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This content is shared with GConnect by Shri.S.Karunakaran, Inspector of Central Excise, Trichy. He is the General Secretary of All India Central Excise Inspectors Association, Trichy Branch. In his previous article he had provided the gist of Cadre Restructure proposal. Now he has shared with GConnect the gist of comments of AICEIA on cadre restructure proposal in CBEC.
The present proposal would widen the disparity among the Central Excise seniority zones as evident from the table below. At present the gap between the best case and worst case is 10 years. (North East 1986 & Delhi 1996). This proposal would widen the gap to 15 years. While Inspectors of 2002 batch gets promoted in 7 out of 15 cadre zones, Inspectors in 8 Zones would lag behind as follows. The situation is acute in 5 zones.
Batch getting promoted
Gap between other 8 zones
This huge disparity would de-motivate & demoralize officers in this zone and doom their prospects permanently and would lead to prolonged unrest.
The present proposal would widen the gap between Central Excise & Customs in the matter of promotion to the grade of Assistant Commissioner. While the 1995/96 batch of Superintendent of Central Excise only would be promoted as Assistant Commissioner, the 2007 batch of Appraisers would get their promotion. While all the Examiners of 2004 become Assistant Commissioner, Inspectors of 1988 would still remain as Inspectors. This proposal puts the Central Excise officers in an ignominious situation of working under an officer who is more than 10 years junior to him.
The proposal adopts revenue as the criterion for creation of Commissionerates in Central Excise & Service Tax and no. of documents handled in the case of Customs. The yard stick of revenue applied for Central Excise & Service Tax is fallacious and is not the right indicator of work load. The fixation of higher revenue norm for Service Tax Commissionerate than a Central Excise Commissionerate is without any rationale. In the case of Service Tax, the assessee base would be the right indicator of workload. The growth in revenue in each region would depend on various local factors and adoption of revenue criterion in a zone as the condition precedent of the promotion prospects of officers in that zone is unfair, arbitrary and obnoxious.
The proposal erred in assessing the work involved in various sections in headquarters/division and hence the proposed strength of 80 Superintendents in executive Commissionerate is grossly inadequate. The bare minimum requirement of Superintendents for staffing a Commissionerate with 5 divisions and 25 ranges would be 107.
The sanction of only one Superintendent in Chief Commissioner’s office and Commissioner (Appeals) Office is too very unrealistic and has no correlation to the work load involved.
The proposal renders 321, 175 & 68 Inspectors surplus in West Bengal, Kerala & Tamil Nadu Zones respectively. The proposal reduces the strength of Superintendents by 36 in Kerala Zone.
The proposal does not contain any scheme to do away with the disparity of Central Excise cadres with Customs. As per this, 1995 batch of superintendents alone would be promoted while the 2007 batch of appraisers and 2001 batch of Superintendent (customs) would be promoted. Though the Board has accepted the fact that the present ratio of promotion to Assistant Commissioner has to be scrapped and a new mechanism has to be brought in, the proposal is silent on this. While giving a march over to Customs cadres, the proposal grossly discounts the fact that more no. of Central Excise Inspectors/Superintendents is doing Customs works than the exclusive Customs cadres.
As this proposal also takes into account the immediate future requirements of the Department and as the Board is well aware that the bogey of stagnation cannot be wiped away with one swell stroke called restructuring, this proposal should have projected certain means by which upward mobility of the Group ‘B’ cadres could be maintained. In this regard, the proposal of this Association regarding curtailment of DR quota to Gr. ‘A’ to 25 % should have been discussed in detail.
The cursory rejection of separate adjudication mechanism demanded by this association is not proper since the GST regime contemplates this. A corollary to this would be the proposal to head Divisions by JC s. These demands were not considered in the right perspective.
One time relaxation should be granted to fill up all the vacancies arising in the cadre of Assistant Commissioner including consequential vacancies should be filled up by promotion.
The posts in the Assistant Commissioner level arising out of restructuring shall not be filled up in accordance with the present ratio of 6:2:1 and it should be on the basis of date of joining at the level of Inspector. In case putting in place a mechanism in the recruitment rule in lieu of the existing ratio would require time due to various factors, the present provisions in the recruitment rule to relax any of the rules may be invoked.
In 4 cadre zone- viz. North East, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu & Kerala, no additional executive Commissionerates have been proposed. Some of these Commissionerates in these zone at present have a sanctioned strength of more than 80 Superintendents (the revised strength as per proposal). These posts have been sanctioned on account of factors like presence of customs formations, more than 5 Ranges per division etc. These sanctions, which have been made after collating complete data about workload, should be augmented considering the fact that they are integrated commissionerates who have to handle service tax and central excise work load, geographical reach, etc. The sanction for Audit Commissionerates to these zones should be over and above this strength. These sanctions should be retained and the sanction for Audit Commissionerates to these zones should be over and above this strength. This dispensation should be extended to UP/Uttaranchal also. Apart from this, in some zones Central Excise
Commissionerates are proposed to be abolished. Though ST Commissionerates are proposed to be created in their place, it has to be appreciated that the work in the CE Commissionerate proposed to be abolished does not vanish and the additional burden would have to be shouldered by the remaining Commissionerates. Hence on this functional consideration, the strength of Superintendent/Inspector in the CE Commissionerate proposed to be abolished should be retained in the zone and redistributed to the Commissionerates to which the jurisdiction of abolished Commissionerate would go. This would entail creation of 936 nos. of Superintendents posts as follows.
No. of Commissionerates with more than 80 Supdts.
Additional posts to be created
* This includes the staff strength of CE Commissionerate proposed to be abolished.
Though the demand at 2 above would accord equal opportunity to all Central Excise Inspectors across the zones in the matter of promotion to Assistant Commissioner’s grade, the continuation in the entry level of Inspector for several years more than their counter parts in other zones would be frustrating. Hence it is demanded that in the 7 zones that lag behind, all Inspectors who have completed 10 years of service should be upgraded. This measure would not entail creation of additional posts than that is proposed as adjustments would be done in the strength of Inspectors. This will also not create additional financial burden on account of ACP/MACP. In this regard reference is made to the creation of large no. of higher level posts in Central Secretariat Service in tune with the observation in the 83rd report of the Department Related Standing Committee on Home Affairs that ‘grant of ACP should not stop grant of in situ promotions to stagnated Assistants’. In order achieve this in the 8 lagging behind zones, the following number of Inspectors posts would have to upgraded to the level of Superintendents.
Posts to be upgraded
It is to be appreciated that the functional distinction between Inspector and Superintendent has by and large ceased to exist and therefore this pattern of post distribution would not cause any administrative difficulties. It has to be taken note that this principle has been recognized as early as in 1996-97. The total posts in Group B executive level may maintain flexibility between Inspector & Superintendent grades so as to achieve this objective.
The newly created posts should be distributed among zones on the basis of stagnation evenly among the zones.
Application of the straitjacket formula of proposed staff strength without deviation would render 321, 175 & 68 posts of Inspectors surplus in West bengal, Kerala & Tamil Nadu Zones respectively. These posts should be retained by applying the principle in demand no. 3 above.
The norms for creation of ST Commissionerate should be assessee based and the number of ST Commissionerates proposed should be reworked out.
It is fallacious and unreasonable to link the creation of Audit Commissionerate to the creation of Zones since the norm of 3 executive Commissionerate per zone has not been meticulously followed in all cases. This has resulted loss to those regions where more executive Commissionerates per zone has been retained. It is therefore demanded that an Audit Commissionerate should be created for every 3 Commissionerates and part thereof in a region.
Click here to get the gist of Cadre Restructure proposal shared with GConnect by Shri.Karunakaran