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Friday, October 31, 2014

Bank lockers: How much can you entrust them with your valuable deposits?

Swiss banks may no longer be a safe haven for unaccounted money, but even wealth on which tax has been duly paid is not safe in a bank locker. This was reinforced earlier this week when unidentified men dug a tunnel into the locker room of a Punjab National Bank branch in Sonepat, prised open 89 lockers and decamped with the contents.

According to the Reserve Bank of India guidelines, banks are not responsible for the contents of the lockers. A bank only needs to provide for protection of the lockers.

"The relationship between the bank and the locker customer is that of a lessor and a lessee," said Narayan Raja, CEO, Banking Code and Standard Board of India (BCSBI). "Since the contents of the locker are never shared with the bank, it is not responsible for the contents."

According to Section 152 of the Indian Contract Act, a bank is not responsible for any loss or damage to the contents of a locker.

Even the valuables deposited in lockers are not insured. "A bank does not have the ownership or knowledge of the contents of the locker and hence does not have any insurable interest in the matter," said a spokesperson of Axis Bank.

The law clearly appears loaded against the customer in this case. The customer is not only required to prove that the locker was robbed but also submit evidence of the extent of the loss. In the Sonepat incident, it won't be easy for the customers to provide evidence of the losses they claim even as there is clear evidence that the lockers were indeed robbed.

However, customers can claim some compensation if they can prove that the loss or damage happened due to negligence on part of the bank. "If the negligence by the bank is proved, or a bank employee was involved (in the theft), it becomes a vicarious liability and the bank is liable to pay compensation," said Mumbai-based advocate VT Gokhale.

But the compensation may not cover the full loss. In one case decided by the banking ombudsman, it was established that the locker had been broken into. However, the maximum compensation that the ombudsman could award wasRs 10 lakh although the customer had claimed a loss of Rs 23 lakh.

Consumer courts have also come to the rescue of customers in cases where negligence is proved.

In July 2007, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission ( NCDRC) awarded compensation to a customer after termites ate into currency notes and important papers kept in the bank locker. It ruled that "the bank was bound to ensure that the respondent's locker remained safe in all respects".

There is not much that a customer can do to avoid such problems. Reading the terms and conditions of the locker agreement before hiring one is always a sensible precaution, though.

Avoid entities that make customers sign a declaration saying that the bank will not be liable for loss of goods in the locker. Similarly, check that the locker is in good physical condition and is not placed in a basement.

Don't take lockers in the lower rows and do make sure that the cash and documents are sealed in an airtight and watertight plastic pouch or bag.

Source:-The Economic Times

Processing of files referred to DOPT for advice/clarification - procedure to be followed.

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'Indian postal banking has lots of scope due to connectivity'-Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

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Statue of Unity, an Icon of India: a marvel beyond imagination-Special Feature:Sardar Patel-National Unity Day

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Posting in JTS Cadre in Odisha Circle

Shri Hari Pada Kora a JTS officer of Indian Postal Service Group-A from West Bengal Circle allotted to Odisha Circle vide Directorate Memo No.4-3/2013-SPG dated 16-10-2014 is posted as Sr. Superintendent, RMS ‘N’ Division, Cuttack w.e.f. 01-12-2014 vide Circle Office Memo No.ST/2-34(2)/2012 dated 30-10-2014. 

PA/SA Direct Recruitment Examination-2014- Publication of result regarding

There is possibility of publication of result of PA/SA Direct Recruitment Examination-2014 of Odisha Circle in the second week of November-2014. 

Functional email IDs of CO/RO/DA(P) Offices of Odisha Circle

Designation  Official Position 
e-mail ID
CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
PMG, Berhampur Region, Berhampur
PMG, Sambalpur Region, Sambalpur
Director of Accounts(Postal), Cuttack
DPS(HQ), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
DPS (BD & Mails), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
DPS, O/o PMG, Sambalpur Region, Sambalpur
APMG (Vigilance/Investigation), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(Staff), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(Legal/Technical), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(Technology Operation), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(BD), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(PMU), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(Mail), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(Accounts), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(Recruitment), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(Building/MM), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(FS), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(Est), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(OL), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
DDM(PLI), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
Manager(Project Arrow), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AAO(Budget), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar
AD(PG), O/o CPMG, Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Austerity drive: No first class air travel for bureaucrats

New Delhi, Oct 30 (PTI) Unveiling an austerity drive to trim fiscal deficit, the government has banned first class air travel for bureaucrats, meetings in five-star hotels and purchase of cars while freezing new appointments.

The measures that are aimed at cutting non-plan spending by 10 per cent includes a ban on filling of vacant posts to reduce fiscal deficit to a 7-year low of 4.1 per cent of GDP.

Government Committed to Increase Savings Rate in the Country

National Savings Institute (NSI), Ministry of Finance, Government of India jointly celebrated here today the World Thrift Day, in collaboration with World Savings & Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), Brussels. In his message on this occasion, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that “Thriftiness teaches us to be more modest and restrain ourselves in using scarce resources as well as provide support to the developmental efforts by mobilization of resources through National Savings Schemes”. The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley in his message stated that “ It should be the endeavour of all the agencies engaged in mobilization of savings to ensure that the savings movement is taken to the farthest corners of our country”. 

Speaking on the occasion, Shri G.S. Sandhu, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Government of India said that the Government of India is committed to boost the savings rate in the country and he also informed that “Pradhan Mantri Jan- Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)” a massive Financial Inclusion Mission has been launched by the Government. It will bring unbanked section of the society into formal financial sector. It was highlighted that various steps have been taken by the banks in this direction. These include opening of basic savings account with zero balance and providing of micro insurance products to the account holders. Beneficiaries would get Rupay Debit Card having inbuilt accidental insurance cover of Rs. 1 lakh. It was highlighted that Department of Posts may also leverage technology and its tremendous reach in this Mission. 

Earlier speaking on the occasion, Dr. Rajat Bhargava, Joint Secretary (Budget), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India told that two new products will be launched soon by the Government. These will be of tremendous significance in increasing the savings rate and giving more choices to small savers. It was further stated that time has come to look for a change and means to provide a safety network in the shape of new products to the young customers. 

Department of Posts informed about the modernization measures being taken by them. Ms. Fiona Joyce, Head of International Relations, World Savings Bank Institute (WSBI) assured all cooperation with India in enhancing the savings rate in Indian economy. 


Expenditure Management - Economy Measures and Rationalisation of Expenditure

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Policy guidelines for Extension of tenure of Board level incumbents where vigilance clearance is not available.

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29th All Odisha Postal Cultural Meet-2014

The 29th All Odisha Postal Cultural Meet-2014 inaugurated today the 30th October, 2014 at Bhanjakala Mandap, Near BJB Collge, Bhubaneswar at 10.30 hours.  
Sri Md Asif Zackie , Asst Director (Sports, culture and OL) O/o the CPMG, Bhubaneswar was the Chief Guest, Sri Subash Chandra Barik , Sr Supdt of Post offices, Bhubaneswar Division was the Guest. Sri Debi Prasad Nayak, Asst Supdt, (HQ) O/o the Sr Supdt of Post offices, Bhubaneswar Division offered the vote of thanks. 

More than 180 participants  from across the Odisha Postal Circle  are competing  on  19  different  cultural events during the meet. The event is organized by Sr Supdt of Post Offices, Bhubaneswar Division, and Odisha Sports Board, O/o the CPMG, Odisha Circle,Bhubaneswar.

Shri Tilak De, Chief Postmaster General, Odisha Circle and Shri Prafulla Kar, eminent singer of Odisha will grace the occasion as Chief Guest and Guest of Honour respectively in the closing ceremony to be held at 17:00 hours on 31/10/2014.

Disciplinary proceedings against the Official / Officers

To view Department of Posts Letter No.C-14016/26/2009-VP dated 20-10-2014 please Click Here.

Sh Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications & IT inaugurated the World Savings & Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) Postal Savings Banks Forum 2014, in New Delhi on 29/10/2014

To view please Click Here

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Enhancement of grant-in-aid to Resident Welfare Association-reg.

To view Department of Personnel and Training letter No. 5/11/2010-Welfare dated 8-5-2014 please Click Here.

Message for IPs/ASPs of Odisha Circle

The time-schedule for preparation / completion of APARs has been prescribed in Dept. of Per. & Trg. OM dated 23-7-2009 which is as below:-

Sl. No.
Date by which to be completed
Submission of self-appraisal to Reporting Officer by officer to be reported upon
15th April
Submission of report by Reporting Officer to Reviewing Officer
30th June
Report to be completed by Reviewing Officer and to be sent to Administration or CR Section
31st July
Disclosure to the officer reported upon
1st September
Receipt of representation, if any, on APAR
15 days from the date of receipt of communication
Forwarding of representation to the Competent Authority
21st September
Disposal of representation by the Competent Authority
Within one month from date of receipt of representation
Communication of the decision of the Competent Authority on the representation
15th November
End of entire APAR process , after which the APAR will be finally taken on record
30th November

It is experienced that in many instances the Reporting Officers and Reviewing Officers are not strictly adhering to the time line to complete the APARs and in some cases it is not being disclosed to the officer reported upon. This is resulting in delay for holding DPC for promotion and screening committee for MACP cases.

In the four monthly meeting held today the 28th October, 2014, the Circle Secretary urged for kind intervention of the Circle Administration in the matter and suggested to put a system in Staff section of Circle Office in place for monitoring on adherence of Time-schedule for preparation / completion / disclosure of APARs. The same has been agreed by the Circle Administration.

Each IP/ASP of Odisha Circle is requested to verify if the APAR for the year 2013-14 is disclosed to him. If the same has not been disclosed to any IP/ASP, he is requested to share the information with the Circle Secretary through email to / / for taking up the matter with the Circle / Regional Administration as the case may be.   

Does new Right to Information circular endanger activists?

A recent department of personnel and training (DoPT) memorandum, directing all ministries and government departments to upload applications received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and replies given on their websites, has opened a Pandora's box. 

Owing to lack of clarity in this circular, several RTI activists and legal experts fear the process may result in disclosure of applicants' names and endanger them. Some others, though, say such a disclosure is in the interest of transparency. 

Uploading RTI applications and replies (including appeals) is expected to bring in transparency. Further, it will avoid queries on information already available in public domain. However, the DoPT memorandum dated October 21 makes no specific mention of whether information seekers' personal details will be revealed while uploading their queries, thus sparking off fears. 

If names are revealed, there are fears that RTI activists could face attacks. Till date, around 42 RTI activists have been murdered and over 300 assaulted, says Venkatesh Nayak, RTI activist and programme coordinator at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. 

"India doesn't have overarching privacy laws like the UK's Data Protection Act," says Nayak. In the UK, replies to queries given to applicants under the Freedom of Information Act (akin to our RTI Act) are uploaded with applicants' names blanked out. However, RTI applicants' identity could possibly be protected by an earlier DoPT memorandum issued on January 6, based on a Calcutta high court order. 

This order held that applicants need not disclose any personal details while filing RTI queries, other than their post office (PO) box numbers. Government bodies could insist on personal details, only if they are faced any difficulty with the PO box number. In this scenario, though, the court stated: "It would be the solemn duty of the authorities to hide such information, particularly from their websites so that people at large would not know of the applicant's personal details." 

However, a high court order, unlike that of the Supreme Court is not the law of the land. "DoPT's memorandum based on the Calcutta high court order and its recent memorandum are only binding on the DoPT. It would only have 'persuasive powers' on other government departments and ministries. Thus, a ministry can choose to upload RTI queries with or without applicants' names or choose not to upload any RTI query, because DoPT's OMs strictly speaking are only guidelines and not law," says Nayak. 

TOI spoke with a few officials from various ministries who agree that a clarification regarding disclosure of the applicant's name would be helpful. 

"If India wants to protect RTI activists' identity, it must amend the RTI Act or pass a government-notified rule on the matter," adds Nayak. 

Opinion is divided on the need to do so. "Responses to RTI queries are public documents. Information should be denied only as per exemptions in the Act and no general exemption can be sought for the names of RTI applicants," says Shailesh Gandhi, RTI activist and former Central Information Commissioner. 

"Everyone who takes on powerful interests, whether or not they use RTI, put themselves in danger. Why should RTI activists have separate protection? We are trying to create better systems for all and not create a new class of VIPs," says Gandhi. 

"If very sensitive information is asked for we are aware of the fact that it is usually not provided by the PIO and during the process of appeals the applicant's name is leaked to the affected party. Unfortunately, this will continue irrespective of whether peoples' names are on government websites. A very few (probably less than 1% to 2%) do use RTI to harass officers or get a favour. Displaying the RTIs would deter them," he says.

Source:-The Economic Times

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Government to launch revamped Kisan Vikas Patra soon: Official

The government will soon launch the revamped Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) besides some new saving instrument programmes for the girl child as well for the physically challenged person, a senior finance ministry official said today. 

"We are going to launch the revamped Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) soon again in the form of saving instrument," Rajat Bhargava, Joint Secretary (Budget) in the ministry finance said at an event here. 

"Similarly, the government of India is also going to launch some new saving instrument programmes for girl child as well as for the physically challenged person who has not been covered so far (under the programme)," Bhargava added. 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in the Budget speech, had said he will re-introduce the KVP, which was a very popular instrument among small savers. 

"I plan to reintroduce the instrument to encourage people, who may have banked and unbanked savings to invest in this instrument," Jaitley had said. 

The KVP was discontinued by the UPA government in 2011 following the Shyamala Gopinath Committee report. It had suggested that KVPs may be discontinued as they are prone to misuse. 

KVP was a popular saving scheme that doubled the money invested in eight years and seven months. The government sold these saving bonds through Post Offices in the country. 

The new government has identified financial inclusion and access to formal financial channels as a priority area and the reintroduction of KVP is seen as furthering this objective.

Source:-The Economic Times

CHQ News:- GS sent formal request for meeting with 7CPC during its visit to Mumbai from 6th November, 2014 to 8th November, 2014

No. CHQ/AIAIASP/7CPC-Memorandum/2014             dated  : 28th Oct. 2014
The Secretary,
7th Central Pay Commission, 
PO Box No – 4599
Hauz Khas Post Office,
New Delhi-110016
Sub:  Meeting with Hon’ble 7CPC at Mumbai to discuss Memorandum of All India Association of Inspectors and Assistant Superintendents Posts.  

Ref:  Commissions visit to Mumbai

Respected Sir,

        All India Association of Inspectors and Assistant Superintendents Posts is single recognized Association in the Department of Posts functioning for the cause of Inspectors, Posts and Assistant Superintendents, Posts & equally for the growth of the Nation.        

        This Association representing 4197  Group ‘B’ officers in the Department of Posts has already submitted its Memorandum to Hon’ble 7CPC under letter dated 1st July 2014 (copy enclosed) and same was acknowledged by Commission on 27-8-2014 (copy enclosed). 

        Inspector Posts and Assistant Superintendents Posts working in Department of Posts are middle level managers & responsible to implement all new schemes of the Department i.e Core Banking Solutions, Rural Information and Communication Tool Solutions, McCamish, Core System Integrator (handling all the Postal Operation), MGNREGA  & supervising over the entire staff working in the Department of Posts in the grade pay of Rs.1800/-, 1900/-, 2000/-, 2400/-, 2800/-, 4200/-, 4600/-.       

        It is requested that this Association may kindly be given an opportunity to appear before the Hon’ble  Commission in person during its visit to Mumbai to discuss its view in oral evidence on issues relating to the Inspectors, Posts and Assistant Superintendents, Posts and also other vital issues of common interests concerning the Postal Employees and Central Govt. Employees.       

Yours faithfully,

Encl : As above
(Vilas Ingale)
General Secretary