier / Pkr./ Mail Man
Rs. 2295-45-3695 (upto 3 hrs. workload. This will Rs. 45
be applicable for future engagements and present
incumbents will continue to be paid for a minimum
of 3 hrs. 45 min.
Rs.2870-50-4370 (more than 3 hrs. and upto 3 hrs.
45 min. of workload) Rs. 50
Rs. 3635-65-5585 (more than 3 hrs. 45 min. of
MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE OFFICE
50/- is only doubled as 100/= per month.
CYCLE MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE
The existing 30/- not enhanced at all except that the condition for covering a minimum distance of 10 KMs is taken away. But the recommendation that all cyclable beats to be measured on cycle beat formula on all cases of GDS MD and MC is a very retrograde recommendation. This has to be opposed strongly and protection of foot beat formula has to be insisted upon.
Boat Allowance of 10/- is changed into actual charges paid for boat travel which should be decided by the respective circles.
ALLOWANCES FOR REMITTANCE OF CASH
Rs.10/- and actual bus fare is paid now for remittance of cash. It is recommended that when the remittance amount exceeds 30,000/- [two days line limit] the BPM may be granted 50/- including transportation cost for personally conveys the remittance. When the cash exceeds 4 days line limit an escort to accompany the BPM with additional 20/- including transport cost. For emergency payment the BPM can bring remittance from Account Office also under the same allowances limit.
FIXED STATIONERY CHARGES
Rs.10/- for SPM/BPM increased as Rs.25/- and Rs.5/- for others is doubled as Rs.10/-.
MANY ALLOWANCES REJECTED FOR GDS
HRA, CCA, Split duty Allowance, Special duty Allowance for North Eastern areas, other compensatory Allowances, like special compensatory (Hill Area Allowance), Border Area Allowance, Island Special Duty Allowance, Project Allowance, Tribal Area Allowance, Hard Area Allowance, Bad Climate Allowance, Sunderban Allowance, Transport Allowance, overtime allowance are not recommended, keeping in view of the basic character of the Gramin Dak Sevak system.
COMBINED DUTY ALLOWANCE
For combined duty of GDS MD or MC or both, a GDS BPM is now given a combined duty allowance of 100/- and this is increased as 500/- for each item of work. But if the delivery work is only for the BO Village and no attached villages then the combined duty allowance is 250/-. And for conveyance of mails it is recommended that instead of next office the mails to be handed over to MMS or Train with 250/- as combined duty allowance. For GDS MD or MC when the duties are combined they would be given a daily allowance of 25/- instead of monthly allowance of 75/-.
VERIFICATION OF TRCA FIXATION
A cell of Audit office is to verify the TRCA Fixation done by the SSPOs or SPOs.
NO SPLIT DUTY FOR GDS
GDS are not to be brought on split duty.
DETENTION BEYOND DUTY HOURS
The present rate of 3/- per hour for detention beyond duty hours while waiting for train or MMS for handing over mails subject to a maximum of 6/- per day only is doubled @ 6/- per hour subject to a maximum of 12/- per day.
PAYMENT THROUGH SB ACCOUNT
The GDS should be paid through SB Account.
A new consumer basket based on rural area to be worked out for payment of DA to GDS. Till such time the present All India Consumer Price Index [Industrial Workers] be continued for payment of DA. This is a negative approach to deprive the present rate of DA available to GDS on par with regular employees.
PRODUCTIVITY LINKED BONUS
Committee wants to reduce the Bonus Act guaranteed bonus ceiling to GDS. It has recommended to fix only 50% of the ceiling fixed to the lowest category of regular employee until a new formula is worked out as recommended by 6th CPC for Postal PLB. This is very negative in character and need to be resisted.
PERFORMANCE RELATED INCENTIVES
GDS Committee gives emphasis on performance related incentives as recommended by the 6th CPC. Recommends continuation of incentives for all type of savings and PLI/RPLI work and marginally increasing incentive percentage in some cases but refusing time factor for any such work.
From 18,000/- increased to a maximum of 60,000/- or 16.5 months of basic allowance whichever is less. The minimum service is reduced from 15 to 10 years for entitlement of Gratuity. The GDS Committee discussed about the Punjab & Haryana High Court and Apex Court on the matter or Gratuity and in a callous manner rejected the statutory gratuity ordered by the Honourable Courts by stating that the matter is still open to law.
GROUP IINSURANCE COVER
The present group insurance cover of 10,000/- is increase to a paultry 50,000/- with monthly subscription of 50/-.
The present Severance Amount of 30,000/- is doubled as 60,000/- @ 1500/- per year of service so that for a maximum of 40 years service the total severance amount will be 60,000/-. The period of eligibility is reduced from 15 to 10 years. However the GDS will be given an option for either to remain under this Severance Scheme or go over to a new scheme called "Service Discharge Benefit Scheme" under which the GDS will get a monthly payment after retirement. A sum of Rs.200/- will be paid by the Government and no need for matching contribution by the GDS. The Severance amount as per the eligibility will be calculated and deposited into the Service Benefit Scheme. The total amount so accumulated at the time of retirement will be annutised and monthly payment to GDS will be made.
GDS Committee refused to recommend GPG to GDS. Instead it has recommended for a PPF Scheme or as an alternative provide for the Service Benefit Scheme.
Some welfare schemes presently available to GDS are enhanced. The death while on duty by terrorists etc is doubled from 50,000 to 1 lakh and while not on duty from 10,000 to 20000. New benefit of 1,50,000 introduced for death due to enemy action like war or action against terrorism etc. Financial assistance for prolonged illness is increase from 1500/- to 5000/-. Some marginal increases are recommended in some other cases.
Recommended to Government to consider introducing a contributory health scheme. It has also recommended to consider a contributary insurance scheme. After discharge from service the retired GDS and Spouse may be allowed benefit without any contribution from GDS.
EL etc are denied. The present 10 days per six months is converted into 20 days paid leave in a year instead of 10 days in six months but without permitted to carry over the leave.
Instead of maternity leave a financial compensation of three months TRCA and DA will be considered from the Welfare Fund for female GDS for first two child births. This will not be allowed if there is miscarriage or abortion.
GDS Committee do not find allowing transfer to GDS a feasible proposition. Even existing transfer facilities curtailed. It is permitted transfer within division only for female GDS after marriage to join her spouse; Surplus GDS to get alternate employment; and compassionate appointees.
Security to be furnished by the GDS has been increased from 10,000 to 25,000 to GDS SPMs/BPMs and from 5000/- to 10,000 for others. This is overburdening of GDS and additional financial expenditure for them.
The Committee observed that though operationally the present qualification of Matriculation prescribed for the GDS SPM/BPM is adequate, to provide for higher administrative efficiency in the context of new services that are likely to be introduced in rural offices and improvement in educational levels, preference may be given to the candidates with higher qualification of 10+2. No weightage need be given for qualification higher than 10+2. There is also need to prescribe that the candidates should have knowledge in local language, as this will be essential for functioning of the BPM.
2. The Committee suggests that there may not be any relaxation in the minimum educational qualification for the wife of the deceased GDS while making compassionate appointment as BPM/SPM and relaxation of educational qualification may however be considered for other GDS posts.
The Department may consider that all future engagements in leave vacancies, short term vacancies, be managed by combination of duties. If such combination is not found feasible in such cases the work may be managed by local arrangement unless it is decided to make a provisional arrangement after following the regular process of selection.It has to be made clear that arrangements made though for long period without following the recruitment process do not entitle regular absorption for engagement in a GDS vacancy. The existing instructions of providing alternate employment to a provisionally engaged candidate after rendering three years of engagement though he was not initially engaged by due process of selection need to be modified in this context.
16.7.7 Further, instructions already exist that, temporary engagements even in long term arrangements will be allowed only when the work load of the BO as well as its financial position justifies such engagement on regular basis.
Therefore, the existing recruitment procedure requires refinement and it should be clearly indicated in the notification about the provision of suitable accommodation on his own arrangement of the selected candidate and mandatory condition of taking up residence in the place of duty before taking up appointment. Similarly in the letter of engagement, the appointing authority should clearly intimate that any failure to take up residence in the place of duty would be violative of the conditions of engagement and liable to be proceeded under Rule 10 of GDS (Conduct and Employment) Rules, 2001 and the note II (vii) below Rule 3 of the Conduct rules may be modified to
RETIREMENT AGE REDUCED WITHOUT GRANTING STATUS
Keeping in view the need for efficient discharge of duties and also that an increase in the benefits/ payments on discharge of GDS are now being suggested, the age of discharge of GDS be fixed at 62 years against present age of 65 years. With this, there will be one time extra outgo of cash disbursement towards ex-gratia gratuity and Severance amount The Department may effect this change in a phased manner over a period of 3 years.
EXAMINATION FOR FILLING UP UPGRADED GROUP C POSTS
The multi skilled Group 'C' posts are to be filled up from outsiders. Preference may be given to GDS to the extent of 75% to GDS and 25% of vacancies to (Casual labourers recruited before September 01, 1993) subject to their qualifying in the recruitment examination. The GDS upto the age of 50 years having Matriculation qualification and who have put in 5 years of continuous service may be allowed to take this examination. In respect of casual labourers, they should fulfil the educational qualification of Matriculation and should have been recruited initially through Employment Exchange. The examination will be based on requirement for discharge of Group 'C' duties which will be identified by the Department. The duties which are of Group 'D' nature may be managed by other means. The multi skilled Group 'C' recruited may not be allowed any transfer from the division where they are recruited. In order to maintain the local character of the job, the present provision of transfer under Rule 38 of Volume IV may be modified.
POSTMEN / MAILGUARD VACANCIES
GDS Committee recommended for filling up the Postmen / Mailguard vacancies in the following manner:
25% by Multi-functional Group C through examination.
50% by GDS through examination who are matric with 50% marks and 5 years service and below age of 45.
25% by outsiders through examination with matriculation and 50% marks with 18-25 age.
Number of chances to be limited to 6. This is against our interests.
POSTAL ASSISTANT VACANCIES
The Committee recommends that the clerical vacancies may be apportioned as 25% to be filled up through promotion of Postman and multi functional Group 'C' and the remaining 75% may be offered for outsiders' quota. This recommendation is totally overstepping of its limits by the GDS Committee and in contravention of existing 50% - 50% apportionment for Postmen/Group D and outsiders at present. This should be opposed totally.
MULTI SKILLED GROUP C VACANCIES
GDS Committee has recommended for 75% vacancies to GDS and 25% vacancies for casual labourers to continue but through a recruitment examination as direct recruitment instead of seniority cum fitness basis.
GDS VACANCIES ARISING DUE TO DEATH
GDS Committee recommended only temporary arrangement for 90 days can be made with the dependent of the deceased GDS and unless his application for compassionate appointment is positively approved he shall not be continued beyond 90 days. Combination of duty is suggested for temporary arrangement also.
The demand for classification of major and minor penalties has been rejected outright. No improvement in the matter of Put Off duty compensation other than the recommendation for considering enhancement upto 50% after 90 days if the enquiry delay is not due to GDS.
TRADE UNION FACILITIES
1. A channel of correspondence to effectively address the problems of GDS at Divisional, Regional, Circle & Directorate levels needs to be ensured.
2. Formal meetings to discuss unresolved issues through correspondence be held once in 3 months at Divisional level, once in 4 months at Regional level and once in 6 months at Circle and Directorate level.
3. The cost of a substitute wherever it is necessary to engage be met from the Department upto 2 members for periodical meetings subject to the provision that the combination of the duties is not feasible.
4. The present periodicity of holding All India Conference may be revised to 3 years with a grace per six months.
5. Formal regular meetings with Recognised GDS unions once in six months at Directorate Level with Member (P), as Chairman, the participation of concerned Deputy Directors General with Directorate (SR) as the convener be conducted. The unresolved issues in six monthly meeting with Member (P) if any may be placed before Secretary, Posts for perusal and action as deemed necessary.
6. The Department may consider amending the existing Rule 4(d)(i) of EDAs (RSA) Rules, 1995 for the purposes of recognising second association. The existing percentage of 15% of membership may be revised to 30,000 verifiable membership.
Thus it can be seen though the GDS Committee has gone way away to recommend for changing the ED[RA]Rules for recognising second union without fulfilment of 15% minimum condition, it has on the other hand taken total negative decisions in matters of affiliation with Federations; Special leave for Conferences, Foreign Service to General Secretaries etc. Even the existing facility of monthly meetings at divisional level is being curtailed.
NFPE APPROACH ON GDS COMMITTEE:
The adamant attitude of the Department of Posts in not accepting the constitution of GDS Committee under the chairmanship of a Judge was not an aimless exercise. The Administration feels that it cannot face another post-Justice Talwar Committee type of situation leading to many struggles for implementation of positive recommendations of Justice Talwar Committee Report. The Administration desires a tailored report to limit the scope of recommendations and that was the purpose of constituting a retired- officer-headed Committee. By accepting the Officer Committee by all organisations instead of strengthening the hands of NFPE which on a principle stood firm to demand a Judicial Committee for GDS the damage had been done already. Accepting the Nataraja Murthi Committee meant that we do not anticipate any positive recommendations on Status and Statutory Pension for Gramin Dak Sewaks. However there are many negative and retrograde recommendations in the Report that need to be fought and removed.
NFPE & CHQ favours negotiating with the Postal Administration seriously to safeguard against all such negative and retrograde recommendations.
NFPE & CHQ favours building up a strong united platform of Postal Employees and of the CG Employees and launching a powerful movement culminating in industrial action for gaining Status and Pension for GDS and for settlement of modifications of basic issues of CG Employees. A joint Charter of Demands and a joint struggle as envisaged by the Confederation.
NFPE & CHQ favours deeper discussion in the national convention of NFPE organisations and GDS Union in Guntur in December 3-4 for working out our strategy of struggle in consultation with Postal JCA.