01 Apr, 2021 10:09a.m.

Minutes of the JCM Standing Committee meeting on 26 February

minutes-of-the-jcm-standing-committee-meeting-on-26-february

Minutes of the meeting of the Standing Committee of JCM held on 26.02.2021 at 11.00 AM and onwards under the Chairmanship of Secretary (P) in Conference Room No.119, North Block, New Delhi.

A meeting of the Standing Committee of JCM was held on 26.02.2021 under the Chairmanship of Secretary (P) to discuss the various pending as well as fresh issues raised by the Staff Side.

2. . The Chairman welcomed the participants, and requested them to observe two minutes of silence as a mark of respect to the two members of the Staff Side, namely, Late Shri Rakhal Das Gupta, and Late Shri M.S. Raja, who have since passed away. Thereafter, the Chairman spoke about the importance of the meeting of the SC, JCM, and the beneficial role it plays in the running of the Govt. He expressed regrets that due to various reasons, including the Pandemic in 2020, the JCM meetings have not been held. He also expressed hope that there would be more regular meetings as the situation improves. Secretary(P) invited the members from the Staff Side as well as the Government side to participate in the meeting with a free and frank approach, so that issues are appreciated and solutions are found.

3. Thereafter, from the Staff Side, Dr. M. Raghavaiah, Leader, Shri Shiva Gopal Mishra, Secretary, and Shri C. Sri Kumar, Member, addressed the Meeting, touching upon various aspects of problems being faced by the govt. employees. The following is the gist of the issues raised by the speakers: –

3.1 Ex-gratia payment to the victims of Covid-19 in different Ministries/ Departments, who have laid down their lives serving the nation during the pandemic . Secretary, Staff Side specifically spoke about the Railway employees, who worked round the clock during the COVID- 19 Lockdown and subsequent Pandemic period , in order to maintain the supply of essential commodities throughout the country. He further informed that more than 450 staff have died during the Pandemic. In view of the grim situation, the, ex-gratia amount should be suitably awarded to the employees in recognition of their contribution to the nation during this difficult time. Further, it was also informed the meagre ex-gratia amount that has been sanctioned, has also not reached the families. This needs to be monitored. He also requested that a separate quota of Covid-19 victim dependents may be created for appointments on Compassionate Ground, which is apart from the 5% quota permitted. Shri C. Sri Kumar also pointed out that the workers of M / o Defence performed duties, day and night, during the Pandemic period, and hence, the family members of victims of Covid-19 should be given Govt. job on Compassionate Grounds on priority basis.

3.2 The unilateral decision of the Government of India to freeze the DA, was also mentioned by Secretary, Staff Side and it was demanded that the freeze may be removed immediately in favour of the Govt. employees .

3.3 The New Pension Scheme was also mentioned, and that it needs to be reviewed, and advantage of the Old Pension Scheme may be given to the employees. The assurance given to the Staff Side that 50% of the last pay drawn would be ensured as pension, may also be acted upon quickly by the D/ o Pensions & Pensioners’ Welfare.

3.4 Regarding the Night Duty Allowance (NDA), it was informed that in the Core Departments, like Railways and Defence Production, the employees like Technicians (Level-3, Level-4) , Loco Pilots, Station Masters and such various Technical posts have been denied the benefit of NDA on account of the ceiling imposed by the Government . The award given by the Arbitrator in this regard was also accepted by the Govt., but it has been of no avail. It was informed that a proposal was also sent by the M / o Railways to DoPT, requesting the Govt. to allow them to take a decision on their own on this issue. However, nothing positive has come out of it.

3.5 Regarding the issue of Travelling Allowance, it was stated that the element of Mileage Allowance is yet to be granted exemption from the purview of Income Tax. This is a burning issue with regard to employees of Railways, who are awaiting some relief.

3.6 Regular meetings of the JCM at the National Council, Standing Committee, as also at the Departmental Councils-level must be held so that the employees get to present their point of view to the Govt at regular intervals. Secretary, Staff Side also stated that the issues which have already been settled during the NCJCM or Standing Committee Meetings, should be implemented in their letter and spirit, so that the purpose of JCM is served. Further, the demands of the Staff Side may not be rejected unilaterally, i.e., without consulting them. He also urged that the Staff Side must be consulted whenever stringent measures/ tough decisions are propose d to be taken by the Government so that their point of view is also heard.

3.7 The issue of certain important decisions of the Supreme Court on policy matters to be applied in rem, and not m personam, to avoid multiplicity of litigations and delay in decision-making was also mentioned.

3.8 The issue of creation of posts was also raised. The current system of surrendering posts to create new posts is not acceptable, as stated by Secretary, Staff Side, as organisations like the Railways/ Posts cannot wind up existing posts for creation of new posts. An example was given of the post of Station Master by Secretary, Staff Side in this regard. For creation of the post of a new Station Master, it will be impractical that an existing post of Station Master needs to be abolished . He also touched upon the method of cadre restructuring, wherein there is a ban on creation of new posts. These measures should be removed as they are harming the functioning of the Govt.

3.9 The issue of recovery of the TA given to the employees during Covid- 19 Pandemic was also raised. The Staff Side informed that majority of the employees even though were asked to work f rom home they were called for various emergency duties for which no attendance record was maintained due to suspension of bio metric attendance system to avoid spread of COVID- 1 9 virus. Therefore, the recovery of TA given during the lockdown period to the employees should not be recovered considering the extra ordinary situation. Department of Expenditure may arrange to issue instructions in this regard.

3.10 Regarding Cash Scheme against LTC, it was stated that it has been permitted with numerous conditions, which are difficult to comply with, and therefore, nobody would be interested in taking it. Further, the LTC Block Year 2018-2019 was requested to be extended till 31.12.2021 in view of the fact that the extended period was also covered by the COVID- 19 Pandemic, and nobody could take the benefit of the same.

3.11 It was also stated that the reimbursement of the expenditure incurred on medical treatment by individual employees during the Covid-19 period, may be made to them on an urgent basis without creating hurdles.

3.12 2 The Staff Side stated that the pay scale of the Master Craftsman of the Defence Ministry was upgraded by the fast track committee from Rs. 4,500-7000 to Rs. 5000-8000 (PB2+GP Rs. 4200 w.e.f. 1-1-2006. In accordance with DoP&T clarifications on ACP/MACP, any placement in the higher pay scale by expert bodies cannot be treated as promotion for the purpose of ACP / MACP. This was upheld by various Courts also. Therefore the MCM of Defence ,who were in the pay scale of Rs. 4500-7000, as on 31-12-2005, and upgraded to Rs. 5000-8000 by fast track committee, are entitled for two more MACP’s. As regards the pharmacist, their pay scale was also upgraded from Rs. 4500-7000, to Rs.5000-8000 after completion of 2 years by Fast Tract committee. This placement also is treated as a promotion and the pharmacist are denied their due ACP/MACP benefits. Both the cases deserves favourable consideration.

3.13 3 Regarding Festival Advance , it was stated that the demand of the Staff Side for restoration of Festival Advance had been agreed to in the last meeting. However, no decision has, so far, been communicated. Hence, the demand for one month’s basic pay as Festival Advance, to be recovered in 10 instalments, was also raised.

3.14 4 The Staff Side stated that the 7th CPC was implemented w.e.f. 1.1.2016. In many departments, employees were promoted after the date of the notification of the 7th CPC. The Staff Side requested for giving one more option to such employees as opted for 7th CPC from the date of their promotion to the higher post. For example of 51,000 employees of Railways were promoted on 1-9-2016. Similar cases are there is Defence, Postal and other Departments. This demand may be favourably considered .

3. 15 Secretary, Staff Side also touched upon the issue of FR 17A. FR 17-A states that where an individual employee remains absent unauthorizedly or deserts the post, the period of such absence shall be deemed to cause an interruption or break in service of the employee, unless otherwise decided by the competent authority for the purpose of LTC and eligibility for appearing in departmental examination, for which a minimum period of service is required. Unless the strike is declared as illegal, participation in strike may be dealt with under FR-17-A, and the principle of ‘No Work No Pay’ be applied and it may not be treated as ‘dies-non’. The Staff Side further stated that their claim was also supported by many Court judgements including the judgement of Delhi High Court in the case of CGHS employees. Therefore, DoP&T may issue instructions that in the Industrial Establishments where the strike is not declared as illegal by the labour court, in such cases dies non cannot be imposed. The absence day either has to be regularized with wages or at the most by imposing no work no pay and no ‘dies non’.

4. . Thereafter, the 49 agenda items were discussed one by one. The agenda items and the decisions taken thereon in the meeting have been listed in the last column of the tabular statement at Annexure II.

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.

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