Wednesday, February 10, 2016

RUN / RUIN THE ADMINISTRATION...



                    Ref: CESA/03/2016
                    Date: 10-Feb-2016.
To,
The Hon’ble Chief Commissioner,
Central Excise,
Mumbai Zone-I.

Respected Sir, 
                              Sub:- Undue delay in Rotation, Transfer &        
                                        Repatriation of Officers – Reg.
With reference to the above, it is observed that the Orders are being issued but are not being fully implemented as some of the officers under orders-of-transfer are not being relieved on one-or-the-other pretext. To have fair rotations & transfers, a policy has been formulated but the same is not being followed in letter and spirit, which creates a lot of resentment amongst the officers posted to various formations and are waiting for their repatriation orders.
To be more precise, a skilled, experienced and knowledgeable officer never has to approach their Senior Officers for any postings. Automatically his work speaks for itself and he is utilized by the senior officers / Administration and becomes an asset to the Department. But nowadays, very often it happens that when there is a change in the leadership of an Organization, the new incumbent pulls in officers of his choice either from his earlier posting or officers known to him earlier. They perceive that they will not be able to perform with the current set of officers available under their command. They “indent” the officers and an informal request is made to make the known officers available. If this method does not work, then they themselves make every effort to get the said set of officers posted. Cadre Control office should not be a party to a syndicate who are keeping officers more than the prescribed tenure and allowing the same set of officers to serve in various grades even after promotions, decade after decade.
It is also observed that officers who are close to the previous senior officers are discarded by the new incumbents, even to the extent of shunting them out with false allegations, much to the detriment of the organization and its staff.
This amply shows that the service of these skilled officers are not utilized for the improvement in the performance of the organizations they are posted in, but for the senior officer’s own self-interests, whether it is DRI, DGCEI, ED, Settlement Commission, Commissioner(Appeals), Adjudications, etc.
Sir, the rosters are made for LTU, Pune and M&P. If the officers are not rotated in time, the very purpose of making the roster is defeated, and in the eyes of the officer, the presence of the Administration is not felt and all policies made are useless.
The tenure is fixed, the orders for rotation and repatriations are to be issued on time, without any delay & deviations.
As regards to DRI, DGCEI, ED, Settlement Commission, Vigilance, NACEN, etc., officers who have completed their deputations tenure (either 3 or 5 years + 2 years extension) or a loan posting 1 year, are to be repatriated immediately. No further extensions should be granted to them by obliging the individual senior officers, which sends a very wrong signal to the field formations.
It is earnestly requested that the Administration of the Cadre Control (Mumbai Zone) work be strengthened by making it an exclusive cadre controlling authority, like other zones in CBEC, and segregating the work of the Establishment section of Mumbai-I Commissionerate, like other Commissionerates. More staff also needs to be posted in the Confidential & Establishment section of CCO for this purpose so that necessary care is taken for each cadre under the Cadre Controlling Authority.
In view of the above, it is requested that the following actions be taken to make the CC office more effective & prompt in respect of staff welfare measures :-
(a)       Immediately issue the transfer & repatriation orders in respect of officers posted to M&P / Pune / LTU-Mumbai and ensure that officers under orders-of-transfer be relieved at the earliest.
(b)   A good number of officers are now being transferred from Mumbai Service Tax Zone to Pune / M&P, but no replacement officers are posted. Officers repatriated are posted back to their parent zones i.e., Zone-I or Zone-II. It is requested that the officers on the roster for ST of CX Zone-II should be posted to Mumbai Service Tax zone.
(c)  That orders for transfer on compassionate grounds are to be issued on priority basis and to ensure that the officer is relieved immediately, so that the relief intended is received.
(d)    The requests for transfer on medical grounds for self or because of illness in the family are to be considered on top priority.
(e)  Any representation received from officers is to be replied to appropriately, so that transparency & fairness in Administration will prevail.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely
A.K. SASMAL
General Secretary
 CC :
a)  The Hon’ble Chief Commissioner, Mumbai CX Zone-II
The Hon’ble Chief Commissioner, Mumbai Service Tax Zone.

Monday, February 8, 2016

TWISTS & TURNS IN MACP...


MACP situation across the country

In Chennai, 69 officers, who were deprived of the 3rd MACP upgradation to GP 6600, approached the Chennai CAT and prayed for the following Relief:

It is therefore prayed that this Hon’ble  Tribunal may be pleased to direct the respondents to grant 3rd MACP  to the applicants  by  fixing them in the Pay Band -3  in Rs.15600-39,100 /-  with Grade Pay  Rs.6600/- on completion of  30 years of service  in the light of the  directions given by Hon’ble High Court Madras in W.P.no.19024/2014  dated  8.12.2014  and the decision of the Department of  Personnel and Training communicated  by the Central Board of Excise and Customs, Department of Revenue, New Delhi dated  26.5.2015  with all consequential and  attendant benefits including  arrears  of  pay  and allowances and pass  such other order or orders as may be deemed fit and thus render justice.

The matter is high on board – date is fixed for 19-Feb-2016. Hoping for a favourable order.

Against the Shillong Cadre Controlling Authority, an officer approached the Guwahati CAT and got a favourable order against recovery, vide its order OA No. 040/00416/2014 dated 26-June-2015, which has observed the following :-

12.  In view of the foregoing discussions, the OA is allowed in terms of Hon’ble Madras High Court in the case of Shri R. Chandrasekaran (supra) which has already been settled by the above clarification of DOPT and Ministry of Finance, New Delhi. Consequently, the orders dated 25.10.2011 as well as 07.08.2013 and last pay certificate dated 24.11.2014 are set aside. No order as to costs.

Similar judgements from Calcutta CAT has been issued quashing the recovery proceedings.

IN THE BOARD OFFICE, THE SAID ISSUE IS PRESENTLY BEFORE THE MINISTRY OF EXPENDITURE. BOARD IS PURSUING DOPT FOR EARLY REPLY. DOPT HAS ONLY GIVEN THE BENEFITS TO PERSONS WHO HAVE APPROACHED THE CAT/COURT FOR CONTEMPT.

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Ameeting of the Promotee IRS Officers were held on 6-Feb-2016. On the issue of RRs as well as Mumbai CAT judgement and caveat filed by Board in the Mumbai High Court, was discussed. To safeguard the interests necessary preventive measures were discussed and shortlisted those that were to be adopted. About regularization of adhoc promotions and flaws in the promotion orders issued by the Board giving benefits to other stake holders was also discussed and a strategy was chalked out. The President of All India Inspector Association, Shri Anupam Neeraj, alongwith their officer bearers and also office bearers of CESA, Mumbai attended the said meeting. The issue of MACP was also raised. Solidarity to the agitational programme of Confederation against the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission and other issues was taken. It was also resolved to work unitedly with Inspectors & Superintendents towards staff welfare measures & career progression without any precondition or reservation.
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Friday, February 5, 2016

FROM THE DESK....


Mumbai-CAT to Principal-CAT, New Delhi

In Mumbai-CAT, OA No. 695/2015 on regional disparity was scheduled to be heard on 01-Feb-2016 but the same was adjourned to 04-Apr-2016.

i)             OA No. 588/2014, contesting the sanctioned strength position was scheduled to be heard on 02-Feb-2016, but due to non-availability of the Bench, the same was adjourned to 22-Feb-2016.

ii)            Three OAs filed by Promotee IRS officers against holding of Review DPC was scheduled high on board but due to non-availability of the Bench, the same was adjourned to 22-Feb-2016

iii)          OA No. 633/2015, on 3rd MACP filed by Shri Ratnaparkhe & Others, was adjourned to 14-Mar-2016.

Three OAs on the implementation of the Parmar SC judgement, is scheduled to be heard on 22-Feb-2016.

Holding of Review DPC

As you are aware, the Board has filed an application in the Principal-CAT, New Delhi to transfer all the OAs from the respective CAT benches to the Principal CAT, New Delhi. In the case of three OAs filed in Mumbai-CAT, all these are listed as high on board but due to non-availability of the Bench, the same was adjourned to 22-Feb-2016.

In Principal-CAT, on transfer, the applicants contested against the transfer as their case is in final stage in Mumbai. Matter is being heard today. Argument has taken place. Shri Brahmakshatri and his Counsel from Mumbai appeared & impressed upon the Bench citing the detailed position of Mumbai CAT and opposed the transfer. However, the Departmental Counsel requested for passover, as he was not ready to present the matter. When the Passover turn came and the Bench called the number, the Departmental Counsel was not present. Hence, the matter is adjourned to 19-Feb-2016.

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A meeting of all the IRS Promotee officers is scheduled to held in Mumbai on 06-Feb-2016 and the delegates from all over India is likely to participate. The main agenda points for deliberations are as follows :-

a)   To chalk out the strategy on CAT’s decision on RRs

b)   About the pros & cons of regularization of adhoc promotions.

c)   Recovery proceedings for those who have been granted 3rd MACP in GP Rs.6600/- etc.

Delegates of CESA, Mumbai will also participate in the meeting. Delegates of Inspector Assc., Mumbai, will also join the deliberations.


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Thursday, February 4, 2016

TAX REFORMS.... OR A FARCE...


TIOL - COB( WEB) - 486
FEBRUARY 04, 2016 



By Shailendra Kumar, Editor

AFTER almost 22 months since the First Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) Report was submitted to the Union Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, the North Block babudom sprang two surprises last Tuesday. Even if we count it from the last Budget Day when Mr Arun Jaitley in his Budget Speech (Para 117) stated that the TARC recommendations were in advanced stage of examination, it took more than 11 months for him to design the latest 'surprises'. I am sure it may have failed to surprise many tax administration analysts as they may not see any foresighted element of organisational reform in it but this was perhaps the only easy leeway for Mr Jaitley to ward off 'inhouse as well as outside' pressure demanding implementation of the TARC recommendations.

What were the key recommendations? - a) Abolition of the post of Revenue Secretary and 2) Creation of Governing Council; Tax Council and Tax Policy & Analysis Unit.

While talking about the position of the Revenue Secretary who holds the numero uno position in the Department of Revenue, the TARC Report observed, "... he is likely to have little experience or background in tax administration at the national level and little familiarity with tax, including international tax, issues that are increasingly taking centre stage in emerging global challenges in taxation. Yet he is the final signatory on decisions on tax policy and administration matters prior to their arrival for the Finance Minister’s consideration." The Report further notes, "... this is not the first time that a government committee has found that the post of Revenue Secretary is superfluous. It was considered by the Tax Reforms Committee, 1992, chaired by Prof. Raja J. Chelliah ..."

The TARC Report further underlines that the post of Revenue Secretary does not merit presence in a modern tax administration. Instead, a Governing Council should be introduced with the chairs of the Boards alternating as its chairperson. In this manner, the TARC adds to the tenor of the Chelliah Committee in that India should benchmark itself with modernizing tax administrations by not only removing the position of Revenue Secretary but by replacing it with a Governing Council that should include members from the non-government sector as well. The Report notes that Governing Council will oversee the functioning of the two Boards and approve broad strategies to be adopted by the tax administration to fulfill the objective of a more coordinated approach to the administration of the two taxes – direct and indirect – and create a structure which is independent. Such a coordinated approach also improves the focus of the tax administration towards its customers or taxpayers.

How scornfully both the recommendations of the TARC were treated by the Government can be seen from the contours of the two 'surprises'. The PIB Release states that considering the TARC recommendations, the Government has created a Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU) and a Tax Policy Council (TPC). First, there is no notification or Office Order or Office Memo in this regard in the public domain. The only document available for reference is the PIB Press Release. Secondly, why were the key recommendations not accepted by the Government is not yet known. If there is a valid or legitimate reason for rejection of TARC key recommendations the social media-friendly Government should share it. The Nation has a right to know why the PMO or the North Block moved miles away from the key recommendations?

While showing contempt to the first recommendation of the Shome Panel, the Government has created a Tax Policy Research Unit under the tutelage of the Revenue Secretary. Strange, strange & strange!! If the Government is so logically convinced that the post of Revenue Secretary held by a generalist is so indispensable to our present system where was the need to set up a Reform Commission? Even if it was set up by the previous Government, it was a commission of domain experts whose observations did merit proper and reasoned rejection.

Going by the configuration of the new hybrid apparatus it smacks of perpetuation of 'extreme administrative feudalism' being practised by one particular Service in the Government of India. At a time when the global trend is to move towards specialists in every minute domain, the NDA Government continues to rest on the shoulders of the generalist Service which evidently believes in 'territorial expansionism' rather than allowing the specialists to operate in their own technical domains. It is shocking that this is how a modern Government intends to run modern tax administration in India. Ideally, in today's time, every Government should reduce the space given to generalists and involve more and more of specialists. No doubt, the generalists have a role to play but certainly not in the domain of technicalities.

As per the Press Release, the TPRU shall comprise of officers from both the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) as well as economists, statisticians, operational researchers & legal experts. Member (L&V), CBDT and Member (Budget), CBEC will be the link officer between TPRU and CBDT and CBEC. The unit will be headed by an officer of the level of Chief Commissioner at functional level alternatively from CBDT and CBEC for a fixed tenure, who will directly report to Revenue Secretary. Here, both the Chairmen have clearly been bypassed. From this information it can be seemingly inferred that the Government has not dismantled or merged the existing TRU and TPL in the new apparatus. The TPRU is the new body which will do research and analysis independently. Certain issues of research might be referred to it by both the Boards and its findings will enable the Revenue Secretary and the Finance Minister to have a holistic picture of the tax world.

The fact that even both the Revenue Boards are often seen struggling to find willing officers to work with them, where will the TPRU find 20 officers for its research-oriented activities? Secondly, will the Government be able to hire economists & other professionals at the market rate? If yes, can the Government discriminate between its own full-time employees and those on contract? Although nothing concrete can be said at this stage but my fear is that such a body may not last for long and may fall in disuse if it fails to provide meaningful research. In such a scenario, it may be reduced to a status where it becomes a haven for desperate deputationists looking for a slot in Delhi for their personal reasons rather than organisational interests. There are too many such Directorates in the Government today which qualify as 'placid' entities.

Let's now take a look at the Tax Policy Council. The TPC will look at all the research findings coming from Tax Policy Research (TPRU) Unit and suggest broad policy measures for taxation. The Council will be advisory in nature, which will help the Government in identifying key policy decisions for taxation. This Council has FIVE generalist Secretaries to the Govt of India. And both the heads of the Revenue Boards who could actually contribute to the deliberations on technical issues are going to be SPECIAL INVITEES!! The topic of discussion at every meeting of the TPC headed by the Finance Minister would be taxation but without a tax policy expert.

In this backdrop, it may be pertinent to recall how one particular Revenue Service was recently singled out for public humiliation by none other than the Prime Minister himself! While chairing his ninth interaction through PRAGATI — the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation, the PM is believed to have told the Chairman of the Revenue Board that there are too many complaints against his officers and the 'chhavi' (image) of his Department is not good. The PM may be right in his observation but this does not call for public humiliation of an institutionalised service which is serving the cause of the Exchequer for several decades. There is no Government Department or a Service whose members have not been arrested on corruption charges? If one goes by the latest data of the Directorate of Public Grievances, the maximum complaints have been lodged against the EPFO, Railways, Telecommunication, Banking & Insurance. Does it mean that all the officers in these sectors are equally corrupt and their 'chhavi' is bad? If it is so, does it not amount to failure of the Government which cannot abdicate its public accountability by merely humiliating heads of one or two Services?

Going by the growing consolidation of administrative space by the one particular All India Service in the NDA Government it may appear to many Govt watchers that a subtle conspiracy is being hatched against specialist services and that is how the top layer in the Government has been publicly assailing its own technical arms and increasingly leaning on generalists to rule or ruin the country. Let's hope it is not true and the Government takes immediate corrective measures to alter the growing public perception about the ruthless consolidation of administrative space by one particular All India Service. But, if it is true, the trade and industry should be gearing up to witness even the proposed GST system being implemented by the generalists !!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL AWARD WINNERS...


     On the occasion of the 67th Republic Day celebrations, CESA, Mumbai, congratulates all the officers from the Department who have been awarded the distinguished President’s Appreciation Certificate for –“Specially distinguished record of service” for the year 2016.

In all, around 34 officers, from Principal ADG to Sr. PS have been awarded the President's Appreciation Certificate. 

The names of the officers from Mumbai are as follows :-

1. Shri. Hitesh Ajit Shah, Commissioner (Authorised Representative), CESTAT, Mumbai

2. Shri. Mahendra Pratap Singh Sengar, Assistant Commissioner, Central Excise, Mumbai

3. Shri. Ganesh Ray, Senior Intelligence Officer, DRI, Zonal Unit, Mumbai

4. Shri. P. A. Vincent, Superintendent, Large Taxpayer Unit (LTU), Mumbai

5. Shri. Iyer Ganapathi Raman V., Preventive Officer, RMD, Mumbai

    CESA, Mumbai, congratulates Shri. Vinay Kumar Singh, Additional Director, DG HRD, New Delhi, who has earlier served in Mumbai as ADC in Central Excise Mumbai Zone-I and also as DC in DRI, Zonal Unit, Mumbai.

    CESA, Mumbai, also congratulates Shri. Prashant S. Kaduskar, Additional Commissioner, Central Excise, Vadodara, who has earlier served in Mumbai as ADC in CSI Airport & later on in Central Excise Raigad Commissionerate.


I am sure that this award will go a long way in motivating all our colleagues & brother officers to achieve higher milestones for the Department.

JAI HIND !!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

GIST OF MUMBAI-CAT JUDGEMENT DATED 22-JAN-2016...



The Mumbai-CAT’s judgement on the Notification of draft Grp-A RRs was issued on 22-Jan-2016, and gist of the order is as given below :-


CAT is convinced that, in the context of modification of Grp-A RRs, the consultation with UPSC is mandatory and their role is still incomplete, in the light of the Hand Book of 2013 as per paras 3.2.5 to 3.2.7.  Also, in view of the Ministry of Finance’s request to “reconsider”, vide their letter dated 22.12.2015, clearly shows that the matter is now pending with the UPSC for its re-consideration.

Moreover, it is evident that the consultation with the UPSC is an ongoing process and cannot be deemed to have concluded. Hence, it would be premature to subject this matter to judicial review by this Tribunal, until the consultation process reaches a logical conclusion in the eyes of the Government itself, after taking due note of all the views. Hence this Tribunal is unwilling to enter into an arena where angels fear to tread. This Tribunal is not inclined to subject this matter for judicial review at this juncture and sub-plant the mandated Constitutional roles assigned to the UPSC, by prematurely adjudicating this OA.

In view of the above, this OA is disposed of with a direction to Respondents-1 to Respondents-3 to decide or obtain the decision of the Competent Authority, as need be, to resolve all the issues in this controversy, in accordance with law, within a period of four months from the date of receipt of certified copy of the order. We have not gone into merits of the case.

The applicants are at liberty to approach this Tribunal in case they are aggrieved by any of the decisions taken in this matter by the Competent Authority in Government.

Accordingly, OA is disposed of. No order as to costs.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

FOAM ON THE SEA-SHORE....



     Agitation, haste and restlessness lead nowhere. It is like foam on the sea-shore. Normally, an individual has an impression that if they are not running around all the time or bursting into feverish activity, then they are doing nothing. Whatever has been done in the world has been achieved by a few who were able to stand outside the scene of action, in silence and they became the instruments of revolution.

     With consistent approach and utter transparency, CESA, Mumbai, with their active participation, brings the day to day happenings of our cadre, without any fear or favour.

     The copy of the Mumbai-CAT’s order pronounced yesterday is not yet received. The same is awaited.

      In Mumbai-CAT, the issue of holding of Review DPC for reservation, came up for hearing today. A group of officers, who had earlier filed a Misc. Application to be included in the proceedings as intervenors, withdrew their application unconditionally. The Departmental Panel Counsel insisted for final hearing and the Bench posted the matter for 02-Feb-2016 and the interim stay order to continue.

     Delegations of Supdt.’s Association, IRS(IDT) Officers Association, Grp-A Direct Recruits’ Association met the Chairman, CBEC, during his Mumbai visit and was appraised of all the pending issues, which he promised to examine & urged all the associations to have patience till a final decision is taken at the earliest. A meeting with the Board officials is expected within a week’s time for early resolution of the pending issues.

      CESA, Mumbai, is thankful to the local Administration for their positive co-operation in all matters including sorting out service related matters of the officers.

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