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Legacy Diaries

Purely a Manufacturing Defect

7th Pay Commission vs Bipartite Settlement - A Critical Comparison


Seventh Pay Commission seems to be a benchmark for all industry level wage talks post its implementation. In the banking industry, the wage talks for 11th Bipartite settlement had already begun with little headway so far in the negotiations. The delay is not taken positively, especially by the young bankers and most of the whats app groups and Facebook pages are flooded with comparison of bank pay with 7th pay commission. In fact, to my surprise there are many hard and ardent supporters for implementation of 7th Central Pay Commission in banks, which is nothing but a retrograde step and similar to killing a duck which lays a golden egg. As I had opportunity to taste both the settlements, I wish to come out with a critical comparison of both of them.

Features
10th Bipartite Settlement
7th Pay Commission
Which is Best?
Basic Pay
Rs.25,563.75 (including Special Pay)
Rs.56,100
7th CPC
Dearness Allowance
Revised once in 3 months with immediate effect.
Cabinet approves the revised DA once in 6 months and usually paid in arrears due to late announcement.
BPS
Annual Increment
Rs. 980 (which is 4.13% of Basic Pay)
3% of Basic Pay
BPS
House Rent Allowance
Rs.1659 (7%)/ Rs.1896 (8%)  Rs.2133 (9%)
Rs.4488 (8%) / Rs.8976 (16%)/ Rs.13,464 (24%)
BPS
Leased Accomodation : Even the present quantum provided for leased accomodation is more than the HRA received at every level as per 7th CPC
No Leased Accomodation
Option of availing 150%  of the eligible HRA
No option to avail 150% HRA
Annual Medical Allowance
Rs.8000. Apart for this, many banks provide monthly medical allowance too with a minimum of Rs.500
No such allowance
BPS
Professional Update Allowance
Increment Provided for JAIIB and CAIIB and reimbursement for other exams.
Fixed one time allowance of Rs.15000 which is hiked by 50% only in scientific departments like ISRO, DRDO, DAE etc.,
BPS
Deputation Allowance
7.75% (or Rs.4000) for outside and 4% (or Rs.2000) for same station
As per 6th CPC, the ceiling was same as Bank and now it is enhanced to Rs.4500 for same station and Rs. 9000 for outside
7th CPC
Hill Area Allowance
Min of Rs.750 to a max of Rs.2000
Rs. 900  as per 6th CPC and now it is abolished.
BPS
Entertainment Allowance
Rs.1800 for JMG 1 and Rs.4200 for JMG as BM
Provided for Cabinet Secretary and Railway Officers only. As per 6th CPC it was Rs.1000 for entry level officer and now it is abolished.
BPS
Conveyance Allowance
Rs. 9/km for Car and Rs.4.45/km for Two wheeler to travel on own vehicle for official duty
Approximately Rs.5.6 per KM for Car
BPS
Lodging Reimbursement
Rs.1000 to Rs.1500 per day (excluding Halting Allowance)
Rs.2250 per day ( no additional Halting Allowance)
More or Less same
Halting Allowance
Rs.800 to Rs.1300
Rs.900 (called as Lump Sum)
BPS
Transport Allowance
Provided as Petrol Allowance
Rs.3600 + DA / Rs.7200 + DA TPTA Cities
7th CPC
Travel Entitlement
2nd AC Train or Economy Class Flight
2nd AC Train or Economy Class Flight
Both Same
Medical Facility
Introduced Health Insurance Scheme
Recommended to introduce Health Insurance Scheme
Both Same





                                        LOANS


Festival Advance
1 Month Gross Pay
Officers not eligible for interest free Festival Advance.
BANK
Car Loan
Most of the Banks have Car Loan upto 9 Lakhs
Rs.1,80,000 or 8 month Basic whichever is less.
BANK
HBA
Most of the Banks have HBA not less than 50 Lakhs
25 Lakhs or 34 times of Basic whichever is less and recommended to reduces minimum service to 5 years from 10 years.
BANK




LEAVES 
CASUAL LEAVE
12 Days
8 Days
BPS
EL / PL
33 Days (1 Day for every 11 Days)
30 Days
BPS
Medical/ Commutted/ Sick Leave
30 Days of Half Pay Basis. Medical Certificates waived twice in a year
20 Days of Half Pay Basis. No waiver of medical certificate
BPS
Unavailed Casual Leave
CL unavailed can be carried upto 3 years
CL unavailed expires and no option to carry over
BPS
Maternity Leave
12 Months (max of 6 months in 1 occasion)
180 Days
BPS
Paternity Leave
15 Days
15 Days
Both Same




PROMOTION 
Promotion
Provision of Fast Track Channel. Once in 3 years promotion can be taken and oppurtunity to reach Scale 7 (7 Promotions) in 18 years.
Indian Audit and Account Service has the minimum period to reach Senior Administrative Grade (5th Promotion) and it takes 17 years on a Average.
BPS



  From the above table it is very clear that it is just the hike in basic pay which is having an impact in the pay slip for employees under CPC. Other than Basic Pay, the allowance and facilities, even as per the 10th Bipartite settlement is better in banks. Concessional loans provided to bankers are unparalleled. Leaves are much better. Once the other Saturdays are also declared leave as per the charter of demands of 11th BPS, then leaves will be one of the best in the industry. It is due to lack awareness that many insist for CPC by throwing away BPC. If the interest/EMI benefits due to concessional loans and other allowances are also included to arrive at cost to company basis, then bank pays are better than any other pay in public sector. Let us learn to appreciate what we have. Instead of asking for implementation of 7th CPC, it is wise enough to ask for equivalent basic pay within the BPS ambit which is already in the charter of demands.

Day Zero


“You may have to buy even water”, a common warning given to us during the nineties when I was school kid and now within two decades the situation had got worse. Now I may have to tell my daughter that her generation may not get water in future even if they are ready to buy, if water conservation is not done at present. But is the issue as serious as portrayed? Yes, the water crisis in Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa is a recent example.

So What Happened in Cape Town?

 Cape Town was running short of water and date for day zero was announced by the Municipal Corporation. Technically speaking if storage in reservoirs is below 13.5% then it is considered to Day Zero. So the implication was that showers are not allowed for more than 90 seconds, 50L of ration water as daily allowance to residents and much more restrictions. 
To many of us, it was just a news. After all it didn’t happen in India, right? Cape Town is just a predecessor and there are many cities including Bengaluru are in the verge of the acute water crisis leading to day zero, according to a report in Down to Earth.

Source: Down To Earth


LivPure #CuttingPanni Initiative

 In the midst of the global water crisis, LivPure has come out with an interesting initiative based on the Cutting Chai culture of Mumbai. In short, it’s an attempt to conserve water by starting to use half a cup of water. The below video is one of the interesting videos which was relased as part of the Live Pure #CuttingPanni initiative. There is always a half-leftover glass of water after every meeting. Why not just take half of glass of water, instead of wasting the other half?


Kerala Experience

 I visited Mattanur in Kannur district; Kerala a couple of years back and the awareness among children’s in conserving water is something which shook me awestruck. My spouse house is surrounded by paddy field and Rubber plantations with water running from the mountain in a narrow canal throughout the year. Water in well is near the ground and there is absolutely no water shortage or crisis any time in the past.  On a fine morning a girl related to my spouse and who is less than 10 years of age was using the tap in front of the house to wash her face and brush her teeth. She just throttled the knob a little instead of flushing the water from the tap which was at high pressure. My experience here in city kitchens was different as we continue to keep water to flush at high pressure while washing utensils. Her father who was standing near the paddy field called her to bring something and she moved instantly by closing the tap. As she moved suddenly, she didn’t close it fully and drops of water was leaking. Her father who noticed it asked her to stop running towards him and told her to turn back and close the tap fully without wasting water. She in turn came back and closed it fully. It all happened in minutes and both of them continued to do their work. But the incident is still fresh in my mind and incident was shared with all my friends many time in the last few years. Is this the reason why Kerala is green and people are aware of the basic necessities of life instead of getting consumed into materialistic life? May be or maybe not, but such habitual changes is the need of the hour to conserve water. Children’s should be taught to conserve water and it should become a habit.

Sign the Petition @ https://www.change.org/p/cuttingpaani and be part of the noble initiative to save water


The Last 10 days: Insights into a Bankers Life

 08TH November, 2016 (Tuesday)


  I work in a Public Sector Bank, serving in a backward district (as per the government classification) in a small rural town of Tamil Nadu. Most of the account holders are farmers, Agricultural labourers and Pensioners. The first week of November, as usual like other months had queues till evening as customers came to withdraw their salaries and pensions. The situations seemed to ease on 07th and on 8th and the transactions were normal. Looming NPA is an issue in almost all banks and recovery of these bad loans is almost a day to day activity. We had an informal meeting that day for the strategies to be followed to increase CASA (Deposits and Savings) in line with the ongoing campaigns in the bank, met few bad loan borrowers and late in the evening there was an official visit by the Chief Regional Manager to appraise the performance of the branch. At around 19:30 Hrs the activities of the day was over and everyone disbursed back to their homes. My home is an hour from my branch and I travel by own vehicle every day. I reached home at 20:30 HRS, television was not switched on and I turned on my WiFi to have a glance at my WhatsApp. Within seconds, my WhatsApp was flooded with chats and messages in groups. I usually have the habit of opening individual messages before proceeding to the groups. One of my friend who is in Abu Dhabhi sent a screenshot of popular Tamil daily which was running a scroll about the Demonetization and asked me whether it was true? Without thinking a minute, I replied it might be a fake message. However, I was surprised by the chats in the groups and instantly switched on my television to realise that it is in fact true. The next few hours went in attending/making calls to friends, relatives etc. I personally felt it to be strong and bold move to curb terrorist financing, counterfeit currency and black money. 


09th November, 2016 (Wednesday)

 It was declared holiday to public, but it was a non-business working day to the staff. With no idea of what is going to happen on that day we came to the branch as usual. Guidelines started to come slowly. First we compiled the denominations available with us on that day and forwarded it to our Regional Office/Central Office, Which in turn forwarded it RBI to get a glimpse of Rs.500/Rs.1000 already in hand with banks in their Branch Vault, Currency Chests, ATM’s, Business Correspondents etc. We went through the Circulars to get idea about the procedures and forms to be collected. Rs.500/Rs.1000 currencies in the branches were remitted to the currency chest and new Rs.2000 denominations and other small denominations were stocked in the vault to disburse next day. We made sure sufficient quantities of forms and slips are available. Despite some arrangements were made for the next day, I was in fact little tensed to handle the anticipated unprecedented rush.


The Last 10 Days: 10th November to 19th November

  Business hours of my branch start at 10.00 A.M and I usually reach my desk between 09.30 – 09.45 A.M to begin work. Being the re-opening day after demonetization, with no ATM’s to serve I started bit early and almost all banks on my way to my branch was flooding with people, couple of hours earlier than the business hours. My first site of relief is after seeing the police personnel who were deployed to maintain law and order situation. We briefed them about how we have planned to handle and strictly made everyone to come in queue’s to serve faster and better. So our team had two officers (including me), three clerks (who are authorised to handle cash), 1 sub-staff, 1 Jewel Appraiser, 4 Business Correspondents and 1 constable from the local police station. Among us only the three clerks can officially sit in counter’s to take and pay cash. It means officers cannot use their login to sit in counters to take cash. We deployed all three clerks and opened 3 counters for deposits and withdrawals. Depending on the queue in the other counter, they often swapped to receive and give payments. Business Correspondents and Jewel Appraiser were used to help people to fill forms and brief them about procedures. By this way we tried our best to make sure nobody waits in queue and is turned back later for want of documents.


To my surprise the first day was in fact pleasant. People listened to us and in fact supported us. There was absolutely no chaos (at least in my branch).Since all the clerks were used for deposits and withdrawals, I decided to give exchange from my desk by taking documents. Though it is little risky, you absolutely don’t have any choice. If something goes wrong, you need to answer as you are not expected to handle cash (for which cashiers are there) with little security around you. The new menu/ program created overnight by the IT team to exchange cash, was in fact a blessing in disguise. All the counting machines with UV facility to trace counterfeit currency were with the cashiers/clerks. I have to give exchange, but I cannot claim shortage of UV machines as a reason for fake currency exchanged by me without checking. I deployed a Business Correspondent (BC) for this purpose. Once I receive the document and cash for exchange, I gave the cash to him who stood near me. He takes few steps to the reach the counting machine with UV near a clerk and verifies its originality. Meanwhile, I verified the documents, fed them into the system and once the BC returns back after checking the currency, I took back the cash and exchanged new currency. This entire process took less than 15-20 seconds for a customer. To be short the BC near me was in fact running between the counters. What worried us was that even customers who had bank account didn’t prefer to deposit their cash in their accounts, even though the queue for deposits was much smaller than exchange. Though our system gave warning of any repeated identification number and mobile number, which is already fed to exchange cash. Some people started coming with different id’s and mobile numbers. Literally, if someone has PAN, ADHAAR, Voter Id, Driving Licence, Govt Issued ID Card and NREG Card. He can swap 6 times by providing different mobile numbers in a particular bank. Now you can imagine what if he does in all the other banks. The commission market by touts, kept the exchange queue’s never ending which added to our worry, as fear started creeping in that exchange queue is never going to end. We were able to stop few of those who exchanged already if we are able to remember them. But it often resulted in heated arguments.


 When we closed?

 To be frank many branches (which had currency chest) were almost open 24*7 and staff stayed there round the clock to make sure the dependent branches get their share of cash supply to handle their next day demand. In other branches the first two days (10th and 11th), the business hours were extended infinitely. Though the media briefed that timing have been extended till 20:00 Hrs. The instruction passed on to us was different. We were asked to serve till 20:00 Hrs or till the last customer whichever is later. Once the last customer was served, we then started the verification of the transactions, tallying of the cash with us and in the books. If everything goes right and the cash tallies, all is well. If there is short or excess, then it becomes a night mare. Technically, you cannot close your day when there is short or excess cash. Now the drama begins again late in the night. We take back all the vouchers of the day, check one by one again, verify the denomination and have to find from where the excess or short cash has come. If it is found, then its fine, if not then the cashier who had shortage in cash has to pay from his pocket. Yes, you read it right. He has to pay from his pocket the same day immediately to wind up. If there is excess, we park it in a temporary account (technically called Sundry Creditors) which has to be rectified in the subsequent days. With the load of work and stress, many cashiers have lost their hard earned salaries due to cash short at the end of the day. Many branches after tallying closed even at 01:00 or 02:00 in the mid night and despite the fact, he has to return next day well before the time to handle the queue. No leave strictly at any cost.


Food and Tea?

 We sat like machines, once you sit, you cannot stand again. Tea served at your desk, but you cannot have it till it chills. Most of the days we went to lunch around 15:00 Hrs and finished it in 10 minutes. As box from the home took extra time as we have to wash the plates and utensils. I personally didn’t take box from 11th and bought packets from nearby hotel, so that it is easy to take and move on immediately. 


Closing the Gate

The extension of time was for first two days. Despite the fact we tried to accommodate internally on Saturday and Sunday for some time even after the business hours. But how long can we keep on accommodating? At some point you have to close it and this was a break point in many branches which even led to heated arguments. Most of the abuses are not from our regular customers, but from others who came at last minute to exchange. The most painful moment is that, the out of the few who created chaos at the last minute abusing the frontline cashiers were in fact exchanging on behalf of someone for a commission. As Business Correspondents are localities, they come out with information about “who does what on behalf of whom”. Of course, yes we cannot do anything, as you cannot prove that the Rs.4000 is not his. Absolutely there is nothing other than placing inks in their finger was the option left behind to curb multiple exchanges in multiple banks. Whether it is right or wrong is different. The government had no other options which will work. Though there was announcement over it, it is only urban/ metro branches which got the inks earlier. Even till today many rural branches are yet to receive. But what happened as a result of the announcement is something different. There was a drastic reduction in people who turn to exchange, which helped us to focus on our own customers in the counter.

Personal Life

 I absolutely had no regrets joining the banking industry. In fact I was proud to be part of the black money clean up drive. Yes, our personal life and commitments got disturbed slightly. All these days, I just came back to home to have a sleep for few hours, not sure of the stock of vegetables and other groceries in home hoping my family would have managed, skipped all marriages and functions, asked my spouse to go alone to temple on our wedding Anniversary. But I understand all these are temporary. After all there is another Sunday to manage these commitments. 

Are the petroleum products really cheaper in our neighbouring countries?

 With the advent of social networking and instant messaging apps, dissemination of information to the common man is faster than the traditional media’s. However, there are many bogus and malafide claims with or without intention to spread fake information’s which are believed to be true by the users without verifying their authenticity. One such claim is related to the retail pricing of petroleum products in India vis-a-vis our neighbouring countries. Below is once such bogus post in a Facebook page. I am sure almost all of us would have read such stories in some way.


The official data published in the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India is published below gives us a different picture.


What the data reveals?

Petrol Cost
  • The present petrol cost in India is almost on par with our neighbouring countries, when calculated in Indian Rupees.
  • If even a Rupee difference is considered big, then we should look about how much the people in Pakistan and Sri Lanka pay in their respective currencies. Pakistani’s pay approximately Rs.80/L in Pakistani Rupee and Sri Lankans pay approximately Rs.117/ L in Sri Lankan Rupee.
  • Though the above comparison in their own currencies is not the right way to compare, it gives us a hint about its impact in their wallet.

Diesel, Kerosene and LPG prices
  • India has the lowest cost among all the nations for Diesel, Kerosene and LPG prices.
  • To me, the price of Diesel, Kerosene and LPG has more direct impact on the poor, than the petrol prices which benefits only the middle and upper classes.
My take on various taxes on these petroleum products
 It is true that various taxes levied increase the price of petroleum products. As on September 1, 2015 the cost paid by Oil Marketing Companies (OMC's) for a litre of petrol to refineries is Rs.25.40 (in HP). Where as the market price charged on consumers is around Rs.61.25. Out of the difference of Rs.35.85, Rs.29.71 is collected as tax, which is 48.25% of the cost of the petrol. Many point to this difference and ask for a reduction in petrol prices by reducing the taxes levied. As an individual personally I am not in  favour (specifically for petrol) of it. 

My stand as of now is due to the following reasons
,
  • Petrol in contrast with Diesel, Kerosene or LPG is used by Middle and Upper Classes of the Indian society. Why not someone like me who can spend Rs.75,000 for a Pulsar, cannot pay the additional cost as tax. Though they call it as Excise, VAT and so on, I see it as Carbon Tax for the pollution I make. If any reduction could be done, then the same can be done in Diesel, Kerosene or LPG which reaches the poor directly and indirectly.
  • The world we live is not exclusive for human beings, we are just part of the living world. After all decrease in petrol cost increases our chances to use personal vehicles there by increasing  pollution. Are we ready to kill the flora and fauna of this planet?
  • People may prefer to use their own or buy new vehicles, thereby increasing traffic congestion in cities and need for more flyovers, bridges and roads. From where does this money come from? After all we have to be taxed again at an additional cost of environment which increases our medical bill.
  • The quantum of price that may be reduced can be invested in developing better public transports to promote citizens to use public transport rather than individual vehicles. Why not a dedicated public transport corridor in a traffic congested city?

Let us from now let not be moved away by fake and bogus claims and instead being an educated try to understand the issues in a broader sense and think in a rationalistic way.