Monday, February 21, 2011
CADRE RESTRUCTURING IN CBEC
Pune, the 20th February, 2011
TIME FOR INTROSPECTION- FOR ALL CONCERNED -
DO WE DESERVE ANYTHING BETTER?
While each and every member of the cadre is eagerly awaiting to know the outcome / status of the Cadre Restructuring Proposal, it is about time to take a look back at the sequence of events leading to date and the efforts / contributions put forth by the Association and its Members and the Department as a whole, in order to come to terms of the situation that we are forced to live with as on date. This post is just to put forth the bare /simple facts, so far as they have occurred, the evidence of which are available in the previous posts/ Messages of the Association.
For all practical purposes, the current cadre restructuring exercise began with the meeting held by the ADG, HRD with the recognized cadre Associations during the month of April, 2010. Neither the basis nor the roadmap of the proposed restructuring was put forth before the Associations and we were simply asked to put forth our legitimate aspirations. Though views/opinions/suggestions were called for from the Members and all the regional units of the Association, there were not many responses that came forward. Therefore, the leaders who met at Delhi for this purpose proposed, debated, deliberated and finalized a proposal addressing the majority of the issues affecting the cadre and submitted the same in person to the ADG, HRD, with a specific demand that the further consultations be held with the association before finalization of the proposals. Though all the leaders including the President had approved the said initial submissions, the President in his own wisdom took the extra-ordinary step of submitting another letter, in continuation to the original submissions made collectively. Unfortunately, this led the ADG, HRD to ignore the original proposals and confine the legitimate aspirations submitted by our President to be the actual submissions of the entire cadre. Be that as it may. Even after a lapse of six months nothing was made known to the Association, nor was there any meeting convened, due to which a couple of letters were submitted seeking appointments from the Chairman and the Member (P&V), to convey our grievances. Since these requests did not yield the desired results, it was felt that a Joint Forum with like minded Associations on Board would be able to bring the pressure on the Ministry/Board to give an audience to us. Thus a Joint Action Committee was formed, which you all are well aware of by now.
Soon after receipt of the first communication from the platform of Joint Action Committee, the Board became proactive and convened a meeting of all the Associations on the 10th of November, 2010. All the leaders requested to provide a copy of the proposal, in order to maintain transparency, which was not acceded initially. On putting across our grievances to the Hon’ble Revenue Secretary, he intervened and directed that a copy of the proposals be given to us and our concerns be addressed. Thereafter a copy of the Cadre Restructuring proposal was given to us with an understanding that the Associations are free to submit their grievances once again which will be examined and a considered decision would be taken after another round of consultation. Though all the leaders representing respective cadres were provided with the copy, it was not brought out in the open for obvious reasons. In order to make the members realize the magnitude of change that is likely to take place this Association had taken the lead to place the same in the public domain, with an aim to get as much response as one would expect. Unfortunately, this time too, no positive feedback/inputs were received from the Members/ Units especially from the affected cadres of Administrative Officers and the Deputy Office Superintendent.
Nevertheless, a revised proposal reiterating the original demands were submitted, which also included objections to those proposals that were against the long-term interest of the cadre. It was hoped that the Associations would be called for another round of discussion as was promised in the meeting held on 08.11.2010. After a disappointing wait it was decided that the JAC would submit another letter to the Board seeking an audience. In the meanwhile some of the leaders had met the Chairman on the 16th December, 2010, where again the proposals submitted were explained to him in detail. While doing so the learned comrades from Kolkatta Zone had submitted a separate proposal regarding the issues affecting their zone, which also included a proposal for formation of one more Commissionerate, in the present Cadre Review proposal. The Hon’ble Chairman agreed to look into all of them and assured the leaders that another meeting would be convened shortly.
Since nothing was heard again for a fortnight from the Board, the Joint Action Committee had sought an appointment with the Hon’ble Chairman based on which a meeting was again convened on the 18th January, 2011. When all the Leaders expected that a positive decision would emerge or at least some sort of ground work would have been made in the original draft proposal to accommodate the legitimate aspirations, it was an anti-climax to learn from the ADG, HRD’s presentation that nothing would change or can be changed except for a few cosmetic changes. However, it was by now clear that the demand for an additional commissionerate in Kolkatta zone was under consideration. Despite all this, the Association Leaders expressed their disappointment in the meeting with the Chairman, in reply to which another opportunity was provided for submitting a revised proposal till the 27th of Jan, 2011.
A revised proposal was submitted by the 27th of January, 2011, as directed by the Chairman which was to have been considered by the Board on the 3rd February, 2011. It was also decided by the Joint Action Committee on the 18th January, 2011 itself that if nothing positive emerges by the 3rd of February, 2011, a proposal charting out the agitation programme would be given to the Board so as to organize the first step of agitation on the 24th of February, 2011. Despite a clear agenda being set out and agreed upon, the leaders who were expected to take the lead have failed to take any initiative on this front, while everyone is awaiting with bated breath to know their fate. Eventually, the fate might have been already sealed by the Board, which may not be known to anyone, until it is approved by the Cabinet, or without a strong intervention or serious agitation. Let it be known to all concerned that any agitation will not succeed, unless it is wholehearted and has support from each and everyone of you. Also, the Cadre Restructuring proposal of CBDT has moved a long way and one of the prominent observation in the said proposal is that all the Staff Associations have endorsed their No Objection to the said proposal. In the previous Cadre Restructuring too, a “No Objection” was required to be obtained from the respective Staff Associations, which “NOC” was taken only on the 27th and 28th of January, 2002 i.e. much after the Cabinet nod on 16.07.2001.
Now, the question on everyone’s mind would be what next? This is not the time for me alone to decide as to what next? It is time for each and every one of you to ponder over as to what has been your contribution until now and suggest a way forward? The suggestion may even include allowing this stalemate to continue and wait to watch us being bulldozed by those who are having vested interests and who are not worried about the long term interests of the Ministerial Cadre. This is not meant to demean or bring down any individual or point fingers at some one, but this is one last attempt to awake those sleeping Tigers and Lions.
Finally, it is but obvious that incase the legitimate aspirations of the Ministerial Cadre is not given due cognizance in the forthcoming Cadre Restructuring, the day is not far when the officers in the Department would find themselves busy sorting out administrative problems put forth to them by the Ministerial officers who would be skeleton in size and more so with the knowledgeable officers waving goodbye to the Department owing to an insulting situation put forth in front of them, wherein junior officers would be drawing higher salary than the ones who have put in more than 30 years of service in the Department and awaiting recognition of their hard work and sincerity. Before concluding, I wish to mention the eye catching statement which surely would remain in the minds of the Departmental officers for years together.
“United we stand, Divided we fall. In such situations do not ignore Association’s call”.
However, the JAC which has been formed with the sole objective of taking care of the legitimate aspirations of the respective Cadres at the larger level has not been able to issue any call thereby meaning that the unity, even if prevailing, has no sense and would virtually lead to a conclusion that there would never ever be another Joint Action Committee in the Department as the same is being formed to suit the vested interest of some.
Awaiting some anxious and heated responses, I remain,