Saturday, September 20, 2014

Service regularizations finally

While the entire service regularization process of temporary employees under the State government has been mired in confusion and even controversy the past few months, the State government seems to be finally getting its act together in terms of ironing out issues as well as concerns of the process and those of the employees. However, it has to be said that resolution of these issues and concerns does not necessarily mean closure of the process or even that all regularized employees will go laughing to the bank to collect their dues.
In terms of getting the process underway again and getting a move on, the state government has ordered the regularization of 3,093 temporary employees presently under muster roll and work charged dispensation. In fact the Cabinet, as per officials, has ordered the process be complete by 20 September, Saturday, in order that these employees get their due salary according to the regularized structure from October onwards. These 3,093 employees are only from the total of those who have completed 15 years of service. That is to say, those completing 10 years of service have a further waiting period to endure. A more pertinent concern that has cropped is the doubt among some of the Work Charged category of employees that with the regularization of their services their total monthly pay packet was likely to get diminished.
The entire regularization process has been undertaken afresh by the government with deserving employees being given new office memorandums.
DoP Secretary, AK Chettri, informs that the departmental committees set up to verify documents have finished their work and forwarded their reports which were put up to the government. The Government then approved the regularization of 3,093 employees having completed 15 years of service and now, as per the Secretary, it is up to the individual department heads to execute office memorandums with their employees.
In the notification issued in February this year, prior to the general elections, the state had ordered the regularization of 4,002 employees having completed 15 years of service. With the re-verification process the departmental committees had to follow a format designed by the Department of Personnel and, as informed, there were particularly 3 columns in this format pertaining to whether the employee had a Certificate of Identification, a Sikkim Subject Certificate or an Indian Birth Certificate as per notification of the state government. Only those with a ‘Yes’ for an answer in all three columns have been cleared for regularization as of now.
“Those with anomalies will be further examined by the concerned departments,” explained the Secretary.
The details of ‘anomalies’ are not available but it is obvious that these pertain to non possession of the documents mentioned above or doubts regarding those. Other anomalies or doubts pertain to the length of service put in by the particular employee which requires even further verification. What is clear that the number of employees with 15 year of service to be regularized has come down drastically from the earlier figure of 4,002.
Meanwhile, a more pressing concern among a section of the Work Charged category is the confusion over their monetary emoluments once regularized. Pema Doma, the erstwhile president of the MR/WC Employees’ Association shares that the DoP has decided to club the grade pay of the WC employees with that of Junior Driver rank. This is one of the 3 new nomenclatures introduced by the DoP for the posts to be held by the employees who are being regularized. “The grade pay of junior driver is Rs. 2,800 while most of us [WC employees] have a grade pay of Rs. 3,400 over the tenure of our 15 years of service. This means that we will get a reduced monthly salary according to the new pay structure,” Ms. Doma states.
According to her, this bracketing will cost those WC employees having a higher grade pay about Rs.2000 – Rs.2500 per month. This clubbing is apropos rules of the department. A group of employees had also visited the DoP officials on this matter however they were told that these were the rules and any grievance as such can be put up to their department head. On the other hand, Secretary, DoP was of the opinion that there should not be any such decrease in pay as there was provision of “pay protection”. And this is what even the aggrieved employees point out as the same is mentioned in the notification. “We were assured of pay protection but it seems that the rules will have to prevail”.
The employees point out that the increments they have received over the years of their service which has resulted in an enhanced grade pay will all come to naught.
While the departments have been directed to issue memorandums of appointment immediately the
Office Orders are to be issued to the employees only on their acceptance of the terms and conditions contained in the memorandum. And the date on which the new, read regularized, salary becomes effective, will be from the date the office order is signed. The memorandum states that the post is temporary and in the event that it becomes permanent the claim of the appointee will be examined on the basis of rules in force. It also mentions “…protection of pay in the form of personal pay”. Finally, employees have been 20 days from the date of issue of the memorandum to accept or decline the offer.

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