EDITORIAL POSTAL CRUSADER NOVEMBER-2017
EXISTENCE OF POSTAL DEPARTMENT AND POSTAL EMPLOYEES
WE HAVE TO RESIST IT AT ANY COST.
Government has unleashed an unexpected and most damaging attack on Post Office Small Savings Schemes. Notifications are already issued permitting all Nationalised Banks and three Private Banks (ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank) to accept deposits for all small savings schemes, viz: Recurring Deposit (RD), Time Deposits (TD), Monthly Income Scheme (MIS), Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSS) Sukanya ‘Samridhi Account (SSN), Kisan Vikas Patra (KVPs) and National Savings Certificate (NSC VIII issue) with effect from 10th October, 2017.
Small Savings Schemes are controlled by Finance Ministry and Postal Department is running it on agency basis. Finance Ministry is paying compensation to Department of Posts for various Small Savings Schemes related work. About 40% of the total yearly revenue of the Department of Posts comes from Small Savings Schemes. Permitting Banks including private banks to do small savings business means huge erosion in the revenue of Postal department. Even otherwise Postal department is running on heavy loss and the decision to outsource small savings business will further aggravate the deficit situation.
Out of total work load of the Post offices 50% workload relates to Savings Scheme work. In some Post offices even 70% of the work load relates to Savings Bank Branch. Not only the public directly coming to the Post Office counter for deposits and withdrawls, lakhs of MPKBY Agents and SAS Agents also canvas for various small savings schemes and contribute to the revenue and work load of Post Offices. Once the banks including private banks starts the Small Savings Business aggressively, the number of transactions in Post Offices will come down. This will result in reduction in the sanctioned posts for SB work and ultimately staff, especially clerical staff will become surplus.
Few years back, a committee appointed by Reserve Bank of India to study the functioning of Post office Small Savings Scheme, headed by Ms. Shymala Gopinath, then Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank, has recommended gradual phasing out of MPKBY/SAS Agents. The Committee has recommended to reduce the Commission paid to the Agents by 1% every year till it reaches 1% level from the present 4% commission. The commission to SAS Agents are also reduced. Due to the struggle and intervention of MPKBY/SAS Agents Associations and lefet parties Members of Parliament the commission is retained at 4% for MPKBY Agents. The present decision of the Government to outsource Small Savings Schemes to Banks will definitely affect the job security of MPKBY/SAS Agents also.
Wage revision orders of Central Govt. employees were issued on 25-07-2016. The demands raised by staff side to raise minimum pay and fitment formula is not yet considered favourably, even though Group of Ministers had given categorical assurance on 30-06-2016. Consequent on appointment of 7th Pay Commission, Government appointed a one man committee headed by Sri. Kamalesh Chandra, Retired Member (Personnel), Postal Services Board on 19-11-2015 to examine the wages and service conditions of about three lakhs Gramin Dak Sevaks working in the Postal Department. The Committee submitted its report to Government on 24-11-2016. Almost one year is over but the favourable recommendations of the GDS Committee are yet to be implemented. The file was sent to finance Ministry by Postal Board after approval of the Communications Minister. Queries after queries are being raised by Finance Ministry and the file is still pending clearance. 7th Central Pay Commission Report was submitted on19-11-2015 and it took eight months for implementation of pay revision. Seventh CPC report was in respect of more than one crore (100 lakhs) personnel including 32 lakhs Central Govt. employees, 33 lakhs Civilian pensioners and about 40 lakhs military personnel and pensioners. Regarding GDS, there are only about three lakhs employees. One year delay for implementation is quite unjustified and it shows the attitude of the Government to the most downtrodden section of employees.
Re-verification of membership under check off system was conducted for regular employees as per the CCS (RSA) Rules in the year 2015. Now two years are over, but result of the verification is withheld by the Government for reasons best known to it. GDS Membership Re-verification process was almost completed and recovery of subscription from pay in respect of Applicant Association/Unions commenced in the month of September 2017. Suddenly Department issued orders to stop the GDS Membership verification process. It is learnt that BPEDEU (BMS) which represents only 3 to 5% membership and not going to get recognition has filed a complaint and based on the complaint the GDS verification process was stopped by the Government.
The above happenings are not isolated. It is a prelude to bigger attacks that is going to come in the coming days. The job security of Postal employees, their wages and trade union rights are under attack. We have to resist it at any cost, just like we have resisted and defeated Govt’s move to amend Indian Post Office Act, Closure of 9797 Post offices, closure of 300 RMS offices, Mckinsey Consultancy’s recommendations and the TSR Subramanian Committee’s recommendations, for corporatisation and privatisation of Postal department.
NFPE has already given a call for countrywide demonstrations at all centres and infront of all offices on 23rd October, 2017.
Further, major demands raised in our 23rd August, 2017 strike charters of demands are also pending settlement. NFPE Federal Secretariat shall meet shortly and declare further agitational programmes.
NFPE and all its affiliated Unions/Associations calls upon the entirety of Postal and RMS employees including Gramin Dak Sevaks and Casual, Part-time Contingent employees to unitedly resist and defeat this onslaught on our life and livelihood.