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Friday, April 28, 2017


The Committee on Allowances, constituted by the Ministry of Finance to examine the 7 th CPC recommendations on Allowances, submitted its Report to Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister on 27.04.2017. The Committee was headed by Shri Ashok Lavasa, Finance Secretary and Secretary (Expenditure) and had Secretaries of Home Affairs, Defence, Health & Family Welfare, Personnel & Training, Post and Chairman, Railway Board as Members and Joint Secretary (Implementation Cell) as Member Secretary. The Committee was set up in pursuance of the Cabinet decision on 29.06.2016 when approving the 7th CPC recommendations on pay, pensions and related issues were approved. The decision to set up the Committee was taken in view of significant changes recommended by the 7th CPC in the allowances structure and a large number of representations received in this regard from various Staff Associations as well as the apprehensions conveyed by various Ministries / Departments. The 7th CPC had recommended that of a total of 196 Allowances, 52 be abolished altogether and 36 be abolished as separate identities by subsuming them in another allowance. The Committee took note of all the representations received from various stakeholders on the 7th CPC recommendations on Allowances. Representations and demands for modifications were received in respect of 79 allowances which have been examined in detail by the Committee. In doing so, the Committee interacted with all the members of the Standing Committee of National Council (Staff Side), Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM) as well the representatives of various Staff Associations of Railways, Postal employees, Doctors, Nurses, and Department of Atomic Energy. It also interacted with the representatives of the Defence Forces, DGs of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) namely CRPF, CISF, BSF, ITBP, SSB, and Assam Rifles as also senior officers from IB and SPG to understand the viewpoint of their personnel. As mentioned in the Report, the Committee held a total of 15 meetings and was assisted by a Group of Officers headed by Additional Secretary (D/o Expenditure) in examining the representations. Based on such extensive stakeholder consultations and detailed examination, the Committee has suggested certain modifications in the 7th CPC recommendations so as to address the concerns of the stakeholders in the context of the rationale behind the recommendations of the 7th CPC as well as other administrative exigencies. Modifications have been suggested in some allowances which are applicable universally to all employees as well as certain other allowances which apply to specific employee categories such as Railwaymen, Postal employees, Scientists, Defence Forces personnel, Doctors, Nurses etc. The Report, now being examined in the Department of Expenditure, will be placed before the Empowered Committee of Secretaries (E-CoS) set up to screen the 7th CPC recommendations and to firm up the proposal for approval of the Cabinet. It may be recalled that while recommendations of the 7th CPC on pay and pension were implemented with the approval of Cabinet, allowances continue to be paid at old rates. After consideration by the E-CoS, the proposal for implementation of 7 th CPC recommendations on Allowances after incorporating the modifications suggested by the Committee on Allowances in its Report shall be placed before the Cabinet for approval.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

No justification to suspend operation of Lokpal Act: SC

There is no justification to keep the enforcement of Lokpal Act suspended till the proposed amendments, including on the issue of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, are cleared by Parliament, the Supreme Court said today.

The apex court said the Act was an eminently workable piece of legislation and it "does not create any bar to the enforcement of the provisions".

It said the amendments proposed to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013, and the views of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, were attempts at streamlining the working of the Act and does not constitute legal hindrances or bars its enforcement as it stands today.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha allowed a batch of petitions filed by NGO Common Cause and others and said such attempts for amendment cannot halt the operation and execution of the law which the executive in its wisdom has already given effect to and has brought into force by resorting to the provisions of the Act.

"We, therefore, conclude by quoting Justice Krishna Iyer in reference, the Special Courts Bill, 1978 and holding that the Act as it stands today is an eminently workable piece of legislation and there is no justification to keep the enforcement of the Act under suspension till the amendments, as proposed, are carried out," the bench said.

The NGO had sought the immediate appointment of Lokpal in the country.

Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, had argued that even though the Lokpal Bill was passed by Parliament in 2013 and came into effect in 2014, the Lokpal was not being appointed by the government deliberately.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, had said the Lokpal cannot be appointed in the current scenario, as amendments regarding the definition of the Leader of the Opposition (LOP) in the Lokpal Act was pending before the Parliament.

Rohatgi also submitted that there can be no direction to the Legislature to frame any law or amend the existing law or complete a legislative exercise within any time frame.

To this, the bench said the parliamentary wisdom of seeking changes in an existing law by means of an amendment lies within the "exclusive domain of the legislature and it is not the province of the court" to express any opinion on the exercise of the legislative prerogative in this regard.

It said that section 4(2) of the Act makes it clear that the appointment of Chairperson or a Member of the Lokpal will not become invalid merely because of the reason of any vacancy in the selection committee.

"If, at present, the LOP is not available, surely, the Chairperson and the other two members of the Selection Committee, namely, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or his nominee may proceed to appoint an eminent jurist as a member of the Selection Committee under Section 4(1)(e) of the Act," the bench said.

The bench, which also highlighted the unique character and importance of the Act in the contemporary world, said,"We also do not see any legal disability in a truncated Selection Committee to constitute a Search Committee for preparing a panel of persons for consideration for appointment as the Chairperson and members of the Lokpal and also for such a truncated Selection Committee to make recommendations to the President of India for appointment of the Chairperson and members of the Lokpal." 

It said there is no specific provision akin to section 4 (2) of the Act insofar as the constitution of the Search Committee by a truncated Selection Committee is concerned.

"But, the absence of such a provision, by itself, will not invalidate the constitution of the Search Committee by the truncated Selection Committee when the Act specifically 'empowers' a truncated Selection Committee to make recommendations for appointment of the Chairperson or Members of the Lokpal. To hold otherwise would be self contradictory," it added.

The bench said the proposed amendment to Section 4(3) of the Act would be clarificatory and will not amount to an attempt to cure a shortcoming in the Act which is proving to be an inhibition in law to the appointment of Chairperson or members of the Lokpal.

"The view of the Parliamentary Standing Committee with regard to the expediency of the Search/Selection Committee taking decisions when vacancy/ vacancies exists/exist is merely an opinion with which the Executive, in the first instance, has to consider and, thereafter, the legislature has to approve.

"The said opinion of the Parliamentary Standing Committee would therefore not be sacrosanct. The same, in any case, does not have any material bearing on the validity of the existing provisions of the Act," it said.

The bench said any interference by the court, at this juncture, would negate the basic constitutional principle that the "legislature is supreme in the sphere of law making".

"The constitutional doctrine of separation of powers and demarcation of the respective jurisdiction of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary under the constitutional framework would lead the court to the conclusion that the exercise of the amendment of the Act, which is presently underway, must be allowed to be completed without any intervention of the court," it said.

"Reading down a statute to make it workable in a situation where an exercise of amendment of the law is pending will not be justified either. A perception, however, strong of the imminent need of the law en-grafted in the Act and its beneficial effects on the citizenry of a democratic country, by itself, will not permit the court to overstep its jurisdiction. Judicial discipline must caution the court against such an approach," it said.

The bench also dismissed a petition by NGO Just Society to declare as ultra vires some of the provisions of the Lokpal Act, saying there was no merit in it.

The petition challenged the provisions on the ground that the Chief Justice of India or his nominee Judge of the Supreme Court, under Section 4(1)(d) of the Act, is a mere member of the selection committee and the opinion rendered by either of them has no primacy in the matter of selection of Chairperson and members of the Lokpal.

The bench, however, said if the legislature in its wisdom had thought it proper not to accord primacy to the opinion of the Chief Justice or his nominee and accord equal status to the opinion rendered by the Chief Justice or his nominee and treat such opinion at par with the opinion rendered by other members of the selection committee, it does not see how such legislative wisdom can be questioned on the ground of constitutional infirmity.

"It is not the mandate of the Constitution that in all matters concerning the appointment to various Offices in different bodies, primacy must be accorded to the opinion of the Chief Justice or his nominee," it said.


UPU News:-UPU and IOM to increase scope of partnership

The UPU and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reaffirmed plans to leverage the global postal network to deliver affordable and reliable money transfer services to migrants.

UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein and IOM Director General William Lacy Swing made the commitment in Geneva last week, where they met to discuss the results of an ongoing joint project in Burundi.
The two organizations launched the project in late 2016, with the aim of designing a new money transfer product to help increase migrants’ access to remittance services, both domestic and international, and cut costs. Based on the UPU’s International Financial System, a new domestic remittance service will be rolled out in May, with international services following shortly after in July.
Thus far, all 142 post offices in the country have been equipped with the necessary mobile technology, and postal staff are receiving training to operate the new service.
The two organizations have expressed their willingness to replicate this cooperation model in other countries where migrants face challenges in finding low-cost remittance services. The two leaders discussed how expanding the project to include these vulnerable populations could contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals—particularly Goal 10 on reducing inequalities, which includes the reduction of remittance costs by 2030.
“Through this partnership with the IOM, the UPU can demonstrate the relevance of the postal network in helping to reduce remittance costs, as well as in promoting financial inclusion, both of which are key targets for the international community as reflected in the SDGs,” said Hussein.
For his part, Swing confirmed the IOM’s continued support to the collaboration.

Grant of funds for Modernisation of Non-statutory Departmental Canteens located in Central government Offices

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

IPPB - Schedule of Charges

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FAQs on GST - English

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NITI Aayog:- Draft Three Year Action Agenda

In May 2016, the Prime Minister’s Office advised the NITI Aayog, its premier, independent think tank, to prepare a Fifteen Year Vision, Seven Year Strategy and Three Year Action Agenda. The Fifteen Year Vision and Seven Year Strategy document spanning 2017-18 to 2031-32 is in progress. The Action Agenda covers the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20, the last years of the Fourteenth Finance Commission. 

How does the Vision, Strategy and Action Agenda exercise differ from the Five Year Plan process?

 The 12th Five Year Plan was the last of the Five Year Plans. With an increasingly open and liberalized economy and given the new realities of the global economy, we needed to rethink the tools and approaches to conceptualizing the development process. The Vision, Strategy and Action Agenda framework will allow us to better align the development strategy with the changed reality of India.

An Overview of the Three Year Action Agenda

 In preparing the Agenda, the NITI Aayog sought and received inputs from State Governments, Union Territories and Ministries of the Central Government. Extensive consultations were held with groups of scientists, economists, journalists, voluntary organizations, industry associations and experts in education, health, culture, transport and other fields. Numerous experts and institutions provided useful written inputs. 

The Draft Agenda was circulated to NITI Aayog’s Governing Council Members on April 23, 2016. It contains ambitious yet achievable proposals to achieve far-reaching changes in India’s economy. Where relevant, we have included possible actions by the states to complement the Centre’s efforts. The document has 7 parts with 24 chapters. The table of contents is attached. 

Selected Key Action Agenda Items

Three Year Revenue and Expenditure Framework:
·         A tentative medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) for the Centre is proposed. Based on forecasts of revenue, it proposes sector-wise expenditure allocation for three years.
·         Proposes reduction of the fiscal deficit to 3% of the GDP by 2018-19, and the revenue deficit to 0.9% of the GDP by 2019-20.
·         The roadmap consisting of shifting additional revenues towards high priority sectors: health, education, agriculture, rural development, defence, railways, roads and other categories of capital expenditure.

Agriculture: Doubling Farmers’ Incomes by 2022
·         Reform the Agricultural Produce Marketing to ensure that farmers receive remunerative prices.
·         Raise productivity through enhanced irrigation, faster seed replacement and precision agriculture.

·         Shift to high value commodities: horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries. 

·         A separate detailed roadmap issued by Member, Professor Ramesh Chand 

Industry and Services: Job Creation
·         Overarching Action Points
·         Create Coastal Employment Zones to boost exports and generate high-productivity jobs.
·         Enhance labour-market flexibility through reforming key laws
·         Address the high and rising share of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in India’s banks through supporting the auction of larger assets to private asset reconstruction companies (ARCs), and strengthening the State Bank of India-led ARC.
·         Action points for specific sectors
·         Apparel
·         Leather and footwear
·         Electronics
·         Food processing
·         Gems and jewelry
·         Tourism
·         Finance
·         Real estate.

Urban Development
·         Need to bring down land prices to make housing affordable through increased supply of urban land
1.      More flexible conversion rules from one use to another
2.      Release of land held by sick units
3.      Release of other urban land potentially available
4.      More generous Floor Space Index.
·         Reform the Rent Control Act along the lines of Model Tenancy Act;
·         Initiate titles of urban property
·         Promote dormitory housing
·         Address issues related to city transportation infrastructure and waste management.

Regional strategies
·         Actions targeted aimed at improving development outcomes in the (i) North Eastern Region, (ii) Coastal Areas & Islands, (iii) North Himalayan states and (iv) Desert and Drought prone states.

Transport and Digital Connectivity
·         Strengthen infrastructure in roadways, railways, shipping & ports, inland waterways and civil aviation.
·         Ensure last-mile digital connectivity, particularly for e-governance and financial inclusion, through developing infrastructure, simplifying the payments structure and improving literacy.
·         Facilitate Public-Private reorienting the role of the India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd. (IIFCL), introducing low cost debt instruments and operationalizing the National Investment Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). 

·         Adopt consumer friendly measures such as provision of electricity to all households by 2022, LPG connection to all BPL households, elimination of black carbon by 2022, and extension of the city gas distribution programme to 100 smart cities.
·         Reduce the cross-subsidy in the power sector to ensure competitive supply of electricity to industry.
·         Reform the coal sector by setting up a regulator, encouraging commercial mining and improving labour productivity. 

Science & Technology
·         Create comprehensive database of all government schemes and evaluate them for desirable changes
·         Develop guidelines for PPPs in S&T to improve education and industry-academia linkages for demand-driven research
·         Channel S&T to address development challenges such as access to education, improving agricultural productivity and wastewater management.
·         Create a “National Science, Technology & Innovation Foundation” to identify and deliberate national issues, recommend priority interventions in S&T and prepare frameworks for their implementation
·         Streamline the administration of the patent regime 

·         Re-calibrate the role of the government by shrinking its involvement in activities that do not serve a public purpose and expanding its role in areas that necessarily require public provision
·         Implement the roadmap on closing select loss-making PSEs and strategic disinvestment of 20 identified CPSEs.
·         Expand the government’s role in public health and quality education.

·         Strengthen the civil services through better human resource management, e-governance, addressing anomalies in tenures of secretaries and increasing specialization and lateral entry.  


Taxation and Regulation
·         Tackle tax evasion, expand the tax base and simplify the tax system through reforms. For example, consolidate existing custom duty rates to a unified rate.
·         Create an institutional mechanism for promoting competition through comprehensive review and reform of government regulations across all sectors.
·         Strengthen public procurement

The Rule of Law
·         Undertake significant judicial system reforms including increased ICT use, structured performance evaluation and reduced judicial workload.
·         Legislative, administrative and operational reforms of police are suggested to the states.

Education and Skill Development
·         Shift the emphasis on the quality of school education paying particular attention to foundational learning
·         Move away from input-based to outcome-based assessments
·         Rank outcomes across jurisdictions

·         Use ICT judiciously to align teaching to the student’s level and pace 

·         Revisit the policy of automatic promotion up to eighth grade
·         Create a tiered regulation of universities and college to provide greater autonomy to top universities under the current system.
·         Focus on creating and funding public universities under the World Class Universities program.

·         Focus on public health through significantly increasing government expenditure on it, establishing a focal point and creating a dedicated cadre.
·         Generate and disseminate periodic, district-level data as per uniform protocols.
·         Formulate a model policy on human resources for health, implement a bridge course for nurses/AYUSH practitioners in primary care.
·         Reform IMC Act and the acts governing homeopathy and Indian systems of medicine
·         Launch the National Nutrition Mission; develop a comprehensive Nutrition Information System.

Building an Inclusive Society
·         Enhance the welfare of women, children, youth, minorities, SC, ST, OBCs, differently abled persons and senior citizens.
·         Develop a composite gender-based index to reflect the status of women in the country.
·         Introduce skill-based education and extra-curricular activities as a mandatory part of school curricula; design innovative conditional cash transfer schemes to encourage girls’ education.

Environment and Water Resources
·         Adopt sustainable practices and streamline regulatory structures to support high economic growth.
·         Adopt measures to tackle city air pollution
·         Revisit the policy towards felling of trees on private land and transport of trees

·         Promote sustainable use of water resources by improving groundwater management, adopting smart water meters for specific industrial units and enhancing the regulatory environment in the sector.


(Release ID :161291)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Data Sharing Compliance of the IT ACT,2000 and Aadhar Act,2016

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PM Narendra Modi pitches for advancing financial year to January-December

After advancing the budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have set the ball rolling on another crucial reform – changing the financial year to January-December. He asked states to take initiatives on the proposal, which has already seen several suggestions. Modi also told the states to seriously consider governance issues that are holding back speedier development and to speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation to lift growth. 

“He said that there have been suggestions to have the financial year from January to December. He urged states to take the initiative in this regard,” according to an official statement released after the Niti Aayog Governing Council meeting. 

A panel headed by Shankar Acharya, former chief economic advisor, to examine changing the financial year, has already submitted its report to the government. India follows April-March as the financial year, while globally the calendar year is the financial year. 

“Good governance leads to optimum utilisation of resources even when resources are less than desired,” said Modi, who is the chairman of the Niti Aayog. 

Reiterating that a constructive discussion has begun on the subject of holding Union and state elections simultaneously, Modi said, “India had for long suffered from economic and political mismanagement as a result of which many good initiatives and schemes had failed to deliver the anticipated results.” 

The third meeting of the governing council at the Rashtrapati Bhavan was attended by chief ministers of 27 states. They included chief minsters of non-BJP ruled states such as Punjab, Bihar, Karnataka and Tripura. 

Consensus on GST Lauded 
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal skipped the meeting. Kejriwal was represented by Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. 

Reiterating that there had been a 40% increase in overall fund allocation to states between 2014-15 and 2016-17, Modi urged states to speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation. He acknowledged the contribution of states in pushing the country’s most comprehensive indirect taxation reform – the Goods and Services Tax – keeping ideological and political differences aside. “GST reflects the spirit of ‘one nation, one aspiration, one determination’… Consensus on GST will go down in history as a great illustration of cooperative federalism,” Modi said, reiterating that the legislative arrangements at the state-level for GST should be put in place without delay. While delivering the opening remarks, the Prime Minister said that “Team India” has once again assembled to discuss and reflect on ways to prepare the country for changing global trends. “Vision of ‘New India’ can only be realised through the combined effort and cooperation of all states and their chief ministers,” Modi said, according to the official statement. He urged all stakeholders to decide goals for 2022 and work in mission mode towards achieving them. 

Hailing the initiatives of the Aayog over the past two years, Modi said the think tank’s long, medium and short-term action plans would benefit all states. “Niti Aayog is working on a 15-year long-term vision, seven-year medium term strategy and three-year action agenda,” he told the meeting, which was also attended by Union ministers and senior officials. Modi sought remarks from all chief ministers on a draft action plan unveiled by the Aayog. Speaking of the historic change in the budget presentation date to February 1 from February 28, the Prime Minister said this would enable timely availability of funds at the beginning of the financial year. Stating that in a country where agriculture income is exceedingly important, budgets should be prepared immediately after the receipt of agriculture income for the year. 

The Rangarajan Committee in 2011 had found several important items of expenditure included as ‘non-plan’ and hence neglected. “Hereafter the emphasis would be on distinguishing between development and welfare expenditure on one hand, and administrative overheads on the other,” he said, explaining the rationale behind doing away with the distinction between plan and non-plan expenditure. 

Modi noted that the theme of regional imbalance was raised by many chief ministers. “He agreed that this has to be addressed on priority, both nationally, and within states,” according to the official statement. 

He urged all states to take interest in the students of J&K after the issue was raised by the state’s chief minister. Noting the invitation from the J&K chief minister, Modi urged states to organise events there. Modi called upon states to use the government e-marketplace (GeM) to reduce corruption and increase transparency in procurement. He reiterated that the use of BHIM and Aadhaar would result in significant savings for states.

Source:-The Economic Times