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Saturday, September 28, 2019

NFPE Writes to Secretary, DOP regarding Framing of Department of Posts (Postal Assistant and Sorting Assistants) Recruitment Rules – 2019.

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
1st Flor North Avenues PO, New Delhi-110001

No. PF/PASA/Recruitment Rules                                           Dated -28.09.2019

To

Shri A. N. Nanda
Secretary
Department of Posts
Dak Bhawan, New Delhi – 110001

Sub: - Framing of Department of Posts (Postal Assistant and Sorting Assistants) Recruitment Rules – 2019-Reg.

Ref: 1. Dte’s Lr. No. F. No. 04-05/2015-SPB-I, Dak Bhawan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi Date 18.09.2019.

Apropos reference, notwithstanding our strong resentment and objection on the following particularly the proposed merger of PA CO and PA SBCO with the Postal Assistants, we are welcoming the remaining proposals and it is dire need that when the proposed educational qualification is raised to Graduation for the PA selection, the minimum pay would be in the level pay of 6 or 5 as in the case of other departments. This may please be considered. The following is our strong resentment in case of merger of PA admn and PA SBCO with the postal assistant cadre.

1. PA Administrative offices

In this proposed amendment it is being categorically mentioned that
(1) There will be no further appointment in (PA/RO) cadre. These steps the entire Postal Administrative vehemently oppose.
(2) They will continue in this cadre only till they are promoted or retired.
(3) All the existing vacancies of PA (CO/RO) will be added to Postal/RMS Divisions.

In this connection, it is pertinent to mention at this juncture that according to Gazette Notification of the Govt. Published by the Authority No. 43, January 27, 2014 (i.e New Recruitment Rules,2014) the Post of Postal Assistant of Circle Administrative offices has been classified as “General Central Service, Group ‘c’ (Non-Gazetted Ministerial)”. But surprisingly in the proposed draft notification of R. R. Dated 13.12.2017, Postal Assistant of Circle Administrative Offices and Regional Offices has been classified as “General Central Services Group-‘C’ “Non-Gazetted and Non-Ministerial”.

Once again, the genuine concerns of Administrative staff are reiterated below.
(a) The PA (CO/RO) are to discharge All Administrative responsibility under the Heads of Circles, besides performing their duties. They are having knowledge and expertise in Postal operation, O & M procedure with rulings of the department like Banking rules, Services rules, Vigilance Rules, Staff maters and Insurance rules etc.
(b) For the aforesaid works, Pas (CO/RO) are also having the proficiency/Administrative skills to prepare drafts and DO drafts by analyzing policy implementation.
(c) Circle Administrative Offices have to enforce and execute the Policies and Programmes of the Central Govt., pertaining to Postal Services like other Ministries/Departments. So PAs Circle Administrative offices i.e PA (CO/RO) are performing in the pattern of “CENTRAL SECRETARIAT” staff and are having the knowledge and capacity to ensure and supervise in the Circle/State.
(d) Before 26.06.1993 in the Postal Administrative Office i.e (COs/ROs) Lower Division Clerk (LDC) in the scale of Pay of Rs.950-1500 and Upper Division Clerk (UDC) in the scale of Pay of Rs.1200-2040 has been in force, whereas in Post offices (i.e. Operative Offices) it was TS Clerk/PA (Posts Office) with a pay of Rs.975-1660. On 26.06.1993, when TBOP/BCR scheme was introduced in Administrative offices all CO/ROs and DPLI Kolkata were compelled to surrender 10% of their sanctioned staff strength and LDC/UDC pattern was converted to PA (CO/RO) Pattern at the of introduction of TBOP, By this it is proved that in all prevision occasions our Department has given a “Separate treatment/Recognition” to the Postal Administrative Offices for its separate identity. But unfortunately, by the way of proposed amendment of RRs of PA/SA Rules, 2019 dated 18.09.2019 the Department has put the entire Postal Administrative Offices and Staff into untold misery, mental agony and shock.
(e) In earlier Recruitment Rules dated 27.01.2014 in method of Recruitment in Circle Administrative Offices there had been 75% by direct recruitment and 25% by promotion through a limited Department Competitive Examination but in proposed draft notification dated 13.12.2017m it has been 50% through Direct recruitment and 50% promotion through limited department competitive examination. At present the pattern of recruitment is 75% by DR and 25% by Department promotions. In this connection it is also noted that with this proposed amendment the cadre of MTS who are working in CO/RO will also be adversely affected.
(f) The nature of work in Postal Administrative Offices are of confidential nature which involves implementation of policies of Govt. and Administrative staff are suitably trained in this regard and they have been performing the duties since decades sincerely.
(g) As per the proposed RR the staff from the Divisions are taken into CO/RO on tenure basis, this method likely to adopt pick and choose method which is very detrimental to the interest of the Department and quality of work will diffidently affected and confidentiality will also be as stake.

Taking into the above views into consideration this Federation requests the Secretary (Posts) to look into the entire matter and drop the above proposed amendment dated 18.09.2019 of PA/SA in the case of administrative offices staff taking into welfare and well being of Postal Administrative staff into consideration.

2. SBCO in the Department of Posts

As per Para-2(b) PA(SBCO) in the proposed RR :

(i) There will be no further appointment in SBCO cadre.
(ii) Existing officials of PA (SBCO) cadre will continue to be in PA(SBCO) Cadre till they are promoted or retired.
(iii) All existing and consequent vacancies of PA(SBCO) shall be added to the strength of PA of Postal Division.
(iv) Posting of PA (SBCO) will be done from Divisions as in Post offices.

The SBCO and ICO (SB) branches were introduced in the Department of Posts bifurcating from Accountant General, Posts & Telegraph as per the order of AG P & T No. Admn. III/5(S)4A-KWiii/2806 Dated at Simla the 31st March 1964. The aim of the bifurcation was to transfer of Audit and Accounting work to the HPO. Since then, SBCO has been performing the Audit and Account functions of the various SB categories of accounts involving crores of Rupees of lacs of Depositors in HPO.

1. The Audit function of SBCO has been mentioned clearly in 1960 under Para-1(Preamble) of introduction POSSS Part-IV by A.N. Dureja authorized by the then P & T Board.
2. The Internal control wing which is similar to SBCO is now called as “Internal Audit Office” as per Directorate Letter No. CIS/AU-1/101-06-07/2276 Dated 05.02.2007.
3. The withdrawal vouchers have been checked by the SBCO staff (even now) by putting their signature in the place marked as “Auditor” on the SB-7.(withdrawal voucher).
4. As per the Directorate order No.97-8/95-SB Dated 12.10.1995 newly created, the posts of Supervisor SBCO are carrying out the functions of JAO of erstwhile Audit and Account office.
5. SBCO has to carry out the reality check to avoid delayed detection of fraud vide the Directorate Letter No.25-31/2017-FS-CBS Dated 19.11.2018.
6. Preventive Vigilance –Procedure has to be followed by the SBCO to prevent fraud vide Directorate Letter No.4-5/DR-02/2018-Inv.Dated 20.12.2018.

Through an Act of amendment by Nodal Ministry (Ministry of Finance) Small savings Audit & accounting work was transferred from the Audit office to the Post Office in 1964 with formation of new nomenclature as “SBCO”. Since then miseries of SBCO Employees are not wiped out in the last 55 years and have lost everything from Designation to the pay & perks. On similar lines the Account wing was also introduced in the Department of Posts w.e.f.01.04.76 in the form of Office of Director of Accounts (Postal). Both the wings were previously part of AG P & T.

Later on, Shri. J.S. Bhatia Member P & T Board (FD & AF) formulated a separate manual known as “Postal Manual of SB Control, Pairing & Internal Check Organisation” for duties of SBCO staff headed by AO ICO(SB) on the pattern of P& T Audit.

Time and again, we are demanding that the SBCO wing should be brought under the control of Director of Accounts (Postal) for effective functioning. Of late, an order was issued assigning the work of NSCs & KVPs to SBCO which was previously done by DAP w.e.f 01.07.2016 vide SB Order 06/2016 issued vide No.32-01/2016-SB Dt.21.01.2019.

Ultimately SBCO section is dealing with the work of audit only (ie) downloading the datas from Finacle and voucher checking with utmost concentration. The term AUDIT defines “an official inspection of an organizations account by an independent body. Fortunately, the work being done by SBCO has coincided with the definition of AUDIT. SBCO cadre is called as distinct category according to the department, in other words independent body. POSB is very large banking institution under the Department of Posts having crores of account holders and multi crore of rupees as investment by the people. Proper audit to POSB system is inevitable. In our strong opinion, an robust internal audit should be mooted out in POSB like various audit organizations (ie) P & T audit General, Audit Civil Audit, Defence and Railway Audit which are watchdogs to the safety of public money.

In Finacle the SBCO Auditor’s manual issued by India Post reveals that all the transactions are to be verified by the SBCO staff or auditor and all SBCO staff/Auditors have to get login IDs from CEPT, Chennai to view LOT. These lines are incorporated in page No. 03 of the said manual. Accordingly, the entire Manual indicates the detective controls by SBCO/Auditor staff.

In the Auditor’s Manual under the head “Detective Controls”-Comparison of Account number and amount in the voucher with LOT, it has been written as “However, the SBCO staff or Auditor has to verify all the transactions from the vouchers received from the LOT available in the Finacle Application. All SBCO Staff/Auditors have to get Login IDs from CEPT Chennai Team to view LOT either in production or through MIS server.

Under the head “Sample LOT is given below” it has been written as “SBCO/Auditor has to verify Account Number and Amount mentioned in LOT with the voucher and in case of any discrepancy, full transaction can be viewed in Finacle Application with input as TRAN ID mentioned in LOT and voucher. SBCO/Audit has to raise the objection procedurally for the discrepancy.,,

There is a head written as “Inquiries and reports for SBCO/AUDITOR staff. Menu options
1. HACSP
2. HACLI
3. HACLPCA
4. HACI

Under the head “Detective Controls – Interest Inquiries” written as
All Financial organizations will be receiving various income. The major share of the income for Min. of Finance comes from interest. SBCO/AUDITOR has to see that annual interest, closing interest and the post maturity (overdue) interest has been correctly accounted for.

The two types of interest inquiries are:
Interest Inquiries
Interest Reports

These inquiries are on the various activities/transactions conducted by the employees working in a Post Office. These reports and inquiries are effective for operations as well as detective controls for SBCO/AUDITOR staff.

It has been written as All other field shown in the screen are auto populated. The Auditors can even specify what type of Interest they are looking for, for example, additional, overdue or penal and so on, by choosing from the dropdown in interest type.

The Re-amendments of Recruitment Rules for PA/SAs Cadre (PA(CO), PA(SBCO), PA(PO), PA(RLO) and SA-Proposal vide Directorate F. No. 09-03/2017-SPB-I Dt. 18.10.17 was proposed earlier which was strongly opposed by the General secretary of AIPSBCOEA through individual ballot in the letter dated 03.11.2017.

In fine, the following points are appended with reference to the proposed RRs mentioned in the letter cited under reference:
The Savings Bank Control Organisation was set up w.e.f 01.01.1960 with the approval of AG P & T, CAG and Ministry of Finance to ensure an On-Spot Checking over the work of Small Savings Schemes for audit & accounting, vouchers checking & reconciliation work vested within AG P&T which has its own separate identity other than existing PA Cadre in the Department being their nature of duties identical to the Audit & Accounts wing.

It is pertinent to mention that all the financial institutions must have a separate wing for Checking, Auditing & Accounting to safeguard the public money and on that’s why the Department has termed SBCO as unique cadre and recruit the personnel separately. Inter-change of SBCO staff with operative work (POs)vice versa, was not allowed. SBCO is considered as custodian of small savings business records in order to prevent any untoward incidents of misuse.

It is understood that the RRs of PA(SBCO) notified on 21.05.15 under the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution were framed for 100% direct recruitment (Col. 10) with promotional avenues through DPC headed by DPS as Chairperson and they come under Circle Cadre.

In 2017, the proposed RRs of PA/SA cadre circulated is strongly opposed by the entire rank and file in SBCO and it was requested to maintain separate identity for SBCO cadre in proposed amendments in RRs of PA/SA cadre or consider their absorption with Audit & Accounts Wing being originated from AG P & T. Hence the RR proposal vide Directorate F.No. 09-03/2017-SPB-I Dt. 18.10.17 was dropped.

We are, still affirm since both SBCO and DAP were bifurcated from the erstwhile AG P & T by 1964 and 1976 respectively, the basic work of Audit continues to be common to both SBCO and DAP. The nature of work is of similar type dealing with the POSB Audit and Accounting and the financial transactions of pay and allowance of employees which are also accounted through the POSB Accounts only.

In view of the above it is requested to kindly reconsider the framing of the present proposed Recruitment Rules and to rechristen the SBCO as SB Audit Organization and PA (SBCO) as AUDITORs in order to function effectively under the control of GM(PA & F) for the proper caring of crores of money deposited by lacs of customers.

In short, this Federation is not in favour of merger of PA Admn and PA SBCO with the Postal assistant cadre since they are having the separate identity even today. We are recording our serious concern on proposed RR on these points.
It is therefore requested to kindly rescind the same and the rest of the proposals may please be implemented exclusively for the PA cadre and in respect of PA Admn and PA SBCO, the status quo may please be maintained.
A line in reply about the action taken is highly solicited.
With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

R.N.Parashar,
Secretary General

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