Minutes of the 47th Meeting of National Council (JCM) held on 13th April, 2019 – DOPT
North Block, New Delhi – 110 001
Dated: 13 June, 2019
Subject: Minutes of the 47th Meeting of National Council (JCM) held on 13th April, 2019. The undersigned is directed to forward a copy of the minutes of the 47th Meeting of the National Council (JCM) held on 13th April, 2019 in Conference Hall, Rail Bhavan, New Delhi under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary for information and necessary action.
Deputy Secretary to the Govt. of India
Tel: 2309 2338
MINUTES OF THE 47th MEETING OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF THE JOINT CONSULTATIVE MACHINERY(JCM) HELD ON 13th APRIL, 2019.
The 47th Meeting of the National Council (JCM) was held on 13th April, 2019 under the Chairmanship of Shri P. K. Sinha, Cabinet Secretary, at Rail Bhawan, New Delhi. A list of the representatives of Staff Side and Official Side who participated in the meeting is annexed.
2. At the outset, Secretary (Personnel) welcomed Cabinet Secretary and Chairman, National Council (JCM), the Leader of the Staff Side, the Secretary of the Staff Side, the Senior Officers from-different Ministries/Departments-and Members of-the Staff Side.
3. Thereafter, Cabinet Secretary and Chairman, National Council (JCM) extended a hearty welcome to the representatives of the Staff Side as well as the Official Side. He stated that there has been a long gap between the 46th and 47th meeting of the National Council. However, four meetings of the Standing Committee were held during the last four years. He thanked the Staff side for their cooperation for successful and smooth implementation of recommendations of the 7th CPC and further stated that Government of India have taken several new initiatives, such as maintaining 10% employees’ contribution and increasing Government contribution from 10% to 14% in the New Pension Scheme(NPS), promotion of more than 4000 Central Secretariat Officers viz. Deputy Secretaries, Under Secretaries and Section Officers, increasing the duration of admissible maternity leave upto 6 months, employee friendly modifications to the CGHS and abolition of the interview for recruitment to Group ‘B’ and Group ‘C’ posts. He further observed that some of the agenda items of the 47th meeting are too old and may have thus lost relevance. He also stated that Staff Side should come up with new ideas for the welfare of the employees, and that National Council and the Standing Committee meetings must be held regularly in future. Chairman also emphasized on the need for all Departmental Council meetings to be held on a regular basis to remove the gap between the two sides as also to identify the issues which require further consideration, and desired that all Secretaries of the concerned Ministries/Departments should ensure regular meetings of the Departmental Councils.
4. Leader of the Staff Side thanked the Chairman for highlighting important initiatives of the Government and for the assurance to continue sustained dialogue through JCM. He highlighted following issues for consideration:-
4.1. Importance of the forum of Joint Consultative Machinery(JCM) and holding regular meetings of NC(JCM) so that accumulation of Staff issues/grievance is avoided.
4.2 Non-fulfillment of the commitment given by the Government relating to revision of minimum wage and the 7th CPC fitment formula.
4.3 Withdrawal of NPS and re-introduction of Defined Pension under CCS (Pension) Rules 1972. He emphasized the Government to recommend at least 50% of the last pay drawn as minimum pension to the retired/retiring Central Government employees.
4.4 Discouraging privatization and outsourcing of various activities of the Government. He reminded that in the past, a D.O. letter was sent by the Cabinet Secretary to various Departments to hold meetings I consultations with the Staff Side before taking any decision on privatization/outsourcing/closure of establishments. He urged to issue similar instructions again to all Departments to ensure prior consultations with the Staff Side.
4.5 To consider modification to the MoF’s O.M. dated 12th December, 2018 relating to reoption opportunity to those staff who intend to switch over to the 7th CPC from the date of their promotion/MACPS/Cadre restructuring beyond 25th July, 2016 instead of restricting the same upto 25th July, 2016 and also to those employees who have opted for promotional/MACP/Pay fixation from the date of increment i.e. on 1st July 2016 in 6th CPC pay scale prior to the notification of 7th CPC.
He further stated that when Vth & VIth CPC Pay Scale/Structures were implemented in the past, opportunity for revising the option was granted.
4.6 7th CPC recommendation relating to placement of OT Assistants/Dressers in GP 2000 and placement of SSO (Accounts) in GP 5400/Level-9 in Railways has been pending with the Ministry of Finance, which may be cleared at the earliest.
4.7 Non-implementation of the 7th CPC recommendation for allotment of GP – Rs.4600/- (Level 7) to CMA category in Railways was also raised. He requested to take action to implement the specific recommendation relating to CMA category given by 7th CPC particularly when similar other recommendations have been/are being implemented.
4.8 Upgradation of 75% of SSEs/ Supervisory officials etc., in Railways to GP 4800/-Level-8. He urged that this needs to be expedited and approval given soon as Engineers/Supervisors in Railways are greatly disappointed over the delay.
4.9 Resolving issue of Night Duty Allowance and National Holiday allowance to Railway employees. The aberrations brought out by the Ministry of Railways in its communication to the DoP&T may be rectified without any further delay.
4.10 Implementation of awards of Board of Arbitration:- Concern was expressed over the abnormal delay in finalizing the Awards given by Board of Arbitration, pending for 15 years. The case of CA ref 3/2001 relating to Pay Scales of Senior Accountants, Accounts Assistants/ Senior Auditors to be brought on par with Assistants of the Central Secretariat, which has been pending since 24th August, 2004. He specially requested the Cabinet Secretary to issue a directive that all such Awards be settled through dialogue/discussion with the Staff Side.
4.11 Crediting earned leave to the employees’ account beyond 300 days including Industrial employees. He further said that while there is no financial implication as also the Rule position is unaltered there should not be any problem in accepting the demand.
4.12 Re-fixation of pay on last pay drawn at the time of retirement of Defence Forces Personnel re-employed in Central Government Departments. He urged to issue orders at the earliest duly granting pay re-fixation to the retired Defence Forces Personnel re-employed in Railways etc., on the basis of their last pay drawn at the time of retirement.
4.13 Removal of ceiling for Compassionate appointments. He requested that the issue needs to be considered with the objective of mitigating the hardships faced by the bereaved families.
4.14 Revision of Kilometrage Allowance rates of Running Staff. He urged that concurrence is communicated to the Ministry of Railways soon by Ministry of Finance.
4.15 MACP issues:-
The Leader of the Staff Side said that “Very Good” benchmarking should be cancelled and the MACPS should be given effect from 01/01/2006 with appropriate option. He explained that while the teaching staff under HRD Ministry and Delhi Government have been brought under MACPS, the Principals and Teachers of Indian Railways, Defence etc. are not covered. He requested for quick action for rendering justice to Teaching staff of Railways and Defence etc.
4.16 Exemption of TA Element from Kilometrage from the purview of Income Tax. It was explained that 70% of Kilometrage Allowance (KMA) paid to Running Staff is the Travelling Allowance (TA) component. Therefore this should be exempted from Income Tax as TA is not taxable.
5. The Secretary of the Staff Side, while making his opening remarks thanked the Chairman for holding the 47th meeting of the National Council after 9 years.
5.1 He made the following observations with regard to the functioning of the JCM Scheme:-
Regular meetings of the Departmental councils were held only in a very few Ministries/Departments. To make effective use of the JCM, it must be ensured that meetings of the Departmental Council are held more frequently as provided in the JCM Scheme. He stated that necessary instruction should be issued to all Ministries / Departments to make effective use of the JCM and also to ensure that meetings of the Departmental Councils are held more frequently.
Promotion of the officials in their career is a vital issue, and if not given to them in time, it jeopardizes their career. He requested the Cabinet Secretary to implement the scheme of time bound promotions; based on benchmark. He further mentioned that, at present, the staff working in GP Rs. 1800 and 4600 is suffering a lot because of non-availability of their promotion prospects, which needs to be redressed to remove their frustration.
5.3 Normally the Court decisions on common service matters of all Central Govt. employees are implemented only to those employees who moves the petition, whereas once the judgment is implemented to the petitioners, the benefits may equally be extended to all the similarly placed employees to avoid multiplicity of litigations and as per the National Litigation Policy published by the Govt. of India.
5.4 CGHS Scheme does not contain clear instructions and there is ambiguity in many cases. Medical reimbursement cases of retired personnel are not processed in time and ought to be made hassle free. Entitlement of beds in private hospitals should be decided by the Ministry/ Departments concerned.
5.5 The issues relating to retired personnel’s are to be taken on priority basis. Pension revision cases are much delayed all over, and wherever revised PPO ‘s have been issued, banks are not giving revised pension. Pensioners Portal and other portals are not proving wo1ihy of redressing the grievances of the pensioners. This needs regular monitoring.
5.6 Recognition of Unions under CCS(RSA) Rules, 1993, especially in the Department of Posts is going against the idea of recognition and pending_since 2005. Instead of recognizing the union, Regional Channel under JCM has also been stopped. The Department should advise the concerned authorities to ensure streamlining of the procedure of receiving the applications for recognition and disposal in a time bound manner. In fact, it has been decided in the recently held meeting of the Standing Committee on 7.3.2019, that all Ministries/ Departments should take timely action on recognition of associations.
5.7 Regarding LTC-80 cases, there are instances where huge amount is deducted from employees, especially in various Defence establishments under MoD from the funds released to them on retirement as terminal benefits on the ground that these employees have travelled in private airlines and also the employees who have travelled in Air India Flight have purchased Flight Tickets from other than authorized agents. The demand of the Staff Side for granting One Time exemption to such cases is still pending with DOP&T. This is a serious matter since as per Supreme Court directions, no recovery should be made from the employees at the time of retirement. It is requested that the DOP&T may grant One Time Exemption to all such cases, especially in the case of those employees who are otherwise not entitled for flight for settlement of all such LTC-80 cases as a One Time measure.
5.8 In case of Loco Pilots in Ministry of Railways, necessary instructions be issued to extend the benefit of Promotional Pay Fixation on promotion to a post carrying higher duties and responsibilities.
5.9 The Unions are required to file the statement of account before the Registrar of Trade Unions and before the Income Tax Authorities. For Registrar of Trade Unions, the statement is to be prepared for year ending on 31st December and for the LT. Authorities it is to be’ prepared for the year ending on 31st March. This creates insurmountable problems. He requested to either make it 31st March or 31st December by amending the provisions of the respective enactments.
5.10 On the issue of creation of posts “matching savings” are being insisted in all the Ministries including Railways. In the Ministry of Railways “matching Saving policy” for creation of posts is not workable as it is day to day productive Organization. New trains, new Railway Lines and many new assets of State of Art technology are augmented frequently, whereas the number of employees is getting decreased. Therefore, there is a need to reconsider the policy of matching savings for creation of new posts so as to maintain safe train operations by Indian Railways.
5.11 The Secretary Staff Side raised the issue of “Very Good” benchmark, made effective from retrospective date, which needs to be changed. He said that, in the Railways, CRB had raised the issue with the Cabinet Secretary to bring benchmark at par with selectional promotions. The Chairman asked Member (Staff), Railway Board to review the issue and take appropriate action.
5.12 Secretary Staff Side raised the issue of Kilometerage Allowance pending with the Department of Expenditure even after approval of the Railway Board and Hon’ble Minister of Railways. Chairman advised that the matter may be considered early.
5.13 The Secretary Staff Side also raised the issue of exemption of Income Tax on 70% TA element on Running Allowance. Cabinet Secretary directed the CBDT and Revenue Department to resolve the issue at earliest.
5.14 Secretary, Staff Side stated that they were opposed to NPS and demanded that the Old Pension Scheme be restored. He further stated that the Government should guarantee pension of 50% of last pay drawn to all employees recruited on or after 01.01.2004. He further demanded facility of GPF and Family Pension to all employees.
5.15 He further demanded for improvement in appointments on compassionate ground. It was mentioned that totally incapacitated staff of Defence (Civil) and Ordinance Factories are not given out of tum appointment on compassionate ground. This needs to be considered sympathetically, as is being done in case of Paramilitary Staff.
5.16 Many Central Government Departments have no channel of Departmental Council under JCM. The same needs to be constituted. Chairman asked Secretary, DoPT to look into the matter in a time bound manner.
5.17 Like Citizen’s Charter, “Employee’s Charter” be published on service matters of the employees, for timely redressal of their grievances, which will improve productivity of employees.
5.18 Technical employees of the Railways and Defence Ordinance Factories etc. are subjected to unwarranted tests at every stage of promotion. This should be reviewed for hassle free timely promotions.
5.19 Contract labourers are badly exploited by the contractors. Principal employers are not able to safeguard them. Their Wages, Weekly Rest, Medical Facilities, Social Securities and other benefits have to be streamlined.
5.20 After detailed deliberations, a D.O. letter was issued to all Departments in 2009 regarding discussion of issue like restructuring, outsourcing, offloading, handling over of perennial jobs to other agencies/private parties etc. with Organised Labour. However, respective Departments are ignoring Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970 in a big way without any consultation with Organised Labour. This needs to be checked immediately.
5.21 Long pending demand of computation of entire service rendered by Casual Labourers attaining Temporary Status for the purpose of pensionary benefits has been accepted by Hon’ble Courts in many cases. Chairman advised Secretaries to examine the issue comprehensively.
6. Thereafter, the 36 agenda items for meeting of the 47th National Council and Action Taken Statement on 9 agenda items of the 46th meeting of the National Council, JCM held in 2010, were taken up for discussion department-wise, which are summarized below:-
M/o Health and Family Welfare
6.1.1 Item No.04/10/NC-46 – Grant of Fixed Medical Allowance (FMA) in lieu of outdoor treatment facilities
Secretary, M/o H&FW stated that the matter for grant of Fixed Medical Allowance (FMA) in lieu of outdoor treatment facilities has been examined, and it has been found that acceding to this demand will put more financial burden on the elderly and retired, and that further, they will have to forego their entitlement to draw CGHS medicines, for which the FMA may not be sufficient. She requested that Staff Side should look at the demand from this perspective. Upon discussion, the Staff Side agreed that they would reconsider the demand in light of these observations, and to drop the demand.
M/o Health and Family Welfare
6.1.2. Item no.13/19/NC-47 – Reimbursement of expenses on indoor treatment to pensioners living in non-CGHS towns
Staff Side stated that there are many Central Government Pensioners who are living in towns/villages etc. not covered by CGHS. who have been granted Rs. 1000/- p.m. by way of FMA in lieu of outdoor treatment. There is no scheme for reimbursement of expenses on account of indoor treatment for critical diseases like heart ailments, etc. The demand for extending the CS(MA) Rules to pensioners has not been accepted. As such, many pensioners who got their indoor treatment in private Hospitals had to go to High Court/CAT and get the expenses incurred by them reimbursed under Court orders. Some arrangement may be made to reimburse the expenditure on indoor treatment of pensioners residing in Non-CGHS Towns.
Reply of the Official Side:
Pensioners residing in non-CGHS areas have been provided the following options to avail medical facilities:-
i) FMA @ Rs. 1,000/- per month.
ii) Benefits of CGHS (OPD & IPD) by registering themselves in the nearest CGHS city after making the required subscription.
iii) Option to avail FMA for OPD treatment, and CGHS for IPD treatments after making the required subscription as per CGHS guidelines.
M/o Health and Family Welfare
6.1.3. Item No. 16/19/NC-47 – Grant of Medical Advance to the Central Govt. employees.
Staff Side stated that M io H&FW vide OM No.S.11016/1192-CGHS(P), dated 29.10.1992 have issued instructions for grant of Medical Advances, and vide OM No. 812015/3/93- CGHS_(P) dated 30.12.1993, a clarification was issued thereafter on limit of advance. Even though 90% of the estimate can be given as advance, the amount is restricted to Rs.10,000/- only for those diseases which are not covered under packages (conservative treatments) and this ceiling limit fixed during 1992 with no revision thereafter may be revised to 90% of the estimated amount.
Reply of the Official Side:
The guidelines regarding grant of medical advance for Central Government Employees have been revised vide OM No. S.14025/18/2015-MS/EHSS, dated 17.10.2016. As per the said OM, serving CGHS and CS(MA) beneficiaries may be granted 90% medical advance of the approved CGHS package rates for all indoor treatment, irrespective of major or minor diseases. Chairman advised that a copy of relevant OM may be shared with Staff Side.
M/o Health and Family Welfare
6.1.4 Item No. 17/19/NC-47 – Reimbursement of additional charges paid on account of overstay in the hospitals.
Staff Side stated that as per CGHS rules, no additional charge on account of extended period of stay shall be allowed, if that extension is due to infection consequent to surgical procedure or due to any improper procedure and is not justified. This decision of the Govt. is putting the employees to undue financial hardship, since the hospital authorities never take the responsibility for infection and consequences of the surgery etc. In case of extended period of stay in the hospital, the additional charges incurred may be reimbursed.
Staff side pointed that no hospital provides a certificate for overstay. The Hospital authorities state that the discharge of a patient is on the advice of the doctor who treats the patient. No hospital, the staff side added, to the best of their information, has been blacklisted for this undesirable practice. It is ultimately the beneficiary who suffers, they added. .
Reply of the Official Side:
Additional charge on account of overstay is reimbursable, if the extended period of stay is justified and the hospital issues a certificate to this effect. Further, in case of overcharging by hospital which is not justified, there is provision for recovery from pending hospital bills and payment to the beneficiary. After discussions, the Chairman felt that in cases of deliberate overstay on account of hospitals, the patient ought to be fully reimbursed and appropriate action may be taken against the erring hospitals including blacklisting them. Accordingly, it was recommended that the matter may be reviewed by MoH&FW.
6.1.5 Item No. 18/19/NC-47 – Reimbursement of Oxygen charges.
Staff Side stated that as per the approved charges under CGHS Rules, oxygen charges in causality, ICU are mentioned as Rs. 30/-. While the hospital authorities are charging Rs.30/- per hour as oxygen charges, the accounts authorities under the Defence Ministry are restricting the charges to Rs.30/- per day, which is causing hardship to the employees and a clarification needs to be issued.
Reply of the Official Side:
The CGHS rate list has since been revised in the year 2014. As per the revised CGHS rate list, the oxygen charges are specified as Rs. 50 per hour for non-NABH, and Rs.58 per hour for NABH Hospitals. Hence, the issue stands resolved. It was recommended that a copy of orders may be shared with Staff Side.
6.1.6 Item No. 27/19/NC-47 – Hospital Patient Care Allowance for C.G. employees working in hospitals.
Staff Side stated that at present, the Hospital Patient Care Allowance has been extended to the categories of cook, ward sahaika, safaiwala, barber and washermen. However, junior physiotherapists, junior dietician, carpenter, painter, tailor, mazdoor, mali and chowkidar (non ministerial Staff) have been left out and are not being granted this allowance on the plea that the contact of these categories of employees with patients or their exposure to infected materials is of occasional nature. However, there are other categories of ministerial employees who are exposed to infection in hospitals. All employees ministerial or non-ministerial, working in hospitals, may be granted Hospital Patient Care Allowance.
Reply of the Official Side:
The matter is under examination in consultation with the Department of Expenditure.
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