Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From CESA's Desk...

1.    CESA Mumbai express its silent remembrance on the 1st death anniversary (18th Feb.) of late Shri. R S Phadke, Superintendent and stands behind the family. His wife badly needs the job on compassionate grounds as well as financial assistance.  Her request for compassionate appointment is still pending with Pune administration.

2.    Promotions from Inspector to Superintendent is pending due to CAT case Mumbai and the next date of hearing is 15/03/2017.

3.    Most of the places, due to “Shivratri” falling on 24th Feb, Central Excise day celebration is advanced to 23rd Feb.  However in Mumbai it will be held, as usual on 24th Feb at Bhaidas Hall, Vile Parle. A Senior Minister of Central Government will be the Chief Guest on this occasion, followed with several celebrities, as it is the last function of Central Excise.

4.    DPC in respect of Group ‘B’ to Group ‘A’ for the vacancies arising in the year 2014-15 has completed last week. For the vacancies arising in 2015-16  is scheduled to be held in  this week. 


6.    In the 10th GST council meeting nothing much has been improved on our side, no encouraging news.  The next meeting is scheduled on 3rd / 4th of March. We should not demand anything which is already decided by the council but make efforts in those areas which is not yet  decided - like absolute control of Audit and Preventive functions, Anti-Evasion etc.. We should be ready even to forgo complete assessment, if required.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Unity And Trust Are At Stake (GST)....

     Those who have visited the famous Victoria Museum in Kolkata, might have come across the above declaration at the entrance of the museum. The said proclamation, comprising of three paras, of which the last one is really amusing.
     The Victoria Memorial was funded by Indian states, individuals of the British Raj and the British government in London. The princes and people of India responded generously to Lord Curzon's appeal for funds, and the total cost of construction of the monument, amounting to One Crore,Five Lakhs of rupees, were entirely derived from voluntary subscriptions.
     The relevance of the above proclamation, which was signed with an intention - “In their prosperity will be our strength, In their contentment, our security, and In their gratitude, Our best Reward”.
   कथनी और करनी, saying something and doing the opposite is quite common - taking permission for trading, then converting into self enrichment, resulting in exploitation at all levels in the society.
     Time was running out in the Ninth GST Council, several decisions were taken which appears to ring the the death knell for All Cadres in CBEC. The steering committee which was formulated for the cause was found to be missing - having no action plan...
     However, On 3rd Feb., under a different name (JAC) meeting was held at New Delhi and a decision was taken to go for Lunch Hour Demonstration on 10th Feb., and mass Casual Leave on 17th Feb. A common minimum program was adopted which is as follows :-
  1. Parity with counterparts ensuring at least 5 functional promotions and immediate DPC for all vacant posts;
  2. Parity in pay matters with counterparts;
  3. NFU at par with counterparts;
  4. Two representatives from each Association will participate in meeting with Administration  including Finance Minister;
  5. All Associations will support the cause of each Association without any deviation for furtherance of feeling of trust;
  6. If even a single officer is victimized belonging to any cadre, all Associations/ Cadres will fight for him/ her even legally, if required;
  7. IRS Association will write to all CCAs to hold JAC as well as employee grievances redressal mechanism meetings in a time frame manner;
  8. Seniority list and pending RRs of all the Cadres should be finalized immediately;
·          IRS (C&CE) Association will appeal to all the CCAs of Customs & Central Excise to immediately abolish control room duty, PRO duty, protocol duty of Inspectors in their respective Zones.  Further, on the request of Inspectors’ Association, IRS (C&CE) Association will write a letter to the Chairman, CBEC informing that “Uniform” is not required for Inspectors in the ensuing GST regime.  The letter will be issued before the submission of Joint Memorandum.
     We welcome and don’t oppose the implementation of GST, but it should not have an adverse effect on our career prospects.  Rather our career prospects should improve due to the implementation of GST. We feel that if the above genuine demands in National & Revenue interest are not considered then this disciplined service will be forced to initiate peaceful means of demonstration to display their displeasure.
     On 4th Feb., apart from other issues the decisions of JAC were endorsed by AIACEGEO in its meeting in New Delhi.
     A meeting was scheduled on 07th Feb., with the Hon'ble Finance Minister, but due to some unforeseen reasons, it was not held. In various places the anger of the cadre was visible when the peaceful demonstrations were carried out.
     Meeting with the FM was held on 10th February, who assured that the sanctity of the service of CBEC will be protected, officers will not be jobless, the work of CBDT which appears to be surplus will be diverted, further that Mr Jaitley has assured the central excise officers that their promotions would be fast tracked and other HR issues would be taken care of.
     In our cadre there is strong resentment against the officers presently heading the Board, who are unable to protect the interests of the personnel and that of the organization as well; as safeguarding the base of the structure. The issue of resentment is GSTN which is privatized without any accountability. The officers are having a bitter experience of ACES for no fault of theirs, they have been subjected to severe harassment and humiliation by their Seniors as if the work is pending with them & not due to the malfunctioning of ACES. Further, the issue of 12 nautical miles is a clear-cut encroachment on the territory of the CBEC by the VAT officials. If these two issues are logically settled then the officers do not have any problem with scenario of the Pre-GST or the Post-GST.
     It is a fact, that the officers of this organization are more loyal, dedicated and service oriented without any discrimination. They are more law abiding officers as well as disciplined and in the past, there is no record / incidence of indiscipline reported, as like BSF, CISF and other uniformed Service Cadre towards their seniors.
     The Department and its staff are tried, tested and trusted ones and even with bare facilities, they have excelled, whether it is at the border doing land Customs work, SEZ, Service Tax etc.
     Another meeting of GST Council is scheduled on 17th & 18th Feb., which will decide precisely the rules and laws that are to prevail.
     The posts lying vacant for promotions from Group-B to Group-A, for the years 2014-15 & 2015-16 (between 800-900 posts) are likely to be filled shortly. The process is on. The resentment of the cadre partially may be pacified but the issue of recasting of the Seniority as per the spirit of the  Apex Court Parmar’s Judgement is the main issue which needs to be settled across the zones so that parity within CBEC partially may be restored.
     The issue of Financial Upgradation and Recovery Proceedings of Senior Officers on account of ACP/MACP needs a compassionate consideration so that the trust which has been breached by the Board and the senior officers recently may be restored again. The cadres in the CBEC are unique and unless it is united like other organizations, the desired prosperity and career progressions cannot be achieved, the principle of Divide And Rule will prevail.
     In conclusion, the proclamation signed by Queen Victoria will always rekindle the faith that the sign and design should always prevail, even though sometimes it takes a back seat, in the face of greediness.


Valid Dispute On GST.......

4-tier GST rate may lead to classification disputes

The four-tier GST rate structure will open up floodgates of classification disputes with tendency among businesses to demand lower rate for their goods or services, says a research paper. Four tax rates have been proposed under the Goods and Services Tax regime that is to introduced later this year. "Present discussion on two standard GST rates (12 per cent and 18 per cent), a lower rate (5 per cent) and a higher rate (28 per cent) in addition to exemptions will make the design of GST complicated and increase the cost of compliance as well as cost of tax administration," said NIPFP associate professor Sacchidananda Mukherjee. "It is expected that, if accepted, the proposal will open up floodgates of classification disputes and there will be always be a tendency among businesses to demand lower rate for their good or service," he said in the paper posted on NIPFP website. Voices are being raised already to put plantation crops, labour intensive manufacturing, infrastructure inputs and air fares under lower tax bracket, he said. "It is expected that the higher the differences among the tax rates the larger will be the scope for litigation. The benefits of removal of cascading of taxes will be balanced by higher cost of compliance, as a result the expected benefits of introduction of GST may not be achieved," Mukherjee noted. The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) economist pointed out there is discussion in the GST Council that there will be a separate cess on demerit goods and environmentally harmful goods. "The objective behind imposition of cess is to generate revenue to compensate the states on account of any revenue loss due to introduction of GST during first five years of implementation of GST. It is not clear whether the cess will be imposed with a sunset clause or it will continue as an additional source of revenue for the Central Government," Mukherjee said. The imposition of cess without provision for input tax credit (like Swachh Bharat Cess) will result in cascading of taxes and it will go against the fundamental advantage of introducing GST, he added.
From Sources:-
The dispute on Nautical Miles is to be redressed apart from the above.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Grand Success of GST protest

On Martyrs Day, Officers of CBEC are forced to wear black bands/badges, to protest against some of the decisions taken by the recent GST Council headed by the Hon'ble Finance Minister.

The Associations under CBEC observe that the said decisions are heavily tilted towards the states which does not augur well for the sovereign function of the Centre to levy and collect taxes. While extending their support for successful and smooth implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Associations felt that the decisions were not rational.

However, in the present setup of things and the decisions which have been taken in the recent meeting of the GST Council, it is felt that the basic structure of the scheme is being compromised and the same may lead to utmost chaos which may be detrimental not only to the revenue but also to the industry, trade and commerce in general, as well the interest of the service of the all employees.

The Council had in its January 16 meeting agreed to give states the powers to levy tax on economic activity within 12 nautical miles of territorial waters and to administer 90 per cent of the tax payers under Rs 1.5 Crore annual turnover besides certain provisions of Integrated GST. These and other decisions are detrimental the very existence of the huge work force under Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). All the employees from top to bottom feel that there is an urgent need for their review.

Being a responsible officer of the esteemed organization, who have a history from the freedom era to liberalization till demonetisation, believe in Constitutional methods of protests to make their voices heard and to draw the attention of the decision makers. It is hoped that the action plan of the movement of wearing of black bands/badges by officials of CBEC on January 30 - Martyrs Day, will have an impact and will force them to review the decisions taken.

The response in Mumbai (in all the offices - from the city to the suburbs) was spontaneous. At a short notice, all the officers concerned, rose to the occasion, actively participated in the protest.

It is hoped that the All India body will take stock of today's protest and will chalk out the future course of action by taking all staff Associations including Inspector of Central Excise Federation  into confidence. It should be more methodical, so that it will be more forceful. Let us be UNITED in this...


Friday, January 27, 2017

Chicken Or Egg....


OAs 310/01237/2016, 310/01454/2015, 310/01536/2016 & MAs 781/2016, 889/2016, 878/2016, 880/2016, 890/2016, 897/2016, 923/2016
Dated 10/01/2017

The Operative Part of the order is as under:-

14.        Heard  both.    Perused the  materials placed on  record.  It is not  in dispute that  the applicants were recruited as Direct Recruit (DR) Inspectors and joined the department during the  year  1985  through an  examination  conducted by  the  SSC  for  the  vacancy position pertaining to the  year 1983.   It is also not  in dispute that  the  Hon'ble  Supreme Court in the case of N.R. Parmar had  helthat  the  Direct Recruits Seniority  would  commence from  the dat of  initiation  of  recruitment  process when  the  vacancies  were  notified   by  the  user department to  the  recruitment agency Now  the  grievance of  the  applicants is that  the respondent department had  not  revised the  seniority of the  applicants based on the  N. R. Parmar's case.  For which the official respondents would submit that as per the DOPT OM dt. 04.03.2014  the   principles  of  determination  of  inter  se seniority  of  Direct  Recruit   and Promotees would be effective from 27.11.2012, the date  of Supreme Court Judgment in N.R. Parmar case.

15.        On perusal it is seen that  the  para  5(h) of the  DoPT OM dt. 04.03.2014 clarifies the principles of  determination of  inter  se seniority of  Direct  Recruit  and  Promotees is only prospective from the date  of Supreme Court JudgmentBut challenging the provision of the DOPT  OM dt.  04.03.2014,  OA was filed  before the  CAT,  Mumba Benc in  OA 741  & 692/2013  wherein  this Tribunal vide order  dt. 06.05.2015 had  held that  the DOPT provision of prospective application of   Apex Court Judgment in N R Parmar case has to be ignored and   the   judicia principl enshrined  under   the   said  judgment  ought    t be   applied retrospectively.    It  is  clear   tha the  order  of  Mumba Bench  of  this  Tribunal  had  been accepted and  conceded by the  1st and  2nd  respondents before the  High Court, Mumbai  in WP No. 6784/2013 vide its order dt. 22.09.2014 and had also implemented it in Mumbai  and Goa Customs Commissionerates.    Now the grievance of the applicants is that  if their cases are not considered for adhoc promotion to the post of Assistant Commissioner on par with the similarly placed persons as per Judgment of Mumbai  Bench  of this Tribunal they would not  only be deprived  of their right of promotion but also their juniors will become senior to them.

16.        Under  such circumstances,  we  are  of  the  view  that   the  applicants  are  similarly situated persons as that  of the  applicants in OA 741  and  692  of 2013  of Mumbai  Bench  of this Tribunal  which  was confirmed by Mumbai  High Court The  mere  fact  that  they  were recruited before 1986 could not deprive them  of the applicability  of the 1986 OM of the DoPT. Had this been  the correct law, the applicants' senioirty would have been  fixed in terms of the 1959 OM which might have been  even more  beneficial to them Having applied  the 1986 OM for  fixing their  seniority  at  the  relevant  time,  the  respondents cannot now  argue  that  the 1986   OM as interpreted  by  the  Hon'ble  Apex  Court  would  have  no  applicabilit to  the applicants' case. Further, the respondents cannot be oblivious of the fact that such selective application of the ratio laid down by the Hon'ble Apex Court might make  a 1985 direct  recruit junior to a 1986  direct  recruit  which  cannot be  sustained by any logic  or reason.  We are, therefore of the view that  the relief sought by the applicants has to be granted.  Accordingly the  seniority list published by the  respondent department without  applying  the  N.R. Parmar ratio is quashed and the respondent department is directed to draft  a seniority list following the N.R. Parmar case and  also the order  in OA 741 and  692/2013 of Mumbai  Bench  of this Tribunal  which  was confirmed by Mumbai  High Court, by giving seniority to the  applicants from  the  date  of  initiation  of  recruitment process.  Also the  respondents are  directed to consider the names of the applicants strictly in accordance with such revised seniority in the ensuing  DPC.   Accordingly  all the  OAs  are  allowed.  MAs  878/2016,  880/2016,  890/2016, 897/2016, 923/2016 filed for vacating the stay are also closed.  No costs.

(R. RAMANUJAM)                                  (A. ARUMUGHASWAMY) Member (A)                10.01.2017              Member (J)