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Paper Presented By

Secretary General
National Federation of Postal Employees

In the National Seminar On

TECHNOLOGY SWEEP IN DEPARTMENT OF POSTS


PRESENT & FUTURE VISION
CHALLENGES BEOFORE MANAGEMENT AND STAFF
ROLE OF SYSTEM ADMINISTRATORS

Dear President – Respected Chief Guest the Member Technology Postal


Services Board – Office Bearers of NFPE – General Secretaries of Affiliated
Unions – and System Administrators from all over the country - National
Federation of Postal Employees extends a very warm welcome to all of you in
this All India Seminar. It is indeed our pleasure to have the Member
Technology with us today as our Chief Guest for the presentation of his
valuable paper and Speech on the theme of this Seminar organised by the
National Federation of Postal Employees.

Technology is getting revolutionised every day and its sweep is universal. We


all know that the change in production machinery is a continuous process in
the development of human history. Social Science teaches us that with this
change in production tools the whole relations between various sections of
human society also changes. Modern Society however relies on the
revolutionary changes in production tools for its continued existence. We live
in a modern society and therefore the revolutionising of the production tools is
a regular process occurring frequently. Those who possess the technology
and the technological tools will alone be able to dominate and this applies to
country or industry or every field. Postal Departments are no exception to this
rule. If these ever changing technological tools are not brought into its own
operations, the Indian Postal Department also cannot survive in the world of
stiff competition caused by the dictates of liberalisation and globalisation.

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The Indian Postal Department’s entry into the new technology and its growth
has been slow in comparison to the advanced western countries and some of
the countries of Asia Pacific Region. However the trend has been changed
and India Post is embarking into a high-tech postal operative organisation
step by step. Computerisation of Postal Operations in all Head Post Offices,
Divisional Offices and Regional and Circle Offices as well as 24,000
Departmental Sub Offices have been completed. Extending the
computerisation to 60,000 Branch Offices is in the offing as per the Five Year
Plan Guidelines. RFID technology has been introduced recently in India
amongst 30 other nations and this may be extended large scale soon.
Networking of PLI operations by establishing a Central Server; Networking of
all offices in order to enter into core-banking services of our POSB Operations
etc are awaiting to be launched soon. More over the Department of Posts has
entered into an MOU with the Technology Consultant ‘’ACCENTURE’ for
designing and developing a new information technology architecture and
system. Thus the technology sweep in the Department of Posts is anticipated
to reach very high level in the coming months.

As part of the technology sweep, the entire staffs of the Department are to be
trained and retrained to adapt to the new technology environment. This is one
of the challenges before the Department that contains a large work force not
fully tuned to work in a most modern technological environment. It is also a
fact that the Department lacks infrastructure facilities for launching massive
training and retraining programmes for its very large work force. Training
programmes were indeed launched and continuing but still inadequate to train
the staff in handling the technology. Funding for imparting computer skills in
renowned institutions like NIFT etc have not been encouraged due to either
lack of funds and absence of administrative initiative. A large work force was
expected to learn technology by its own individual efforts which are a
challenge to employees because most of the staff had never even operated a
type writer machine. The Department was handicapped with the lack of fresh
talent from market entering the India Post due to ban on recruitment etc. Entry
of fresh talent in different cadres would have helped enormously.

The lack of technical knowledge had led the department to waste its
resources also in the purchase of outdated technology in the shape of
establishment of AMPCs. The affair turned out to be too costly and wastage
since we lacked operational knowledge and the technical know how and we
were forced to import any spare part from the manufacturer only. We have not
been able to use the technology to its fullest capacity and such gigantic
machines are not being operated to its potential is a open secret. The
advanced countries have gone for further improved automated machines but
are selling their outdated machines to under-developed countries.

The Department also was handicapped with the absence of a Technology


Wing with expert personnel for establishing the infrastructure all over the
country. But the knowledgeable layer of Postal Assistants and Sorting
Assistants have come forward with initiative and enthusiasm in this gigantic
work and grew in practical experience in administering a vast network of
computerised operations efficiently. They were subsequently got the new

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nomenclature ‘System Administrators’ without any such cadre came into
being officially. Thus one of the challenges and costliest operations for
establishing computerized operations at the all India level of a very vast
networked department had been accomplished without any extra expenditure.
Through these System Administrators most of the staffs have come to learn to
handle computers in their day to day operations and thus one of the biggest
challenges before the Administration has been moderately over come. But
there is inadequacy in the level of training and retraining required.

Now the face of India Post is changing very fast. Higher level of technology is
being inducted in different fields in addition to large scale computerisation. It is
our estimation that this will definitely necessitate augmentation of the strength
of System Administrators in accordance with the level of expansion. But there
is always a question that what type of infrastructure will be in place to handle
the technology in future. The System Administrators themselves are not a
cadre approved by the Recruitment Rules.

The role of Mysore Postal Training College in developing indigenous software


in several operations of India Post without depending on IT outsiders is a
marvel. The role of System Administrators had been very fundamental in
establishing and running of the computerized operations of India Post. It is our
modest expectation that these services and huge contribution of the tech-
savvy officials of Department of Posts that saved the Department of Posts
crores of rupees expenditure for more than a decade, will receive due
recognition of the Postal Services Board and they will be absorbed in any type
of technology wing that may come into being shortly.

NFPE analyses to discover that the actual work of System Administrators


presently is not one of Data Entry Operation. It is equal to computer engineer
who attends to system faults, software installation, imparting training to staff
both supervisory and operative, attend to trouble shooting of all nature,
installation of computers in offices, taking backup of all data, attending to
networking in offices etc. It has been the policy of the 6 th CPC to offer PB-2
with 4200/- Grade Pay for all Data Processing Assistants in all departments.
Unfortunately the System Administrators who perform duties like that of a
computer engineer with work stress much more than the data processing
assistants are placed in the level of Data entry operators because there had
been no cadre created for System Administrators so far in the Department of
Posts. Therefore the work of system administration has been performed for
more than 10 years by these System Administrators for a lesser wage level
without any additional monetary compensation.

In addition to the above, it is also a matter of concern that these System


Administrators have been one of the most exploited unintentionally if not by
design. They have no work norms and therefore any office, any time, any day,
any climate and any problem, they have to attend trouble shooting. This factor
is ignored by some part of Administration and even the accidents occurred
after 6 P.M. are treated as beyond office hours and facilities like disability
leave etc are denied. They are not provided for any road mileage allowance or
any other compensation in many circles leaving them spend from their own

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pockets. There has to be a work norm and scientific work allocation under
which system administrators are to be allotted based on number of computers
or number of offices within certain radius etc. The absence of such norms had
resulted in extreme work pressure and strain on them and even leading to
issue of charge sheets against system administrators in some places and for
lapses committed by other staff, the system administrators are made
subsidiary offenders. There has to be a system of monetary compensation for
the extra time put in by these staff beyond their normal eight hours of regular
work and invariably no OTA or financial compensation had been claimed or
sanctioned for all the hours of extra work put in by them beyond eight hours.
The untimely calls on any day including Sundays and holidays by staff to the
personal cell phones of system administrators are in fact intrusion into the
privacy. Provision of departmental cell phones exclusively for official use is
therefore fully justified. The System Administrators have to learn and master
each and every patch supplied by Department and has to be in constant look
out and monitoring of work performed by offices. Therefore every System
Administrator has to be supplied with an Official Computer for installation in
the residence of these staff. The System Administrators are serving in the
capacity of technology teaching faculty but they are not sanctioned with the
benefits normally sanctioned to faculty in Postal Training Centres. In fact the
90% of technology training is being imparted to staff by the System
Administrators only. NFPE requests our Chief Guest, the Postal Services
Board Member Technology that he may kindly intervene to cause proper
order to deal all the above situations. While doing so, the demands in the
charter annexed to this paper may also be given due consideration.

Sir, these Officials have worked without any such benefits, which alone show
that there is every justification for recognizing their services and incorporating
them in the new technology wing as System Administrators Cadre. We are
apprehensive that without a favourable disposition from the Postal Board this
may not ever take off.

Taking in the consideration of all the above aspects, NFPE strongly desires to
have a separate cadre called ‘Systems Administrators’ in the technology wing
of the Department of Posts. As the existing System Administrators have
proved their competence and excellence during the past decade, all of them
shall be absorbed as Systems Administrators in the newly created cadre as a
one time measure, if need be, through a trade test. In future, this cadre shall
be a promotional cadre for the PAs/SAs and selection can be made through a
qualifying/competitive examination/trade test. In future, suitable educational
qualifications can also be fixed taking into account that most of the newly
recruited PA/SAs are having sufficient technical Qualifications. For the
existing System Administrators, the higher Qualification condition should be
waived.

In nutshell. It is the request of the NFPE before the Postal Services Board to
take into account the valuable services being rendered by the existing System

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Administrators, without which the Department of Posts could not have
attained the degree of success with the installation of the computer
infrastructure and work operations in the different software we use for postal
operative and administrative work. NFPE also points out that this conversion
of Postal Assistants / Sorting Assistants cadre into System Administrative staff
will be more economical and contains sufficient operational advantages in
contrast to total outsourcing of our functions or for opting for full scale
recruitment from open market. The Postal Services Board is requested to
consider these merits and go for appropriate cadre creation paving way for
absorption of present System Administrators in the new set up with
appropriate higher level of pay package admissible at least on par with that of
the data processing assistants in other Central Government Departments at
the entry level with a structure of promotions above. We are confident that our
respected Member Technology Postal Services Board will appreciate the
above facts and will be kind enough to take this matter for the due
consideration of the Postal Board and for very positive results.

National Federation of Postal Employees extends its hearty thanks to our


Member Technology Postal Services Board for immediately consenting to
participate in this All India Seminar when requested and for attending and
presenting the Main Paper on the theme of Seminar as our Chief Guest. We
also thank the entire System Administrators who have come from all over the
country responding magnificently to the call of the NFPE.

K.Ragavendran
New Delhi Secretary General
21.11.2009 National Federation of Postal Employees

ANNEXURE

LIST OF ISSUES REQUIRE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION ON


THE WORKING CONDITIONS OF SYSTEMS
ADMINISTRATORS

1. Special Allowance: - Notwithstanding with our demand of


formation of separate cadre of Systems Administrators in the
Department of Posts with separate pay scale till the
augmentation, the existing incumbents may be granted special
allowance to the extent of 10% Pay plus Grade pay as it is
granted to care takers.
2. Issue of uniform duties & responsibilities: - There is no
uniformity in the duties and responsibilities. This varies from
circle to circle even regions with in the circle. A uniform viable
duties & responsibilities may be circulated from the Directorate.

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Identify adequate number of systems Administrator’s post in
each division/circles.
3. Providing Laptops: - The Systems Administrators find it
difficult to download and test the given patches and software
with the non availability of systems. One laptop may be provided
for smooth facilitation of the process and for mobility purposes in
attending computer related works in other stations.
4. Incentive for installation/upgradation: - Many software
could be installed only after the closing hours and will end in the
midnight. Incentive for installation/upgradation may be fixed and
paid.
5. Training Allowance/honorarium: - For imparting training at
WCTCS and for MSE, the Systems Administrators may be granted
Training Allowance/honorarium.
6. Accidental insurance: - For travelling extensively through
two wheelers to attend the technical problems, an accidental
insurance coverage may be provided.
7. Grant of Special disability leave: - The S. A. of Delhi West
Division met with a road accident after installing software in the
night. No special disability leave was granted to the official.
Provision of special disability leave on such happening should be
ensured.
8. Grant of Excess Duty Allowance: - For keeping beyond 8
hours on any day for any work, they should be granted with
‘Excess Duty Allowance’ or OTA.
9. Provide cash imprest: - To meet out the immediate
requirements while attending problems in computers, a separate
cash imprest may be provided.
10. Grant of TA & Road Mileage Allowance: - Within
urban cities, the road mileage allowance and out stations, TA
may be granted for the journey performed for attending
computers.
11. Mobile Phone & Recharge coupons: - Mobile phones
may be supplied to the system administrators & a minimum of
Rs.500/- may be allowed per month for recharging the coupon for
the Mobile connection.
12. Providing kit box: - They should be provided with kit
bag containing net driver set, CD bag, pen drive, handy vacuum
cleaner etc.
13. Providing a seat in office: - They should be provided
a seat at server. Now in many places, they have not been
provided with separate seating facility.
14. Keeping Panel: - A panel should be maintained at
Divisional level and the SAs should not be reverted back as
Postal Assistant without any sound reasons.
15. Possession of SQL Password: - The possession of
SQL Password may be conferred with the Head of the office after
imparting training to overcome the problem of immediate

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solution of technical problems as this is now vested with the
divisional heads.