Sunday, 31 December 2017

Wish you & your family a happy, healthy, peaceful, purposeful, successful, safe, energetic and productive New Year.

May this new year bring many opportunities your way, to explore every joy of life and may your resolutions for the days ahead stay firm, turning all your dreams into reality and all your efforts into great achievements.

May this New Year give the courage to triumph over your vices and embrace the virtues.
May you get succeed in the year 2018 and achieve all your goals you have set.

May you stand up for your own rights this New Year and also the rights of fellow human beings,may nothing stop you from championing a cause that you hold close to your heart.

May you get everything you want in the New Year and overcome your difficulties of the past year.

This new year take a plunge into the ocean of hope and optimism and free yourself from all your grudges,sadness.

As this year is ending,I wish all the negativity and difficulties also end with this year and 2018 bring success and desired results for us.

आप सभी को नववर्ष की हार्दिक शुभकामनाये
नया साल आपके लिये मंगलमय हो !!

గతమంతా గుణపాఠాల నిధి, నూతన సంవత్సరం కొత్త ప్రణాళికలకు పునాది
ఈ నూతన సంవత్సరంలో
మీ ఆశలు, ఆశయాలు నెరవేరాలని;
సంతోషాలు, సంబరాలు మీ ముంగిట నిలవాలని;
బంధాలు, అనుబంధాలు పెంపొందాలని
మనస్ఫూర్తిగా కోరుకుంటూ...
మీకూ, మీ కుటుంబ సభ్యులకు నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు.
ప్రకృతిని ప్రేమిద్దాం, పర్యావరణాన్ని పరిరక్షిద్దాం.

All India DRDO Technical Officers' Association (AIDTOA)
Affiliated to Confederation of Central Government Gazetted Officers' Organisations (CCGGOO)

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Right to peaceful protest is a constitutional right and right to assemble and demonstrate by holding dharnas is the basic features of an effective democratic system.

                       Article 19 of the Indian Constitution is one of the most important article constituting the “basic freedoms” guaranteed to every citizen of India.  Article 19(1) provides that all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, associations, movement, residence and practicing any trade, business, occupation or profession.  Article 19(1)(b) guarantees to all citizens of India, rights to “assemble peacefully and without arms”.  This right includes the right to hold meetings and take out processions.  Of course, assembly must be peaceful, harmonious,unarmed and not threatening the safety of the people. Reasonable restrictions can be imposed under clause(3) of Article 19.
                   The right to assembly embodies the very idea of a democratic system.  Article 19 (1)(b) thus includes the right to hold meetings and to take out  processions.  It has been reviewed, studied and interpreted numerous times by the Supreme Court.  In its judgments Supreme Court has upheld the right to peaceful protest as a constitutional right and the right to assemble and demonstrate by holding dharnas is the basic feature of democratic system.  People in a democracy have a right to raise their voices against the decisions and unreasonable actions of the Government or to express their opinion in any subject of national importance.  The Government is obliged to respect and encourage the exercise of such rights.

                   This being the position, the political powers have resorted to the use of authoritation powers to stop the Central Government employees and Officers from exercising their constitutional right of conducting peaceful dharnas and demonstrations.

If it weren’t for the Union

Our union’s story is there to be seen,
We’ve won many victories and we’ve suffered defeats,
But as I turn through the pages and look back through time,
There’s one single question stands out in my mind -
Today we may prosper, today we live free,
But if it weren’t for the union, where would we be?

From it’s humble beginnings our union has grown,
So no working person need struggle alone.
But no gain that’s been made has been made without cost,
And together we’ll see that no gain’s ever lost;
Take a look at those countries where workers aren’t free-
If it weren’t for the union, where would we be?

Would you choose to go back, working twelve hours a day,
Would you choose to toil more and a pittance be paid?
Will you stand in the union against the new right,
or do you think on your own you can withstand their might?
The answer is written in our history,
If it weren’t for the union, where would we be?

They say we’ve got problems, and the unions they blame,
Well, Franco and Pinochet they said the same.
If our union they weaken, if our union they break,
Then where’s our defence from becoming enslaved?
So would you choose bondage above liberty?
And if it weren’t for the union, where would we be?

It’s our union, our union that defends our rights,
But our union is as strong as our will is to fight,
For the union is you and the union is me,
So stand up and stand by our union.
                                                 - Peter Hicks and Geoff Francis.


                Seventh Central Pay Commission Chairman, Justice (Retired) Ashok Kumar Mathur in his foreword to 7th CPC Report has quoted the following lines in the case of Bhupendra Nath Hazarika and another Versus State of Assam & others wherein the Supreme Court of India has observed as follows:
                   “It should always be borne in mind that legitimate aspirations of the employees are not guillotined and a situation is not created where hopes end in despair.  Hope for every one is gloriously precious and that a model employer should not convert it to be deceitful and treacherous.....  A sense of calm sensibility and concerned sincerity should be reflected at every step.  An atmosphere of trust has to prevail and when the employees are absolutely sure that their trust shall not be betrayed and they shall be treated with dignified fairness, then only the concept of good governance can be concretized.  We say no more.”
                   We don’t know whether the powers-that-be at the helm of affairs of the Central Government has ever read the above observations of the Apex Court quoted by 7th CPC.  Fact remains - the Government has guillotined the legitimate aspirations of the Central Government employees and pensioners and created a situation wherein their gloriously precious hopes ended in despair.  The Government converted their hopes to be deceitful and treacherous.  The stand taken by the Government is devoid of calm sensibility and concerned sincerity.  Trust of the 32 lakhs employees and 33 lakhs pensioners is betrayed and their expectations of fair treatment from Government has been proved wrong.
Who gave the hopes and who betrayed:
                   In the wake of indefinite strike call given by National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) of Central Govt. Employees & Confederation of Central Government Gazetted Officers Organisations (CCGGOO) from 11th July 2016, in the crucial meeting held in the night of 30th June 2016, solemn assurance was given by none other than the topmost Cabinet Ministers Sri. Rajnath Singh, Home Minister, Sri. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister and Shri. Suresh Prabhu, then Railway Minister.  It was told that Hon’ble Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modiji has directed the group of Ministers to hold discussion with NJCA leaders.  Group of Ministers gave categorical assurance that minimum pay and fitment formula will be increased and for that purpose a High Level Committee will be constituted.  Again on 6th July 2016 Sri. Rajnath Singh, Home Minister, reiterated the assurance and Finance Ministry issued a press statement confirming the assurance. Leaders and employees trusted the words of the Senior Cabinet Ministers.  Eighteen (18) months are over.  No High Level Committee is constituted.  No hike in minimum pay and fitment formula is granted.
Delaying tactics and then denial:
                   From the very begining of coming to power, the Govt. has adopted a tactics of “delay and then deny” the legitimate aspirations of the Central Govt. Employees,Officers and Pensioners.  Pay Commission was granted four months extension.  Empowered Committee took seven months and pay scales were implemented without any change after seven months delay from the date of submission of 7th CPC report. Allowance Committee took one year and finally arrears of HRA and other allowances for eighteen months are denied.  Pension Option-I Committee was appointed to deny the one and the only favourable recommendations of the 7th CPC for Pensioners.  NPS Committee made it clear that withdrawl of NPS or guaranteeing minimum pension (50% of the last pay drawn) are not under its purview.  Anomaly Committee informed the JCM Staff side that 80% of the items submitted by staff side including increase in minimum pay and fitment formula will not constitute an anomaly and hence will not come under the purview of the Anomaly Committee.  Regarding implementation of the positive recommendations of Kamalesh Chandra Committee on Gramin Dak Sevaks (GDS) also almost eleven (11) months are over after the submission of the report to Govt. on 24-11-2016.  The brutal exploitation of casual and contract workers is increasing day by day.  Eventhough Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) is not regular promotion, instead of seniority-cum-fitness, Government imposed more stringent conditions to deny the promotions to thousands of employees.
Wage, Job, Social Security and Trade Union rights under attack:
                   Not only the legitimate pay and allowances of the Central Govt. employees are denied, their job security is also under attack due to the neo-liberal policies pursued aggressively by the Government. Many works done by Railway Employees are outsourced and privatised and now leasing out of Railway stations and Railway Land to private corporates under PPP model is under progress. Decision has been taken by Government to outsource and privatise Defence production and related activities like Research, Maintenance and services etc. and to permit 100% FDI in Defence industry.  200 products being manufactured by the Ordnance factories are ordered to be handed over to private corporates.  Small Savings Schemes which was the monopoly of the Postal Department is outsourced to private banks and orders for outsourcing of booking and delivery of registered and speed post article is also issued.  Out of 17 Govt. of India Printing Presses, 12 presses are ordered to be closed as per Cabinet decision.  Many other small departments are also facing the attack of outsourcing, privatisation and closure.
                   Orders are issued by Govt. threatening serious disciplinary action against employees who participate in dharnas, demonstrations and strikes.  JCM National Council meeting was not held for the last seven years.  Most of the Departmental Councils are not functioning. Chief Executives of recognised Associations are harassed and vindictively transferred and recognition and trade union facilities to the Associations are withdrawn.  Results of the membership verification under the Recognition Rules are not being declared and even verification process under check-off system is stopped half-way.
                   NPS has become “No-Pension System” as many of the employees who retired after 10 to 12 years are getting monthly annuity pension (from  Insurance Company) less than Rs.2,000/- only whereas the minimum pension for 10 years service under the old pension scheme is now Rs.9,000/-.  Government is not ready to heed the demand of the staff side to withdraw Contributory Pension Scheme and guarantee minimum pension (50% of the last pay drawn) to all under Contributory Pension Scheme.  The observations of the 7th CPC that - “almost the whole lot of Government employees appointed on or after 01-01-2004 are unhappy with the New Pension System.  Government should take a call and look into their grievances”remains in paper.  Thus the social security of the employees is facing greatest threat from Government.
‘Tough time never last, but tough people do’
                   No doubt the entire working class along with Central Government employees are passing through a tough period.  Their life and livelihood are under attack.  And at the same time resistance movement against the policy offensives are gaining momentum.  Entire Trade Unions has organised three days “Maha Dharna” at New Delhi in which lakhs of workers participated.  Central Government employees under the banner of Confederation conducted series of agitational programmes like Parliament March, One day strike, Mass dharna in front of Finance Minister’s Office, Human Chain, Burning of HRA Orders, District level dharnas, State level dharnas etc. demanding settlement of  21 point charter of demands submitted  to Government.  Coming days will witness more sectoral struggles and joint struggles leading to indefinite strike.
No alternative for struggle:
                   Thus the struggles of the Working Class which was hitherto defensive in nature, is becoming more and more offensive.  We have to intensify our struggle during 2018 for our survival.  Let us remember and tell our friends in the Central Govt. Employees & Officers movement who are waiting peacefully and endessly hoping for justice from NDA Government -
                   “Organise if you want real living wages, organise if you want to have your working hours reduced, organise if you desire better treatment from your superior officers, organise if you want that the authorities should consult and consider your opinion on all administrative measures affecting you. Petitions, memorandums and supplications will count for nothing, so long as you do not organise yourselves in a manner to convice the Government that you will no longer stand nonsense.”
                   Let us march forward with full commitment and determination. 
      Ultimate victory shall be ours.- Courtesy: M. Krishnan,Secretary General, CCGEW

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Remove clause in FRDI Bill that has created panic among bank depositors.

All India DRDO Technical Officers' Association (AIDTOA) demands that Government's assurance that depositors' interest in case of a bank going down under would be fully protected should be clearly and unambiguously spelt out in the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill and a clause that seeks to treat depositors as other creditors and shareholders for bail - in must be removed.
The panic among the bank depositors has arisen largely due to "bail - in" provisions in the FRDI Bill, something being tried for the first time in Indian financial markets. The intention seems to be that let the shareholders and other stake holders, which include even the depositors (above the limit of insured amount) be responsible for saving a financial entity.

The government's assurance notwithstanding, sub - section 7 of Section 52 of the proposed law clearly says that the ''bail-in'', to which depositors have strong objection to, shall not be applicable to deposits to the extent only covered by insurance. As of now, the deposits are covered only up to Rs 1 lakh, which is a measly sum for millions of middle class families which have kept their life time savings in bank deposits.

The sub-section 7 of section 52 reads as follows: " The bail-in instrument or scheme under this section shall not affect— (a) any liability owed by a specified service provider to the depositors to the extent such deposits are covered by deposit insurance;".

In the Indian context, the concept of ''bail in '' especially by depositors should be completely done away with and their monies in the banks have to be protected at any cost. "Otherwise, the trust in the banking system runs the risk of being eroded and the savings by the households would find way into unproductive avenues like real estate, gold, jewellery and even in the unorganised and informal financial markets run by unscrupulous people.

Middle class families and especially those the pensioners, other old aged people have no social security and the bank deposits are the only financial security out of their life time savings. In any case, the rising cost of health, which is mostly available in the private sector, is hurting this class. Any move of ''bail - in " must be avoided.

The FRDI Bill lists those to be protected, in the event of a bank being in a critical condition, in order of priority; and uninsured depositors come fifth in this list. Even in their case, no doubt, the government claims that they would not lose their deposit value; rather their deposits would be converted into equity. In other words, bank are supposed to recapitalise themselves, when they are in a critical condition, by using depositors’ funds under this Bill, rather than by using budgetary resources as now. But this, apart from being of little consolation to depositors, provides a surreptitious route to privatisation of public sector banks.

It is of little consolation to depositors, because the value of such equity will fall precisely when the bank is in such a critical state that deposits have to be converted into equity; the depositors therefore will lose much of their wealth anyway. Additionally, they are likely to sell off this equity to private corporate entities to get back at least a part of their money, and this will mean a privatisation of public sector banks. A bunch of government nominees on the Resolution Corporation in other words can so orchestrate a public sector bank’s financial credibility that it can pass into private hands, and even into private corporate hands at throwaway prices, without the parliament coming into the picture at all, and entirely at the whim of the executive.

Money in both its forms, currency and bank deposits, is now no longer going to be considered a safe asset to hold. Since the FRDI Bill also covers State-owned insurance and other financial companies, their liabilities too, like bank deposits, would lose their attractiveness for numerous small wealth-holders. In an economy in which people’s confidence in money and these other financial assets is sapped, assets like gold or land or physical commodities become the favoured forms of wealth-holding, because they are considered comparatively “safe”. A shift from money to these latter assets constitutes a retrogression in economic terms.

Currently all deposits upto Rs 1 lakh are insured by banks themselves, so that there is no risk of loss to these depositors in the event of a bank failure. The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India, which covers such depositors is proposed henceforth to be wound up; and no other institution has been suggested in its place in the bill.

More importantly, however, it is not just the existence of this Corporation that instilled confidence among depositors about the safety of their deposits with the nationalised banks; it was the fact that the banks were government-owned, the conviction that the government would never let these banks fail. It is this confidence which made millions of depositors, especially pensioners and senior citizens, hold their wealth in the form of bank deposits, even though such deposits offered comparatively lower rates of return than shares, mutual funds and many other assets. This confidence will now disappear.

To present a bill in parliament that is sought to be justified by a presumed conflict of interest between the “tax payer” and the “depositor” which can only arise in an eventuality that is nowhere on the horizon, and that can be prevented from arising anyway if we are careful, is not just absurd; it is actually quite mischievous.

It is ironical that the government, instead of announcing measures whereby the corporate defaulters on bank loans, who reportedly account for 75 per cent of total NPAs, are made to pay for their misappropriation of depositors’ resources, is announcing measures whereby the depositors would be made to pay for such corporate misappropriation! This is a blatant attack on crores of common depositors who save their lifelong earnings in bank deposits. This only helps the banks and the financial institutions to recoup their health at the expense of the depositors. While these banks have given humongous loans to the corporates which are not being returned, the consequent loss to the banks is sought to be made up through savings of crores of depositors.

 FRDI Bill 2017 proposes a bail-in provision.  In effect, this is as simple as forcing the depositors to absorb the losses of the bank. Pensioners and other small depositors who have kept their hard-earned savings will be forced to pay for the corporate delinquency and cronyism of the government which often forces the banks to go easy on big corporate debtors.  What is most cruel that once the RC decides on such bail-ins, the depositors will not even be in the knowledge, let alone consenting!

This is not fictional. In Cyprus, under similar conditions depositors had to bear 47.5 per cent of the uncovered amount in reality.

From Vijay Mallya to Anil Ambani, from Lalit Modi to Gautam Adani – we are all witness to the obnoxious episodes which have brought out the reality behind the rhetoric of ‘crusade against corruption’.   The promised Rs 15 lakh never materialised; but now hard-earned savings of Rs 15 lakhs which was secured in PSBs’ custody to be withdrawn for a daughter’s marriage or a son’s higher education, may actually turn out to be Rs 1 lakh! This is only what FRDI Bill proposes.  Could irony be crueler?