Wednesday, March 7, 2018

International Women’s Day - 8th March 2018 : Confederation of Central Government Employees

International Women's Day - 8th March 2018

Usha Bonepalli.
Women's Committee,
Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers

Dear comrades,
Hearty wishes to every one of you on International Women's Day 2018. We celebrate this day in honour of the great struggles that are waged by women, throughout the history of working class. We also mark this occasion to acknowledge and appreciate the wonderful roles that women play in making this world habitable, livable and lovable place of living. We utilize this occasion to reflect on the problems that prevent women from achieving gender parity, oppressions faced by them, and work out measures that lead to progress of women in all spheres of life.

One of the first organized struggles for women in modern times was held at Lowell Cotton Mills in Massachussets in 1834. Women worked for 14 hrs per day in mills in confinement, noise, lint filled air, for 1/3rd wages as compared to men. When these wages were also cut, they organized and went on strike. Women in several other mills joined them and an organised movement started for the first time in history. A second strike followed in 1836. Both the strikes were crushed by management, but that is how pioneering struggles start. Defeat gives spirit for better and more organized action. Women began Labour Reform Associations and started huge petition campaigns and political action, asking the Massachussets state legislature to cap working hours in mills at 10 hours. In 1847, New Hampshire became the 1st state to pass a 10 hour working day. This was the first success for organized working women in any part of the world. This success fuelled organized women movements throughout the world’s working class. Today, we remember that struggle with a sense of pride and honour.

The first National Womens Day was held in NewYork in 1909 to commemorate the 1908 garments workers strike. On 8th March 1908, 15000 women garment workers marched through Union Square to demand economic and political rights. The three month strike against Triangle Shirtwaist and other mills became hugely successful. This success was celebrated throughout Europe and Soviet. Clara Zeitkin, a German socialist proposed designating a day as ‘International Women’s Day’ at International Socialist Congress in Copenhagen in 1910. From 1911, we are observing International Womens Day. From 1975, UNO began celebrating International Womens Day on March 8th.

Comrades, the working conditions and safeguards that are available to women today, are a result of many such glorious struggles across the world. We have an 8 hour working day, equal pay for equal work, at least in the government sector, and statutory framework for women like Maternity Benefit Act 1961, Factories Act 1948, Equal Remuneration Act 1976, Sexual Harrassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 etc. None of these acts were made by way of compassion, but were a result of prolonged struggle of the working women. The latest Act in 2013 against sexual harassment at workplace was a result of Supreme Court guidelines in the Visakha case. Everyone knows that women are subject to sexual harassment in all spheres of life, but it took till 2013, and only after a long and concerted legal struggle before the Supreme Court, that guidelines were issued and Government found it fit to pass an Act on this issue. We should keep this in mind that nothing could be achieved unless we organize and wage struggles. We should realize that, though the working women’s movement has achieved significant results, there is a lot lot more to be achieved.

Nagaland, which went to polls recently, did not have a single woman MLA in its 54 years of statehood and 12 assembly elections. The situation is not much rosy in other states and even in the Parliament. Women representation in Lok Sabha is barely 11.3 % - 62 women out of 543 MPs. Take any elected body, including the trade unions, the presence of women in leadership positions is barely minimum. There are two reasons, resistance to give opportunities to women as men are entrenched in leadership positions, and lack of enough strength from women to push themselves ahead. Let us address the second issue, which is the only way to repulse the first issue.

Women are bogged down by multiple commitments, they have the inescapable responsibility of household duties. A working woman needs to get up early, cook food, pack lunches for everyone, layout breakfast and clothes for the boys, then commute to work, spend the day in office, and commute back to home, to cook again, help in homework, and then retire to bed, trying to look beautiful. This is the story of every working woman, either in Postal department, or in Dept of Atomic Energy, either as a clerk or in a higher cadre. There is no CL or EL to this duty. Good health or bad health, there is no escape from this routine. Added to this, women face stigma, violence and harassment at workplace, in society, on the streets, during commute, and some times, even at home. Women face deficit in respect in all walks of life. Media and commerce address women as a commodity. They stereotype women, erect standards of medieval morality and even resort to body-shaming. The invisible chains that tie up women are too heavy and too arresting, to unshackle. It’s a herculean task for any woman to unshackle herself, free herself and make her voice count, in public discourse and organized struggles. But we have to realize, and there is no better day that today, that struggle is the only way. It is only because of our organized struggles that we have achieved so far.

One way to derive inspiration and strength to unshackle ourselves is to celebrate the success stories of women, big or small, in all walks of life. Look around for icons and celebrate them. When our daughters submit a project in school and get two stars, lets celebrate that at home, with all the vigour. When Harmanpreet Kaur hits 171 in 115 balls in Cricket World Cup, lets put her posters (over Sachin's posters) in our rooms and celebrate that with joy. When we come to know that global Chairman/MD/CEOs of General Motors, Pepsico, IBM, Lockheed Martin are all women, lets celebrate that. When we realize that the superstar of male-centric Bollywood during 1980s was not a man but a woman, lets celebrate that. Every woman who achieved something in life, would have achieved against all odds, facing many difficulties. Lets be proud of all of them, lets gain inspiration from them. And lets help our colleagues, our relatives, our neighbours, our fellow women, in whatever they are aspiring to achieve. And stand by her in all her difficulties. Unless a woman supports a woman, no one supports her.

Another way to unshackle ourselves is to resist media stereotypes. Media is obsessed with stereotyping women as loud viragoes. Social media is obsessed with posting comments on women in the form of jokes, which insult and denigrate the attitude of women. And the commercial industry insults women by portraying women as beautiful only if they are slim or if they have certain body statistics. Why is a man’s figure or his tummy not an object of shame but a woman's figure or tummy is shamed. A woman becomes a mother, has a rebirth herself when she gives birth to children, undergoes many body changes and fights to come back to normal. Whatever shape she eventually has, the society should make her feel proud of it, not ashamed of it. But because of the intense media standards on what is beautiful and what is not, women are psychologically forced to follow some fad diets, starve themselves and spoil their health. Even school going girls are doing dieting. This is a very dangerous trend. Yes, we need to have fitness. We should do exercise or yoga if it fits in our daily routine, or at least some walking, but beauty doesn't mean looking like a pencil. We need a movement, first in our minds, and then in the society, to stop this trend. Because of our workload at home and at workplace, women need to eat well, be healthy, and feel confident about whatever shape they are in. One report says that 80 % of present day women above 40 are cases for bone related ailments like osteoporosis. So I request all women to take your health seriously, get some sunlight for Vit D, have iron and calcium supplements and above all, eat well. Don’t starve. We are ourselves. We will not allow the media to judge us.

Friends, the sure way to unshackle ourselves is to develop the confidence in our abilities. Seek responsibilities, take active part in leadership positions in your workplace, in administration, and in unions. If you develop the will and confidence, there is nothing that a woman cannot do, as good as, if not better than, her male counterpart. We have an immense task cut out before us. Once women gain employment, they should be endowed with right to equality, right against discrimination in workplace. Women should be assured dignity of labour, equal wages, beneficial facilities and additional safeguards which compensate for their lack of level playing field. These safeguards and benefits should be made statutory, institutionalised, and implemented thoroughly. We should make relentless fight for safegaurds that we are yet to achieve. We should be very vigilant. Because there will always be attempts to mock, sneer, and trample on the safeguards and the genuine benefits that we rightfully deserve.

"Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world." These are the words of our present UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. In recognition of this ‘unfinished business’ and ‘greatest human rights challenge', the campaign theme for International Women’s Day for 2018 is selected as 'Press for Progress’. The campaign requires that the following activities are taken up:

a. Maintain a gender parity mindset (question any lack of womens' participation, identify alternatives that are more inclusive, nominate women for opportunities, always include and support women, think 50/50 as goal),

b. Challenge stereotypes and bias (question assumptions about women, challenge statements that limit women, always use inclusive language, work to remove barriers to women’s progress, bur from retailers who position women in positive ways),

c. Forge positive visibility of women (identify ways to make women more visible, extend opportunities to women first, assume women want opportunities until declined, select women as spokepersons and leaders, support visible women),

d. Influence others' beliefs/actions (supportively call-out inappropriate behavior, campaign for equality in meaningful ways, lead by example via inclusive actions, be a role model for equality, actively contribute to change the status quo) and

e. Celebrate women's achievements (believe achievement comes in many forms, value women's individual and collective success, ensure credit is given for women's contributions, celebrate women role models and their journeys, support awards showcasing women's success).

Lets do that comrades. As Chairperson of the Womens Committee of Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, I call upon everyone to join hands and rededicate ourselves to this call - Press for Progress. We will make it happen.

Source: Confederation

Fixing minimum wages for domestic work

Ministry of Labour & Employment

Fixing minimum wages for domestic work

07 MAR 2018

Many of the State Governments like Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab, Tamilnadu and Tripura have included domestic workers in the schedule of the Minimum Wages Act and the domestic worker are therefore entitled to file cases before the concerned authorities in case of any grievance in this regard. The registration of the placement agencies is a State subject. An advisory has been issued to all the State Government requesting them to take steps for formulation of a policy at their own level for regulating these placement agencies. Moreover, meetings have been held on 6/12/2017 & 12/2/2018 at Shillong and Kolkata respectively where representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, ILO, representatives of the State Governments and other stakeholders had participated to discuss the matter.

This information was given by Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.


Women Personnel in Army

Ministry of Defence

Women Personnel in Army

07 MAR 2018
Held strength of women officers (excluding Medical, Dental and Nursing) in the Indian Army for the last three years are as under:

YearNumber of officers
2015 (as on 1st July)1466
2016 (as on 1st July)1512
2017 (as on 1st July)1548

The borne strength of women officers (excluding Medical and Dental) in the Indian Navy as on 1st January from 2015 onwards is as follows

YearBorne strength of women officers

The strength of women officers (except Medical and Dental branch) in Indian Air Force in the last three years is as follows:

YearStrength of women officers

Details of women officers (excluding Medical, Dental and Nursing) in different Arms and Service of Indian Army as on 1st January, 2018 are as under:

Arm / ServiceWomen officers
Army Avn20

Current held strength of women officers in Armed Forces Medical Services as on 1st January, 2018 is as under:

ServicesNumber of Officers
AMC (Medical Officers)975
AD Corps (Dental Officers)127
MNS (Military Nursing Service)3730

There are no non-commissioned women officers in the Army. As on 27 February 2018, the total strength of women officers in the Indian Navy (including Medical and Dental) is 639.

The branch wise breakdown is as follows:

Branch /Cadre / SpecialisationStrength
Naval Constructor64
Naval Armament10

Branch wise details of women officers (except Medical and Dental branch) in the Indian Air Force (IAF) as on 1st February, 2018 is as follows:

BranchNo. of women officers
There are no non-commissioned women officers in the IAF.

The complaints of discrimination received from women officers at work place in the armed forces are investigated and necessary action taken against defaulting officers, in accordance with the prevailing Acts and rules in force.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Smt Kamla Devi Paatle in Lok Sabha today.


Now Trending: 2% Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees & Pensioners

2% Dearness Allowance


Now Trending: 2% Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees & Pensioners
Cabinet approves two percent Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to release an additional installment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners w.e.f. 01.01.2018 representing an increase of 2% over the existing rate of 5% of the Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise.

This will benefit about 48.41 lakh Central Government employees and 61.17 lakh pensioners.

The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be Rs.6077.72 crore per annum and Rs.7090.68 crore in the financial year 2018-19 (for a period of 14 months from January, 2018 to February, 2019).

This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

Defence Expenditure

Ministry of Defence

Defence Expenditure

07 MAR 2018
There has been a consistent increase in Defence Expenditure every year over previous year, as is brought out in the table below, providing the details for the last three years as well as the current year. Defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP is also given in the table below:
(Rs. in crore)
YearDefence Expenditure excluding Defence PensionDefence expenditure including Defence PensionGDPDefence Expenditure excluding Defence Pension as % of GDPDefence expenditure including Defence pension as % of GDP

This Ministry projects all the requirements posed by the Services to Ministry of Finance for favourable consideration. Ministry of Finance, being the Nodal Ministry for allocating funds to the Ministries, State Governments, etc. provides budget for Ministry of Defence taking into account resource envelope of the Government of India. The allocated funds are optimally and fully utilized towards operational requirements. However depending on the Budget allocation the schemes are reprioritized to ensure that urgent and critical capabilities are acquired without any compromise to operational preparedness of the Defence Services.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Rajendra Agrawal in Lok Sabha today.


Defence: Recruitment of Soldiers

Ministry of Defence

Recruitment of Soldiers

07 MAR 2018
The details of youths who were recruited as soldiers in the Indian Army at various levels such as Commissioned Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers / Other Ranks (JCOs / ORs) are given below:

Officers *:
YearCandidates Selected

JCOs / ORs *:
YearCandidates Selected
2017-1817,257(Till 31st December 2017)
*Recruitment for Commissioned Officers is done calendar year wise, whereas the recruitment for JCO / ORs is done financial year wise.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Vinod Lakhamashi Chavda in Lok Sabha today.


DoE: Abolition of Posts

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Abolition of Posts
07 MAR 2018
The Department of Expenditure in its consolidated compendium of instructions/ guidelines dated 12.04.2017 directed all the Ministries/Departments to abolish all the posts which are lying vacant for more than five years and submit a report. At the same time, Department of Expenditure has also decided that now vacant posts would fall under deemed abolished category after a period of two/three years against earlier norm of one year subject to laid down conditions. Deemed abolished posts can be got revived from Department of Expenditure subject to fulfilling of stipulated conditions.

This was stated by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.


Facilities By Indian Railways For Disabled Persons

Indian Railways

Ministry of Railways
Facilities By Indian Railways For Disabled Persons
07 MAR 2018
Provision/augmentation of amenities at stations, including those for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) and elderly passengers is a continuous process. In order to provide better accessibility to Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) and elderly passengers, short term facilities as detailed below have been planned at all the stations:
  • Standard ramp for barrier free entry.
  • Earmarking at least two parking lots.
  • Non-slippery walk-way from parking lot to building.
  • Signages of appropriate visibility.
  • At least one toilet (on the ground floor).
  • At least one drinking water tap suitable for use by Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan).
  • 'May I help you' Booth.
    In addition, long term facilities as detailed below have been planned at 'A-1', 'A' & 'B' category stations:
  • Provision of facility for inter-platform transfer.
  • Engraving on edges of platform.
Details of railway stations provided with facilities for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) are as under:

Facilities for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)Approx. Number of stations.
1Standard ramp for barrier free entry2350
2Earmarking at least two parking lots1350
3Non-slippery walk-way from parking lot to building1410
4Signages of appropriate visibility.1430
5At least one toilet (on the ground floor).1850
6At least one drinking water tap suitable for use by differently-abled persons1790
7‘May I help you’ Booth1080
8Provision of facility for inter-platform transfer1240
9Engraving on edges of platform1780

Railways has decided to provide escalators at all the A1, A & C category stations (footfall 25000 or above). Additionally railways has also planned to provide elevators at 500 more stations. About 3800 disabled friendly Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches are available in the fleet of Indian Railways (IR). These coaches have a suitably designed compartment & toilet adapted to the needs of the disabled/Divyangs. More disabled friendly coaches shall be added to the fleet of IR in the coming years. It is endeavoured to have at least one such ICR design coach in each Mail/Express train running with ICF coaches. Further, the fully air conditioned (WRRMDAC) Garib Rath trains have been provided with an Air conditioned disabled friendly compartment in the power cars.

For the assistance of visually impaired travellers, Integrated Braille signages, i.e. signages superimposed with Braille scripts are being provided in the newly manufactured coaches of Indian Railways (IR). In addition, retro-fitment of the same in existing coaches has also been taken up in a phased manner.

Railways has provided 467 escalators at 171 railway stations and 318 elevators at 134 railway stations for senior citizens/disabled/ Divyangs.

This information was made available in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.


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