The MPCC said it exposed the “self-contradiction” of the Chief Minister who extended the term of a retired IAS officer of 1988 batch as Chief Secretary (CS) after his retirement, despite having three other IAS officers of the same 1988 batch of Manipur cadre who are still serving.
Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has demanded the appointment of a new chief secretary, implementation of 7th Pay Commission and castigated the Chief Minister N Biren Singh for not following the rule of law with reference to the recent action of herding the protesting secretariat staff and state government employees to Sajiwa Central Jail.
MPCC senior spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei raised these issues during a press conference Friday (September 16) at Congress Bhavan in Imphal. The conference was also attended by General Secretary & Media Panelist Meghachandra Mangangcha, Spokesperson & Advocate Shyamcharan, Secretary and Media Panelist Johny Meetei.
Speaking at the press conference in the aftermath of signing of a memorandum between Government of Manipur and Manipur Secretariat Services’ Association on September 15 under the chairmanship of Minister (PHE/CAF & PD) L Susindro Meitei, the senior Congress spokesperson Bupenda highlighted the manner in which the BJP government under Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who also holds Home portfolio, of taking the striking Secretariat staff and state government employees inside the premise of Sajiwa Central Jail.
By referring to the meaning of a ‘prison’ from the Prisons Act, 1894, Bupenda asked whether there was a judicial custody order from magistrate that has necessitated them to be brought inside the jail, and said that the jail administration does not come under police administration. Sharing the rules of Union Home Ministry on how a visitor can enter a jail premise, he enquired who has authorized them to be taken within the premise of the jail.
He said that when there was a demand of 6th Pay Commission during Congress government under the then Chief Minister Ibobi Singh, the then Congress government welcomed it and implemented it for the state government employees but today the present BJP government under CM Biren Singh sent the democratically protesting state government employees to jail.
The spokesperson reminded that the then Congress Chief Minister Ibobi Singh implemented 6th Pay Commission in the state and gave in-principle approval of 7th Pay Commission too for the state government employees and pensioners. He asked the people of Manipur to ponder upon the attitude of the present state government under BJP rule that how would the government respond to the common people, if the same government is treating their own state government employees unlawfully by taking them within jail premise for raising their democratic rights. He stated that such act of government indicated that there was no rule of law in the state. He asked the government, “Where is governance? What is used of talking about good governance when the state government itself was taking its own employees to jail”.
Questioning the Chief Minister under whose chairmanship a state Cabinet decision was taken on April 3, 2017 to do away with all service extension/re-engagement of Government employees after their retirement, Congress exposed the self-contradiction of the same Chief Minister by extending the term of a retired IAS officer of 1988 batch as Chief Secretary after his retirement, despite having three other IAS officers of the same 1988 batch of Manipur cadre who are still serving.
MPCC demanded that there should be an end to the entire extension or re-engagement of retired employees right from Chief Secretary post to clerk in Manipur, as there are many Directors, Managing Directors, etc., who are still re-engaged despite being retired. He brought the Government of India’s decision under All India Services Rules, that there two exceptions to satisfy the criteria for extension/ re-employment and that are (i) that other officers are not ripe enough to take over the job; or (ii) that in retiring officer is of outstanding merit. But, the rule also says that the age of superannuation should ordinarily be considered, and the outstanding merit is of technical/scientific in nature.
The senior spokesperson Bupenda also pointed out the DoPT notification that states that only selected posts like Cabinet Secretary, Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Directors of IB, RAW, CBI, ED, and Secretaries of Department of Space & DAE can be given extension, and in the selected list of officers there is no mentioning of Chief Secretary in a state. He, therefore, demanded that the state deserves a new Chief Secretary by appointing any one out of the 3 senior IAS officers of 1988 batch of Manipur cadre in the interests of the people of Manipur.
7th Central Pay Commission
On the failure of the state government to implement 7th Central Pay Commission for the entire state government employees and pensioners, he calculated the totals of the entire budget estimates tabled by the BJP government in Manipur since 2017 and that amounts to a total of around Rs. 1.24 lakh crore. By quoting the previous Finance Minister who stated in the House, during a budget session, that the Manipur government would have to bear an additional burden of Rs 1700 crore if 7th CPC were to be implemented for around 74,000 state government employees,
Bupenda Meitei asked why the Chief Minister, who also holds Finance portfolio, is not serious in taking an additional burden of Rs 1700 crore out of Rs 1.24 lakh crore for the state government employees and pensioners of the state. He contrasted the attitude of unwillingness of the state government of Manipur in implementing the 7th Pay Commission in toto by comparing with Tripura state government which has already taken a burden of Rs 600 crore every month, or Rs 7200 crore for every year, in order to implement 7th Pay Commission for around 2 lakh of state government employees of Tripura.
At the end, he concluded by asking the state government of Manipur to come clear on the position whether the state government is going to scrap the New Pension Scheme so that the state government employees could enjoy the Old Pension Scheme after their retirement. By sharing a press briefing on the Congress’ stand on NPS by AICC in-charge Bhakta Charan Das in Imphal, he reminded that it was the Congress that decided to do away with the New Pension Scheme or National Pension Scheme and bring the Old Pension Scheme, like it was done by Rajasthan Congress Government, and the same will be done in Manipur also if Congress comes to power.