15/1089-90, VASUNDHARA, VASUNDHARA (P.O.), Dt. GHAZIABAD (U.P), PIN-201012
Reference: AIA/Circular-09/2012 Dated: 7th April 2012
Members & Spl. Invitees – NE &
Members of Women's Committee
OBSERVE ASSOCIATION DAY
The All India Audit & Accounts Association was formed on 15th April 1923 in a meeting of leaders of Associations working at various offices of the Indian Audit & Accounts Department at Nagpur. There was only one demand on that day – that was 'restore the parity in pay scales' with cadres of central secretariat that was disturbed in 1919'.
This year 15th April falls on Sunday – therefore all units may observe the Day on 16th April by hoisting Association flag and holding meeting, preferably before the office hours.
As the foregoing paragraphs will show, we have grown from a petition body to the present position – through consistent struggles and unparalleled sacrifices by innumerable leaders, activists and members.
The hostility of the administration to the Association and its activities – whether it was in 1950s, 1970s or now – remain unchanged even after nearly a century on the formation the Association.
We are entering 90th year of formation of our Association. Many amongst us may not even remember the stages that we passed through all these years. A brief sketch on the Association is hence given below.
The Formative Years
It was a decision of the colonial government to give a lower pay scale to the then UDCs of the office the Auditor General of India in 1919 that gave birth, in 1923, to the (present) All India Audit & Accounts Association. The demand was only one – reverse the decision to place the UDCs of the Auditor General's office on the same pedestal with UDCs of subordinate offices and restore the pay scale and status in force upto 1919.
It remained to be a petition body all along with ritualistic annual meetings and adoption of most humble resolutions pleading for the restoration of status and pay scale. Till mid 1950 it remained so.
There is nothing available to suggest that the Association formed in 1923 has since then upto 1947 ever showed any inclination towards the independence struggle. The gaining of independence from the colonial yoke, the formation of Confederation of Central Government Employees in 1956 and the decision to go for strike demanding pay revision and need based minimum wages based on the recommendations of 15 ILC had its impact on the audit employees who even after independence were yet to feel the sense being the citizen of an independent nation.
Developing into A Vibrant Organisation
It was the time the employees in the Indian Audit & Accounts Department under the Comptroller & Auditor General of India was getting mobilised – beyond the issue of pay scale and status, it was the question of self-respect that propelled the movement throughout. At many stations the movement did take shape under the banner of All India NG Civil Accounts Association (the name of the Association later on was changed into All India NG Audit & Accounts Association and finally to All India Audit & Accounts Association).
The decision of the Confederation to serve strike notice in 1957 had an electrifying impact on the audit movement. Though the Working Committee of the Association decided to serve the strike notice, the then Secretary General (Ramdulal Bhattacharya –West Bengal) refused to serve the notice. Emergency meeting of the Working Committee authorised the Additional Secretary General (EX Joseph - Bombay) to serve the notice. Thus began one of the toughest and the most glorious periods of the audit movement.
The audit movement became vibrant and militant under the leadership of EX Joseph. Naked intervention by CAG to remove EX Joseph as Secretary General was pooh-poohed by the rank and file as well as by the leadership of audit movement. The repressive measurers, suspensions and dismissals did not deter the cadres and leadership. In the first industrial action by the central government employees in 1960, the participation of the audit was more than 80%, despite the fact that the All India NG Civil Accounts Association was derecognised by CAG.
Trials and tribulations continued. But against all the odds the judgement of the Bombay High Court setting aside EX Joseph's suspension leading to his re-instatement led to restoration of the recognition of All India NG Audit & Accounts Association. It was a struggle where hundreds did sacrifice for the cause of self respect, dignity. It heralded a new era in the middle class movement in the country.
This assertion of self respect at all India plane did have its repercussions in many a states with agitations taking place many stations including Kerala against the repressive measurers in the late 1960s.
It took time for the wounds of 1960 to heal. It was only after 1965 many of the leaders who led the strike of 1960 were taken back – after offering apology and undertaking that they would never do participate in strike in future. This undertaking was broken within couple of years when the same leaders and members not only participated but led the one day strike of 19 September 1968.
Leader of CG Movement
By the time, EX Joseph had resigned from service and was succeeded by AV Venkataraman (AG P&T-Madras) with SK Vyas (Jaipur) as Additional Secretary General. SK Vyas took over from AV Venkataraman in 1968 immediately after the strike. SK Vyas had taken over as Secretary General of Confederation before becoming the Secretary General of All India Audit & Accounts Association.
The 1968 strike again led to de-recognition of the Association and victimisation. But this time there was a change in the attitude of the CAG and the victimisations were settled without much fuss and the recognition restored in 1969.
The Association has to face fury of the political party at centre. One of its best state level leaders – Thrivikraman Pillai – in Kerala was dismissed under Art 311 (2) (c) of the Constitution terming him as national security threat. PT Thomas was also dismissed along with Com Pillai on trumped charges of murder.
The protest action against these dismissals led to ten more dismissals. One of glorious struggles followed – the employees of Kerala office went on strike for 45 days. The call for solidarity action was responded well throughout India. On the call of All India NG Audit and Accounts Association one day wages were collected in record time and delivered to the striking comrades of Kerala.
The division in the Confederation had its impact in the indefinite strike of 1974. Still the participation of audit in the strike was better – though not upto mark compared to 1960 or 1968. 1974 strike once again brought derecognition to All India Audit & Accounts Association which was restored in 1976.
Manifesting the Aspirations of Audit employees
In the 1970s the Association took the cause of de novo determination of audit employees to new heights. With 3rd CPC refusing to grant pay parity and the government of India firmly rejecting CAG's decision to upgrade 331/3 posts of Auditors and grant them pay at par with Assistants of Central Secretariat and also reprimanding CAG for the same, the efforts to restore parity in pay scale with Assistants with CSS got a setback.
The Association mobilised the Members of Parliament in big numbers when the DPC Act was still under consideration of the Parliament in 4th & 5th Lok Sabha. It also tried to mobilise the intelligentsia on the issue. The efforts could not succeed to the expected level because the ruling party had a brute majority and had approached the issue with sole idea of undermining the powers of CAG.
The decision of the government –during the period of internal emergency - to departmentalise the accounting functions taking it away from CAG could not be fought back effectively due to the situations prevailing then. Majority of opposition leaders in the Parliament were either in prison or underground to evade arrest. It was a period when the Fundamental Rights of the citizens were suspended and directive principles were given priority.
Parliamentary enactment separating accounts from audit led to creation of Director General of Postal Accounts and Controller General of Accounts (CGA). During the internal emergency, in many stations the administration saw to it that militant cadres of the Association were transferred to either Civil Accounts – CGA- or to Postal Accounts.
Pay Parity with Assistants of CSS
The issue that was put in the back burner immediately after the implementation of 3 CPC recommendations was put back on the agenda once again in 1978.
In 1981, SK Vyas was elected as President of the All India NG Audit & Accounts Association and CSV Warrier (Trivandrum/Kerala) took over as Secretary General. Com AM Vaishnav - who took over as President of the Association on the sudden demise of Com Ashutosh Bhattacharya (CAA, Shillong) on 16th February 1974 – stepped down to facilitate leadership change.
The decision of the All India NG Audit & Accounts Association in 1981 to serve strike notice demanding recording of disagreement on the grant of higher pay scale to Auditors of IA&AD had its desired effect. The continued and sustained pursuance of the issue at various levels succeeded to some extend when the government agreed to form a cabinet sub-committee under the Chairmanship of the then Finance Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee. The committee agreed to grant higher pay scale at par with Assistants of CSS to 80% of those doing auditorial functions.
Mischief by CAG
The CAG's administration used this opportunity to divide the offices of state Accountants General into Audit and Accounts, with Audit being granted 80% of higher pay scale. The organisation had no option but to walk into it, deciding to continue the efforts get higher pay scale for Accounts Staff also. Thus in the name of granting pay parity with Assistants in the CSS the offices of Accountants General were bifurcated into audit and accounts. Even the cadre of Accounts Officer was bifurcated into Audit and Accounts Officers though the cadre was not given any financial upgradation where as the IA&AS was not bifurcated.
This single move of the administration, we could see today, has caused irreparable damage to the cause of the personnel working in IA&AD as well to the cause of IA&AD.
All India Audit & Accounts Association took lead in forming the Joint Action Committee of Audit & Accounts Employees organisations in 1984 – immediately after restructuring of cadres came into effect – and go to 4th CPC with a joint memorandum. The efforts of JAC were acknowledged by CPC and it recommended 'broad parity in pay scale' between audit and accounts cadres while recommending parity between Auditor and Assistant in CSS. The JAC could force the government to accept the recommendations of the 4CPC and extend the same pay scale to Accounts in IA&AD and organised Accounts.
The issue is still haunting the employees and the Association with every time the CSS going one step higher.
A segment of employees went to extent of abjuring the path of struggle to achieve the demand of pay parity with CSS and pursuing the demand legally. The demand has been finally thrown out by Supreme Court, causing irreparable damage to the demand of Pay Parity.
The leadership of the All India Audit & Accounts Association also changed during these two decades. SMA Jinnah took over from CSV Warrier – who quit in April 1988 due to poor health. SMA Jinnah (Madras) resigned in 1991 and BP Bhattacharjee (Shillong) took over as Secretary General. SK Vyas stepped down from the post of President on superannuation in the Madras Conference in September 1989 and RK Shrivastava (Nagpur) was elected President. AB Sen was elected as Secretary General in Thrisur Conference in October 1993 in place of BP Bhattacharjee. On RK Shrivastava's retirement, T Narayanan (Kerala) became President (1997-Nagpur) who was succeeded by BP Bhattacharjee (Guwahati – in 2000 at Chandigarh). MS Raja took over from AB Sen in 2004 Mumbai Conference and Gautam Pramanick (West Bengal) became President. M Duraipandian (Chennai) succeeded Gautam Pramanick in 2007 at Chennai.
For nearly a decade the Association was practically overtaken by two issues – pay parity and recognition under the new rules.
The new rules for recognition of service Associations (CCS (RSA) Rules, 1993) promulgated by the government in 1993 came handy for the Administration to foster splinter groups. Thus giving legitimacy for disruption. The whole idea behind the separation of cadres in 1984 has come out nakedly.
The field formations of the All India Audit & Accounts Association were under 'deemed derecognition' from 1995-1998, crippling the functioning of the Associations. The administration patronized the rival Association where it could come up or brought up. Hundreds of leaders and activists were proceeded against and punished.
The administration deliberately spread the canard that the demand for higher pay scales for audit & accounts is creating hurdle in granting higher pay scale to audit. The administration did all they could do to disrupt the monolith audit movement and they had partial success in this.
We appeal to all those who went out of this Association to return to the parent body and strengthen the fight for self respect and democratic rights as also the fight for strengthening the mechanism for public accountability.
With their attempt to disrupt the movement as whole having not succeeded to their satisfaction the administration of CAG is indulging in massive and indiscriminate victimisation of the cadres and leaders of the Association in various states. The Kerala situation is the most glaring and unpardonable one. The situation is not different in Andhra Pradesh, Rajkot and West Bengal and lastly Allahabad.
The manner the CAG administration dealt with the Mass Casual Leave programme on 8th April 2010 stands testimony to the total absence of any constitutional and moral values in the administration.
Absence of recruitment in various cadres for more than a decade is indeed having adverse impact on the organisation also.
Even today for the personnel working in Indian Audit & Accounts Department, the issues are still the ones that haunted them in the 1950s – right to organise and collective bargaining, right to freedom of expression and right to work with dignity. Under a Constitutional Authority called CAG, the personnel working under CAG have no constitutional rights – rather denial of the constitutional rights is the by-word.
There is a temporary setback which we are sure to overcome through grit and determination.
Resistance is taking place, taking shape. It has to be carried further. The audit and accounts employees and their All India Audit & Accounts Association have done it in the past and are capable of doing it again. Be confident: we shall overcome; we will win.