Central Government Employees knock door of Cabinet Secretary regarding Government decision on Festival Advance and LTC Encashment package

Immediately after the announcement of Finance Minister on 12/10/2020 about the Festival Advance and LTC Cash package for Central Government Employees, the Govt. employees organization expressed their unhappiness about the LTC Encashment package since it is not going to be beneficial for them, since they have to spend 2/3rd of the money whatever Govt. is giving from their purse. Moreover they are forced to purchase items which are levied more than 12% GST which they have to pay of their own. The first out burst came from the All India Defence Employees Federation, followed by other Central Govt. Employees Organisations. Now  the Apex Organisation of the Central Govt. Employees, the National Council(JCM) which consists of all the Recognised Central Govt. Employees Federations and Associations, has now taken up the matter with the Cabinet Secretary who is the Chairman of the National Council(JCM). Shiva Gopal Mishra, Secretary/Staffside of National Council(JCM) has now written to the Cabinet Secretary with copies endorsed to Expenditure Secretary and DOP&T Secretary conveying their demands on the above two issues and also about their pending demands.

www.indianpsu.com has obtained a copy of the Letter dtd. 14/10/2020 and the contents are given below for the benefit of our readers.

At  the outset  we  register  our  protest  and  unhappiness  about  the  announcement  the  above  mentioned  decisions  of  the Government  arbitrarily  without  any  discussion  with  the  Staff  Side  of  the  National Council (JCM).  Neither  we  were consulted  nor  any  discussion  has taken place  with the Staff Side  before  Government  taking  such  a major  policy  decision.  This  is  against  the  spirit  of  the  JCM  Scheme  itself  and  it  defeat  the  bilateral  consultation  process  and  the  norms  and  conventions  of  ILO  with regard  to  collective  bargain.

Festival Advance : 

After  the  Government  accepting  the  recommendations  of  the  7th CPC  scrapping  various  interest  free  advances including  festival  advance  available  to  Central Government  Employees  for  more  than  5  decades,  the Staff  Side  of  the  National Council (JCM)  represented  against  the  same  and  have  demanded  that  one  month  basic  pay  of  the  employee  may be  given  as  Festival Advance  to  be  recovered  in  10  Easy  installments.  The  demand  of  the Staff  Side  was not yet  considered  by  the  Government.  In this  situation  the  Government  has suddenly  taken  a  decision  that  an  amount  of  Rs. 10,000  as  a  package  will be paid  as  advance  to  the  Government  employees  and  that  the employees  will be  released  through  preloaded  Rupay  card  from SBI  and  that  this package  will be  available  for  any  important  festivals  upto  31-3-2021.  If  the  intention  of  the Government  is  to  enable  Government  servants to  meet  expenses  relating  to festivals  and  to  encourage  spending  to  boost  economic  activities then  it  cannot  be  restricted only  upto 31-3-2021.  Festivals  are  a  recurring  events  in  our  country. Therefore  the  restriction  of  31-3-2021  may be removed  and  festival  advance  may be  made  as  a permanent  interest  free advance  equal lent  to  one  month basic  pay available  to  the Central Government Employees  payable  once  in  10 months  without  imposing  any  conditions.

LTC Special Cash Package : 

In the  name  of  LTC  special package  according  to  the  Government order  dated  12-10-2020  one  has  to  spend  Rs.2,94,015  and  reimburse  Rs.1,34,015 in lieu  of  LTC. Moreover  one has  to  purchase  items /  avail  services  which  carry  minimum  12%  GST  and  the  purchase  has to  be  made  from  registered  vendor  through  digital  mode  and  obtained  the  voucher  indicating  the  GST  number  and GST  paid.  It  is  also mentioned  that  TDS  will be  recovered  from  the  LTC , Earned  leave  encashment.  This  is  not  at  all  an  attractive  scheme  and  in  the  present  situation  the  Central Government  Employees  are  not  so economically  sound  to  spend  2 /3rd from his  pocket  and  to  get  reimbursement  of  1/3rd  amount  spend  for  purchasing  items  with  12%  GST.  It  is  therefore  proposed  that  the  LTC  special  package  should  be  to  make  cash payment  equivalent  to his  /  her  eligibility  and  Leave  encash  amount  without  any  conditions  and  restrictions.  This may motivate  the  employees  to  avail  the  benefit  and  utilise  the  money  for  spending  /  purchase  of  items  required  for  him / her.  The  scheme  may be  simplified  to  avoid  unnecessary  complications  and  submission  of  documents  etc.,

You  are  aware  that  the  Government  employees  and pensioners  are  already  subjected  to  unnecessary  financial  hardship  due  to  the  decision  of  the Government  to  freeze  3  instalment  of  DA  due  to  them,  even  though  DA  is  not  a  ex gratia  or  a bounty.  DA  is  given  only to  compensate  the  price  rise  based  on  the  consumer  price  index.  The  Central Government  Employees  are  already  a  de moralised  lot  due  to  the  following  reasons:

1.    Corporatization  and  privatisation  of  Government  Departments,  thereby  changing  the  status  of  employees  who  are  recruited  as  Central Government  civilian employees  through  All India  Competitive  Examinations  under  the  various  constitutional  provisions.
2.    DA  Freeze  by the Government.
3.    Continuation of  NPS  in  which  no  minimum  pension  is  guarantee.
4.    Non settlement of  the  7th CPC  demands  which  was  agreed  to  be  considered  by  the  Group  of  Ministers in  2016.
5.    Non  implementation  of  Supreme  Court  Judgements  on  MACP  issues  and  Grant  of  Notional  increment  to  the  employees  who  are  retiring  on  last  working  day  of  June and  last  working  day  of  December  every year.
6.    Undue  delaying  revision  of  the insurance  and  saving  benefits  from  CGEIGS.
7.    Continuing  with  5%  ceiling limit  on compassionate  appointment.
8.    Non sanction of  quarantine leave  /  special  casual  leave  to  the  employees  who  are  tested  COVID-19  positive.
9.    Non  sanction of  special  casual  leave  due  to  non availability  of  public  transport  during  the  COVID-19  lock down period.
10.    Non  settlement  of  Departmental  related  demands  including  that  of  Railways  and  Defence.
11.    Non  functioning  of  the  JCM councils  both  at  National,  Departmental  and  Regional / 3rd  level  and  4th  level  councils.
12.    Arbitrary  abolition of  posts  .
13.    Non settlement  of  issues  discussed in  the  National Council (JCM ) Meeting  and  Standing committee  Meetings.
14.    Issues  related  to  Medical Treatment  of  employees  and  pensioners.
15.    Payment of NDA in 7th CPC  pay  scale  without  any  Basic  Pay  ceiling  limit.
16.    Implementation of 16 pending  Arbitration  Awards given by the  Board  of Arbitration  under  the  JCM  Scheme.

Sir,  it  is  responsibility  of  the Government  as  a model  employer  to  take  care  of  the  welfare  and  genuine  expectations  of  the  Central Government  Employees  who  are  working  day  and  night  even  in  the  worst  crisis period  of COVID-19  pandemic  spread.  If  the  Government of  a  welfare  state  fail  in  its  duty  then  it  will have  a  far  reaching implication  on  the  performance  of  the employees  which  will ultimately  reflect  on  the Governance  of  the  country  and  the  service  to  the people. Therefore  time  has  come  for  the  Government of  India  to  consider  all the  above mentioned  issues  raised  by the Staff Side  in  its  true  perspective  and  to take  remedial  action  in  the  interest of  the  country  and  its  citizens.

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