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One Rank One Pension – OROP is getting final Shape – Large provision to be made in the Budget 2015

Achchey Din seems likely to dawn on the armed forces, or ex-personnel in particular. The government is giving final shape to their long standing demand of adopting One-Rank One-Pension (OROP).

Bureaucrats are currently burning midnight oil to pore over the fine print of at least four options to implement the OROP scheme. A source in government, aware of the developments, says a decision is expected soon and a large provision in the Budget, or soon after.

“We are very hopeful that the long overdue injustice to the armed forces will be reversed in this budget,” says Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd) who leads the IESM or Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, which lobbied intensely for OROP since 2008. “Both UPA and NDA have agreed to our OROP so we see no reason that it will be held back now,” he says.

 

For 40 years the retirees, now numbering three million, have been bristling under what they perceive as “neglect and humiliation” by political parties and successive governments. Its extreme manifestation, from their perspective, was the denial of OROP. Lack of empirical data on the cost of this pension, plus political reluctance of the parties fuelled much of the denial and delay. The former military staff launched public agitations to make their case, often embarrassing the government.

Happy Mahashivaratri

Mrs. Chellammal Narayana, Superintendent of Central Excise, Hyderabad-III Comm’te no more

Mrs. Chellammal Narayana, Superintendent of Central Excise, Hyderabad-III Comm'te left for her heavenly abode on 15-2-2015 after fighting bravely with illness. 

Mrs. Chellammal was known for her outspokeneness, candidness, authority on the subject and dynamism. She was admired by one and all. She is survived by her husband, son and daughter. 

We pray to God to give her family enough strength and courage to bear with her irreparable and sad loss. We offer her family deepest condolences. May her soul rest in peace. 

Govt. should consider immediately certain issues relating to DA merger and granting interim relief, etc. to CG employees

The Central Govt. employees are totally unhappy on the forceful implementation of the in and out timings via bio-metric devices . The employees are  extremely upset that they even had to report to work on Gandhi Jayanti for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cherished Swacch Abhiyan, and also about the rigour some of them had to undergo for his other pet schemes like Jan Dhan Yojna and ensuring that his interaction with children went live on Teachers Day. There were rumors that central government would reduce retirement age to 58 like the newly elected BJP government in Haryana did it two months ago. The  women employees were upset as it was becoming difficult for them to manage household affairs and reach office sharply at 9 am. The non committal on matters like DA merger, interim relief etc. also would have contributed for the employees turning against the present Govt. Therefore now Govt should consider immediately the issues relating to  DA merger and granting  interim relief,  etc. .

BJP fails in Delhi on the worries of Central Government Employees with bio-metric attendance system and reduction of retirement age

The BJP seems to have invited the wrath of central government employees living in the national capital with some of its non-populist measures.

With early trends in Delhi suggesting a complete rout for the BJP barely eight months after it swept the national capital in the Lok Sabha polls, party strategists say the party paid a heavy price because of government workers’ worries.

There are about seven lakh central government employees in Delhi – 30% of them women – and party strategists fear other voters in these families also voted against the BJP. The Narendra Modi government’s decision on biometric attendance making it mandatory for government employees to mark their attendance sharply at 9 in the morning upset women employees, a union minister said.

“During campaigning for Delhi elections, we realised that women employees were upset as it was becoming difficult for them to manage household affairs and reach office sharply at 9 am. They were clearly against us,” the minister told HT. The BJP’s campaign managers, including several senior ministers, tried to address fears that the retirement age of government workers would be reduced to 58 from 60.

“There was a sense of insecurity among employee who feared government would lower the retirement age if it wins Delhi. This also added to our woes,” said another cabinet minister.During the campaign, BJP leaders organised several meetings  of government employees to address these worries, but results indicate it may be too late for them to undertake a damage control exercise.

 

Source: Hindustan Times

Supreme Court seeks CG Govt’s views on the legality of Aadhaar – Petition filed on the ground that it violated personal liberties and privacy.

          The Supreme Court on Monday sought the government’s views on the unique identification or Aadhaar programme that was started by its predecessor as a fresh petition sought to question its legality on the ground that it violated personal liberties and privacy.

             A two-judge bench, comprising chief justice of India HL Dattu and justice AK Sikri, asked solicitor general Ranjit Kumar to revert to the top court in two weeks with the information but stopped short of issuing any formal legal notices to the government.

            “We read news reports which said the new government was doing a rethink on the issue,” Dattu observed.

The petition, filed by Bangalore-resident Mathew Thomas, a former army officer and defence missile scientist turned social activist, had accused the new government of “slyly” pushing ahead with Aadhaar. He said the government had insisted on linking bank accounts with Aadhaar for direct transfer of the LPG subsidy and it was also being used to ensure attendance by officials. He urged the court to immediately stop this.

“Our democratic constitution does not permit such state surveillance. UID is the first step towards profiling, tracking and stereotyping. Mere production of ID cards by people, upon demand by police, would neither absolve such persons from suspicion, nor would it prevent them from indulging in criminal activities,” his plea said.

Arguing for Thomas, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium contended that almost all countries such as the UK and US have scrapped such attempts following a public uproar over their intrusive nature. Aadhaar is being rolled out by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a non-statutory body. It involves collecting biometric information of all citizens and in return issuing them unique ID or Aadhaar numbers that facilitate the accurate targeting of social security and in-service benefits. Several activists had approached the top court seeking a stay.The court had clarified that Aadhaar should not be insisted upon while dispensing social security benefits.

The court is, however, yet to take a final call on its fate. The fresh PIL, filed through lawyer Aishwarya Bhatti, called upon the court to direct the Centre to destroy all biometric information collected so far. Collection of data was being undertaken by agencies with suspect credentials and cards had been issued even to illegal migrants, the PIL claimed.

The UIDAI couldn’t be set up through mere approval of the “empowered group of ministers”, it said. All acts that curtail the rights and liberties of an individual are to be necessarily backed by law, it said. The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, was introduced in the Lok Sabha and is still pending. However, in the interim, the authority has been collecting personal information of all citizens, including army officers and government servants. Thomas said he had sought information about UIDAI-approved scanners that were used to collect biometric data but was denied this. A Right to Information (RTI) query led to the answer that there was “no way of verifying the country of origin of the companies”, he said.

In the meantime, Maharashtra has made Aadhaar mandatory to pay bills. Other states use it to record attendance in offices. Delhi has made Aadhaar necessary for solemnisation and registration of marriages and the direct transfer of LPG subsidies. There is no provision for residents to opt out of the UID project and information once given cannot be destroyed, he said. The former army officer said that possibility of “illegal residents” wrongly being issued Aadhaar cards and carrying out espionage activities could not be ruled out. The scheme would have limited use in checking illegal migration or terrorism, he said. The information collected under the UID scheme is valuable to criminals and this makes citizens vulnerable as well, he said. There are almost no checks and balances in sharing of private information, the petitioner said.

 

source: Economic Times

DoPT issues fresh guidelines regarding prevention of sexual harassment of women at the workplace

 

No. 11013/2/2014-Estt (A-III)
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
Department of Personnel and Training
Establishment Division

North Block, New Delhi
Dated February 2, 2015

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Subject : Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1964 – Guidelines regarding prevention of sexual harassment of women at the workplace – regarding

Following the promulgation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 [SHWW(PPR) Act] and notification of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 [SHWW(PPR) Rules] on 09.12.2013, the Government has recently, on 19.11.2014, notified the amendments to Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1964 and Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1965. The amendments and other salient features of the Act/Rules was brought to the notice of all concerned vide Office Memorandum of even no. dated 27.11.2014. The amendments to the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1964 and Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1965 and the Office Memorandum dated 01.12.2014 are available on the Department’s website.

2. The following guidelines, conveying the decision of the Committee of Secretaries on this subject, were issued vide this Department’s Office Memorandum No. 11013/3/2009-Estt.(A) dated 03.08.2009,
“As regards provisions for protection of women, it was suggested that the complaints committee mechanism provided under Vishakha guidelines relating to sexual harassment should be strictly in accordance with the judgment and steps should be taken to ensure that the committee is effective and functional at all times. It would also be desirable for the Committees to meet once a quarter, even if there is no live case, and review preparedness to fulfil all requirements of the Vishakha judfment in the Department/Ministry/organization concerned.”

3. As per the guidelines issued vide Office Memorandum dated 21.07.2009, it is also to be ensured that the Complaints Committee shall at all times be in existence and changes in its composition, whenever necessary, should be made promptly and adequately publicized. The composition of the Complaints Committee should also be posted on the websites of the concerned Ministries/Departments/Offices concerned.

4. Vide the Office Memorandum dated 01.12.2014, the attention of the Ministries/Departments was also invited to the reporting requirements mentioned in the SHWW(PPR) Act and SHWW(PPR) Rules.
5. All Ministries/Departments are requested to please review the progress of implementation of the existing abovementioned guidelines issued in the aftermath of the Vishakha judgment.

6. Attention of all Ministries is invited to Section 22 of the Act relating to including information in Annual Report, and to request that information relating to number of cases filed, if any, and their disposal may be included in the Annual Report of the Ministry / Department.

7. All Ministries / Departments are also requested to furnish an annual return (as on 31st March) in the enclosed proforma to this Department by 30th April every year.

(J.A. Vaidyanathan)
Director (E)

Budget 2015 – Wish List of Salaried Employees on Income Tax

Basic Income Tax Exemption Limit :

Increase of Basic Income Tax Exemption Limit to Rs. 3 lakhs to meet out inflationary Trend.

Transport Allowance:

Transport Allowance is exempted to an extent of Rs. 800 per month. However, the lowest amount of Transport Allowance of Rs. 400 (plus dearness allowance) received by the employees in the Group C and MTS cadres itself is taxable. So there is a very high need for increasing exemption limit for Transport Allowance payable Government Employees.

Children Education Allowance:

Children Education Allowance is the other allowance, which is exempted to an extent of Rs. 100 per month. Of course this exemption limit was decided more than a decade ago when tuition fees of Rs. 100 was reimbursed to Central Government Employees. On implementation of sixth Pay commission recommendations, Children Education Allowance has been raised to Rs. 1000 and incremented when DA crosses 50% each time. So, there is no point in keeping the slab on IT Exemption for CEA at this low level. It is widely expected that Childen Education Allowance is to be fully exempted from Income Tax.

Medical Reimbursement by Employer:

The present Exemption Limit of Rs.15,000 as far as medical reimbursement is concerned provided by an employer needs to revised to Rs. 50,000 considering the cost of medical treatment presently.

Health Insurance premium under Section 80 D:

Salaried Employees also expect an increase of exemption limit for Health Insurance Premium paid to Rs. 50, 000 from the current level of Rs. 35,000 (Rs. 15,000 for family and Rs. 20,000 to Parents)

Re-Introduction of Standard Deduction:

As of now, Salaried Employees are treated at part with Tax Payers who are self employed and doing business of their own, as far as Income Tax is concerned. But this was not the case 10 years ago (until 2004-05). Just like Self Employed and Business related tax payers enjoy deduction of expenses made from the income, a fixed amount was exempted from total income of Salaried Employees which was termed as Standard Deduction. One of the expectations of Salaried Employees now is re-introduction of Standard Deduction for their income tax assessment.

Exemption Limit of Rs. 1.5 lakh for Savings under Section 80 C:

Also, Salaried Employees feel that Exemption of Rs. 1.5 lakh available for Savings and Insurance Insruments as wells as retirement plans is too low considering the number of investments allowed to be exempted under this category. It is expected that this Exemption limit has to be increased to Rs. 2 lakh at least.

Exemption limit on Rent Paid when no HRA is received :

Further, Rent paid by an individual is exempted now to an extent of Rs. 2000 per month if no House Rent Allowance is received. This limit was fixed in the year 1998. Needless to say house rent cost has increased enormously since 1998. So, this exemption limit needs immediate revision to match the current rental cost.

Source:  moneycontrol.com

Govt. considering to discontinue exemption of Rs. 1.5 lakh available for Savings under Section 80 C?

It is learnt that Finance Ministry is considering to put up a proposal for discontinuing Exemption of Rs. 1.5 lakh presently available under Section 80C for Savings and Insurnace such as premium paid, investment in NSS, Mutual funds, Pension funds etc. Alternatively, the basic income tax exemption limit of Rs. 2.5 lakh would be raised to Rs. 4 lakh. Reasons behind such a bold move by Finance Ministry as per sources are:

1. Income Tax Department could not verify whether the Investments declared to be have been made to avail exemption under Section 80 C were actually made.

2. To make Income Tax Law simple by raising basic Income Tax Exemption Limit and avoid complexities involved in providing Income Tax Exemption to promote savings.

DA Likely To Be Hiked By 6% for CG employees from 1-1-2015

The central government employees have become entitled to 6 percent additional Dearness Allowance (DA) from January 1, 2015, even as the Consumer Price Index number for Industrial Workers remained stationary for the fifth month in a row.  The Consumer Price Index number for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW), which is used as a basis for computation of dearness allowance for central government employees, remained stationary at 253 in December 2014, an official release said. The index was at the same level in previous month.

However, the 12-month moving average of CPI-IW moved from 240 in July to 246 in January 2015 and consequently the additional DA of employees would go up from 107 per cent to 113 per cent from January 1, 2015, labour bureau sources said here. The inflation based on CPI-IW increased to 5.86 per cent in December 2014, from 4.12 per cent in November. Food inflation based on the index too jumped to 5.73 per cent during the month, from 2.56 per cent in previous month.

 

PTI