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Railway Minister has written a do letter to Finance Minister for abolishing NPS

Railway Minister has written a do letter to Finance Minister for abolishing NPS
Posted: 23 Apr 2014 06:57 PM PDT
Railway Minister has written a do letter to Finance Minister for abolishing New Pension System - AIRF & NFIR


No. 2012/F(E)III/1/4-Part
29 MAR 2014
Dear Shri P. Chidambaram ji,
Through this letter, I wish to draw your attention to a long standing demand raised by both Staff Federations of Railways on National Pension Scheme (NPS) for employees of Indian Railways. The Federations have been expressing resentment over operation in the Railways of the National Pension Scheme, which is perceived as a lower social security cover for Railway employees. Their contention is that there are enough grounds for Railway employees to be treated differently from other civil employees of the Government, and that Indian Railways should operate the traditional defined benefit pension scheme available to pre-01-01-2004 appointees.

You will recall that a few organizations/categories of Government employees were specifically exempted from the purview of NPS on consideration of special, riskier and more onerous nature of duties. The Federations have been drawing parallel with of nature of duties performed by most categories of Railway employees with those in the Armed Forces. They contend that during British period, Railways was conceived and operated as an auxiliary wing of the Army. It was also realized that by virtue of its complex nature, Railways required a high level of discipline and efficiency to be able to perform its role as the prime transport mode. Railways is an operational organization required to be run round the clock through the year. Railway employees have to work in inhospitable conditions, braving extreme weather, unfriendly law and order scenario, and inherent risks associated with the Railway operations itself. As in the Armed Forces, many have to stay away from their families for long periods while performing duties in areas where adequate facilities are lacking.

I feel that there is considerable merit in the contention of the Staff Federations. Besides the critical and complex nature of duties of Railway employees, the hazards involved are also high. Despite best efforts for enhanced safety measures, a large number of Railway employees lose their lives or meet with serious injuries in the course of performance of their duties each year.

During the period 2007-08 to October 2011, the number of Railway employees killed during the course of their duty has been more than number of passengers/other members of public killed in Rail related accidents including accidents at unmanned level crossings. While the nature of duties of Railway employees is inherently high risk during peace time, they also perform functions of critical importance during war time and times of natural calamities, in moving men and materials across the country to maintain supply of essential commodities and safeguard integrity of the nation.

In my view, there are adequate grounds for the Government to consider exemption for Railway employees from the purview of NPS. The Implications of this would be that Government expenditure would reduce over the next few years through discontinuance of Government Contribution under the NPS, but the long term liabilities would increase, as financial commitments in the defined benefit pension scheme would be higher. Since Railways are required to meet the pensionary outgo from their internal resources, switchover to defined benefit pension scheme would call for a more systematic provisioning under the Pension Fund through appropriate revenue generating measures. With Rail Tariff Authority on the horizon, I believe that this would be possible.

In the light of the above, I suggest that our request for exemption from operation of the NPS be considered sympathetically and necessary approvals communicated.

A copy of each demands raised by the two Federations is enclosed.

With regards,

Yours sincerely,
(Mallikarjun Kharge)

Shri P.Chidambaram,
Finance Minister,
Government of India,
North Block,
New Delhi-110001.


Children Education Allowance Scheme

FAQ on Children Education Allowance Scheme – Dopt Orders on 1.4.2014

The following FAQs supplement the FAQs in respect of Estt.(Allowances) Section already placed in public domain vide F. No.21011/08/2013-Estt.(AL)Establishment Allowances Section Children Education Allowance Scheme (CEA)

SI. No.
Frequently Asked Questions
1.Whether the examination fees as charged by the school is reimbursable?“Examination fee” has been included as part of reimbursable items as indicated in para 1(e) of O.M. dated 2nd September, 2008, subject to the fulfillment of other existing conditions vide) OM No.12011/01/2012-Estt.(AL) dated 31-07-2013. The said orders do not have a retrospective effect.
2.Whether reimbursement of amount of fee paid during 1at and 2nd quarter could be claimed in 3rd or 4th quarter, without the fee receipts of the 3rd and 4th quarter?No. As it is reimbursement for the whole year, original receipts for the fee paid for the 3rd / 4th quarter has to be submitted to ensure that the child has not dropped out of the school in the mid-session. O.M. No.12011/01/2013-Estt. Allowances dated 23.04.2013 refers.
3.Whether a Government servant is required to give a certificate that the spouse, if earning, has not claimed CEA?Yes. In terms of O.M. No.12011/01/2013-Estt.(Allowances) dated 23.04.2013, the claimant Government servant is required to furnish an undertaking that reimbursement of CEA has not been claimed in respect of the child by the spouse of the claimant.


Guidelines for providing certain facilities in respect of persons with disabilities

Guidelines for providing certain facilities in respect of persons with disabilities who are already employed in Government for efficient performance of their duties.

A need has been felt to issue guidelines to provide certain additional facilities/amenities to the persons with disabilities (PWD) to enable them to effectively discharge their duties. The facilities such as identification of jobs, post recruitment and pre-promotion training, assistive devices, free accessibility, preference in transfer/posting, special casual leave, etc. have been identified as areas which require special attention. The proposed facility indicated in the guidelines should be applicable in respect of such employees working in the Ministries/Departments of the Government of India, their attached and subordinate offices, Central Public Sector Enterprises, Cantonment Boards etc.

2. An inter-ministerial committee was formed to finalise guidelines for providing certain facilities in respect of persons with disabilities, who are already employed in efficient discharge of their duties. Based on the discussions held with the stake holders and suggestion received from the stakeholders, the following guidelines are issued to provide certain facilities/amenities to the persons with disabilities:.

A. Identification of jobs
Each Ministry/Department of the Government of India, their attached and subordinate offices, Central Public Sector Enterprises, Cantonment Boards etc. should identify the types of jobs which could be easily performed by them specially for Group B, C and D posts where the number of lobs are more. Such persons should preferably be posted to perform such Identified jobs and they be allowed to continue performing such jobs, as far as possible. If the concerned PWD officer could perform all the jobs as people without disability or could perform several types of jobs efficiently, no effort should be made to instruct them to certain types of jobs only.

B. Post reruitment and pre-promotion training
Induction training is an essential component of the service requirement of an employee. Induction training programme for the persons with disabilities should be imparted together with the other employees. 

Job specific post-recruitment as well as pre-prornotion training programmes are required to be organised for the persons with disabilities. Outlining a specific module/norm for training programme for the persons with disabilities common to all the Ministries/Departments and their attached (subordinate offices, Central Public Sector Enterprises, Cantonment Board, etc. may not be possible as the training requirement may be different on the basis of the work pattern. All the Ministries / Departments should take definite action to conduct job specific inclusive training programmes for the persons with disabilities with other employees.

Duration and training contents may be finalized in consultation with the National Institutes under the Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and, if felt necessary, prominent Associations/Federations/Confederations workings in the sphere of disability can be consulted. It should also be ensured that training programmes are conducted at the time of change in job, introduction of new technology, after promotion of the employee, etc. The venue of the training may be fixed as considered suitable for conducting such training. The Ministries/Departments and their offices shall utilize existing Budget provisions for undertaking the aspects of training programme. 

The employee with disability shall be placed with an experienced employee for at least one month on resuming responsibility of a post. This would help him to pick up skills required to perform the job and also the adaptations that may be required in individual cases.

C. Providing aids / assistive devices
The persons with disabilities could perform their duties efficiently It they are provided with aids and appliances which are suitable to their needs. Ministries/Departments and their attached and subordinate offices, Central Public Sector Enterprises, Cantonment Board, etc. should assist the persons with disabilities by providing them high tech/latest technology led assistive devices (including low vision aids, hearing aids with battery), special furniture, wheel chairs (motorised if required by the employee), software scanners, computer and other hardware, etc. in accordance with their requirement, which would improve their efficiency.

They should either provide or shall reimburse the cost of such devices with a specific time period for such devices to persons with disabilities in accordance with the price/durability of the special devices, special furniture, software, scanners, computer and other hardware, etc. as fixed by them, in consultation with various National Institutes working in the sphere of disability. A review exercise shall be carried out by the Departments/Ministries every three years to check the 
availability or need for introduction of enhanced/upgraded versions of such devices/software etc. They shall utilise their existing budget provisions for providing these facilities.

D. Accessibility and barrier free environment at work place 
In addition to the guidelines for modification in all public buildings including Government offices to provide easy accessibility and barrier free environment for PWDs as per the provisions of the PWD Act, all Government offices should take special steps to provide barrier free and accessible work stations to PWD employees, access from main building entrance to their work stations and access to common utility areas such as Toilets, canteens etc. Lifts/elevators should be made accessible by providing Braille signage and audio outputs. Wherever required, suitable colour contrast may also be made available in buildings, utilities, staircases, etc. for the benefit of low vision employees.

E. Preference in Govt. accommodation
The Directorate of Estates may give preference to the persons with disabilities for providing them accessible accommodation near their place of posting and they may be preferred for allotment of ground floor accommodation. Possibility of existing housingaccommodations being renovated to make them conveniently accessible to persons with disabilities, be explored by the Directorate of Estates.

F. Grievance redresal
Some of the employees including persons with disability may be got trained by the empanelled Master Trainers/Offices of various National Institutes working in the sphere of disability to develop their skills in handling grievances relating to PWDs, the Liaison Officer appointed to look after reservation matters for SCs, STs may also act as the Liaison Officer for reservation matters relating to persons with disabilities.The Laison Officer would also look after the issues relating to providing of amenities for the persons with disabilities. In addition, every Ministry/Department, their attached and subordinate offices, Central Public Sector Enterprises, Cantonment Board, etc., would preferably constitute a Grievance Redressai Mechanism headed by the Head of Administration and comprising at least two employees including a PWD having knowledge in disability matters. The Committee so constituted would receive and try to redress the grievances of persons with disabilities within a reasonable time frame.

G. Special Casual Leave
Vide this Department’s OM No. 25011/1/2008.EStt.(A) dated 19.11.2008, a provision of Special Casual Leave for 4 days in a calendar year has been made for the employees of Central Government with disabilities for spedfic requirements relating to disabilities of the official. Further, vide this Department’s OM No. 28016/02/2007-Estt(A) dated 14.11.2007, there is also a provision of 10 days Special Casual Leave in a calendar year subject to exigencies of work for the differently abled Central Government employees with disabilities for participating in Conference/Seminars/Trainings/Workshop related to disability and development to be specified by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

H. Preference in transfer/posting
As far as possible, the persons with disabilities may be exempted from the rotational transfer policy/transfer and be allowed to continue in the same Job, where they would have achieved the desired performance. Further, preference in place of posting at the time of transfer/promotion may be given to the persons with disability subject to the administrative constraints. The practice of considering choice of place of posting in case of persons with disabilities may be continued. To the extent feasible, they may be retained in the same job, where their services could be optimally utilised.

3. Every Ministry/Department in consultation with the Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities would arrange for training of the Liaison Officer on “Disability Equality and Etiquettes”.

4. All the Ministries/Departments are requested to bring the abbve instructions to the notice of all appointing authorities under their control, for information and compliance. The Department of Public Enterprises may ensure to give effect the above guidelines in the all the Central Public Sector Enterprises.