ALL INDIA CENTRAL EXCISE INSPECTORS’ ASSOCIATION
(RECOGNISED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, MINISTRY OF FINANCE, CBEC)
VIDE F.NO.B.12017/1/2004-Ad.IV A dated 27.05.2013
FEEDBACK ON THE
Address for Correspondence:
RANANJAY PRATAP SINGH, NATIONAL VICE-PRESIDENT,
AICEIA (WEST ZONE), CENTRAL EXCISE BHAVAN,
RACE COURSE RING ROAD, RAJKOT-360001
Submission made at Ahmedabad on 19.01.2015
Tax Administrative Reforms Commission,
Sub: Feedback on the recommendations of TARC-reg.
The Association would like to convey its gratitude to the Tax Administrative Reforms Commission for having provided an opportunity to submit feedback on its Report.
There are some issues pertaining to the largest workforce working under CBEC which need to be addressed for ensuring better working conditions leading to the growth of the Nation and the same are submitted herein below for kind consideration:
( (1) RECRUITMENT OF INSPECTORS
The Commission has recommended that “Recruitment needs to be made on the basis of carefully drawn recruitment plans that balance the short and long term needs and career aspirations of officers.”
In this regard, it is to submit that reduction in DR quota vacancies may have a cascading effect on employment of youth in this country and so, no reduction in DR quota should be proposed.
( (2) LIMITED DEPARTMENTAL COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION
The Commission has recommended that “A system of limited Departmental competitive examinations should be introduced by earmarking 33 per cent of the vacancies in the promotions quota in Group B as well as Group A, so that relatively more meritorious and younger officers in the feeder grades can get a fast track in promotions”. (Section IV.3.c)
In this regard, it is to submit that the recommendation is appreciable one keeping in view the interests of meritorious, young and energetic officers.
( (3) LATERAL ENTRY OF EXPERTS
The Commission has recommended that “Provision should be made for lateral entry of experts in key roles and specialized areas. While they may be on contract for 5 years, subject to their suitability and willingness, they should be able to integrate with the organization at the end of the contract period.”
In this regard, it is to submit that the recommendation is appreciable one with an addition that the entry of technical experts should not be restricted to a certain period.
( (4) LITIGATIONS BY THE DEPARTMENT ON SERVICE MATTERS
There is much litigation that is pending in various Courts/Tribunals on Service matters. In many cases, it has been experienced that even if, the cases are decided in favour of the employees, when it comes to acceptance and implementation of the judgments of the Hon’ble Courts, the Department always takes a rigid stand and challenges the Orders by way of Appeal in a higher judicial forum. Even in cases where relief is granted by the highest judicial forum, the Department chooses to implement it only to the employees who have gone in Appeal instead of extending the benefit to all the similarly placed employees.
Under such circumstances, it is requested that the Commission may recommend that in the event of above identical situations, where the Courts grant relief, right to equality must prevail and differential treatment should not be meted out. This ratio of the Courts’ Orders should be applied to all such cases leading to reduction of Court Cases.
( (5) ABOLITION OF UNIFORM FOR INSPECTORS
It is suggested that the Commission may, in order to usher in a fresh era in the Department, like to recommend, abolition of Uniform for Central Excise and Service Tax and the age old practice of wasting man hours on Control Room duties.
( (6) HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The Commission has recommended that “The CBEC needs to develop a human resource management system, as has been done by the CBDT; collaboration and knowledge exchange between the two DG’s (HRD) will enable CBEC to get such a system going in shorter time”. (Section IV.3.b)
The DG, HRD is not fully operationalised to carry out the functions for which it was originally created. All these years, the officers from CSS who are experienced in administration/establishment related matters were handling these matters. However, after the work is shifted to the HRD, the things have not improved for want of experienced hands in the field of establishment and administration. Basically the officers in the field formations who are currently posted to man these offices do not always have the personal/domain knowledge in the area of establishment and policy formulation. Therefore, it is necessary that a pool of officers are identified and they are imparted proper training by the DOP&T/UPSC in order to get accustomed to the varied procedures and rules in formulating the policy and administering them.
( (7) PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM
The Commission has made elaborate recommendations in order to revamp the existing performance appraisal system. The system should be reformed in such a manner that the weightage is given to the actual work performed by the officer and the skill sets he/she possesses rather than the personal attributes. A measurable system in each area of work should be formulated so that the evaluation can be made in a scientific manner.
( (8) TRAINING
The Commission has recommended that “Learning and development should occupy a central place in people advancement and all officers must undergo a minimum 10 days of training every year.” (Section IV.3.f)
The Inspector Cadre is not being offered adequate training facilities at NACEN which has paucity of residential accommodation and one has to make his own arrangement when nominated from an outstation. Also, officers are being imparted training months after actual working in field formations.
If required, net connected conferencing classroom may be adopted so as to ensure better quality training methods and a larger pool of faculty needs to be created for the purpose. Further it should be ensured that whenever an officer is nominated for training at NACEN from outstation, arrangements should necessarily be made by the Department for their stay and travel.
Moreover, suitable substitute should be provided in lieu of officers proceeding on training so that Departmental work may not get hampered and the concerned officers on return from training may not feel overburdened by pending work.
( (9) INFRASTRUCTURAL ISSUES
The Department has moved from manual filing to on-line filing and wants to improve the tax payer facilitation. However, the above policy remains mostly on paper and has not been implemented to its full potential due to inadequate infrastructure. The situation has become worst after Cadre Restructuring. Therefore, it is requested that the Commission may recommend upgradation of infrastructure at all levels in CBEC.
(10)RECRUITMENT OF LAW OFFICERS AND CREATION OF LEGAL CELL
In the present set up, the Show Cause Notices are drafted by the Executive Officers working in Ranges/Divisional Office/Audit/Anti-Evasion. After adjudication proceedings gets over, reaching finality of the case takes several years after passing through the appellate process with Commissioner (Appeals), CESTAT, High Court, Supreme Court depending upon the nature of the case. As per the rotation/transfer policy of the Department, no officer continues to handle a case for more than two years; the new officer has to study the entire case once again for appearing before Appellate Authorities, submission of parawise comments and submitting feedback to the Departmental representatives. Therefore, the present system reduces the efficiency of presenting the cases before legal foras thereby reducing the percentages of verdicts in favour of revenue considerably. Whereas, on the other hand, the trade hands over their case to expertise consultants who handle their case and the major Assessees have their own legal cell to attend their cases, so that the continuity is not lost and results in higher probability of the ultimate decision in their favour.
If an exclusive legal cell, like in Banking Sector, is formed at Commissionerate level by encouraging officers with Law background, who will exclusively handle the litigations, the efficiency of the adjudication system can be improved to a great extent. Officers posted to such legal cells should be paid special allowance similar to the allowances paid to the Departmental Representatives who are representing the Department before the Tribunal. This will help improve the performance of the Department in handling Legal matters effectively.
With best wishes and hope that the feedback submitted hereinabove shall be taken into consideration while formulating the final recommendations,
(Rananjay Pratap Singh)