Thursday, 30 June 2016

we should go ahead with our preparations

As all of you are aware that the Union Cabinet has accepted the report of the VII CPC today.
It has been noticed that there is no improvement in Minimum Wage and Multiplying Factor as well, which was our hard pressed demand. Instead, wages, as recommended by the VII CPC have been accepted as it is, which is highly disappointing. Only two committees have been formed, one to take care of the allowances and another for National Pension Scheme, which will submit their reports within four months time.
It is quite unfortunate that, our demand for improvement in the report of the VII CPC has not been considered by the government.
Therefore, it would be quite appropriate that, we should go ahead with our preparations for “Indefinite Strike”, slated to be commended from 06:00 hrs. on 11th July, 2016.
You are also advised -to intensify the mass mobilization.
With fraternal greetings!
Yours faithfully

(Shiva Gopal Mishra)

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


NJCA will meet at 04:00 PM on 30th June 2016 to decide future course of action. Continue in full swing mobilization for indefinite strike from 11th July 2016.

Cabinet approves Implementation of the recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commission : PIB News

Cabinet approves Implementation of the recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commission
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the implementation of the recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) on pay and pensionary benefits.   It will come into effect from 01.01.2016.
In the past, the employees had to wait for 19 months for the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations at the time of 5th CPC, and for 32 months at the time of implementation of 6th CPC.  However, this time, 7th CPC recommendations are being implemented within 6 months from the due date.
The Cabinet has also decided that arrears of pay and pensionary benefits will be paid during the current financial year (2016-17) itself, unlike in the past when parts of arrears were paid in the next financial year. 
The recommendations will benefit over 1 crore employees. This includes over 47 lakh central government employees and 53 lakh pensioners, of which 14 lakh employees and 18 lakh pensioners are from the defence forces.
1.            The present system of Pay Bands and Grade Pay has been dispensed with and a new Pay Matrix as recommended by the Commission has been approved. The status of the employee, hitherto determined by grade pay, will now be determined by the level in the Pay Matrix. Separate Pay Matrices have been drawn up for Civilians, Defence Personnel and for Military Nursing Service. The principle and rationale behind these matrices are the same.
2.            All existing levels have been subsumed in the new structure; no new levels have been introduced nor has any level been dispensed with. Index of Rationalisation has been approved for arriving at minimum pay in each Level of the Pay Matrix depending upon the increasing role, responsibility and accountability at each step in the hierarchy.
3.            The minimum pay has been increased from Rs.  7000 to 18000 p.m.  Starting salary of a newly recruited employee at lowest level will now be Rs.  18000 whereas for a freshly recruited Class I officer, it will be Rs.  56100.  This reflects a compression ratio of 1:3.12 signifying that pay of a Class I officer on direct recruitment will be three times the pay of an entrant at lowest level.
4.            For the purpose of revision of pay and pension, a fitment factor of 2.57 will be applied across all Levels in the Pay Matrices.
5.            Rate of increment has been retained at 3 %. This will benefit the employees in future on account of higher basic pay as the annual increments that they earn in future will be 2.57 times than at present.
6.            The Cabinet approved further improvements in the Defence Pay Matrix by enhancing Index of Rationalisation for Level 13A (Brigadier) and providing for additional stages in Level 12A (Lieutenant Colonel), 13 (Colonel) and 13A (Brigadier) in order to bring parity with Combined Armed Police Forces (CAPF) counterparts at the maximum of the respective Levels.
7.            Some other decisions impacting the employees including Defence & Combined Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel include :
·               Gratuity ceiling enhanced from Rs.  10 to 20 lakh. The ceiling on gratuity will increase by 25 % whenever DA rises by 50 %.
·               A common regime for payment of Ex-gratia lump sum compensation for civil and defence forces personnel payable to Next of Kin with the existing rates enhanced from Rs. 10-20 lakh to 25-45 lakh for different categories.
·               Rates of Military Service Pay revised from Rs.  1000, 2000, 4200 & 6000 to 3600, 5200, 10800 & 15500 respectively for various categories of Defence Forces personnel.
·               Terminal gratuity equivalent of 10.5 months of reckonable emoluments for Short Service Commissioned Officers who will be allowed to exit Armed Forces any time between 7 and 10 years of service.
·               Hospital Leave, Special Disability Leave and Sick Leave subsumed into a composite new Leave named ‘Work Related Illness and Injury Leave’ (WRIIL). Full pay and allowances will be granted to all employees during the entire period of hospitalization on account of WRIIL.
8.            The Cabinet also approved the recommendation of the Commission to enhance the ceiling of House Building Advance from Rs.  7.50 lakh to 25 lakh. In order to ensure that no hardship is caused to employees, four interest free advances namely Advances for Medical Treatment, TA on tour/transfer, TA for family of deceased employees and LTC have been retained. All other interest free advances have been abolished.
9.            The Cabinet also decided not to accept the steep hike in monthly contribution towards Central Government Employees Group Insurance Scheme (CGEGIS) recommended by the Commission. The existing rates of monthly contribution will continue. This will increase the take home salary of employees at lower levels by Rs. 1470. However, considering the need for social security of employees, the Cabinet has asked Ministry of Finance to work out a customized group insurance scheme for Central Government Employees with low premium and high risk cover.
10.        The general recommendations of the Commission on pension and related benefits have been approved by the Cabinet. Both the options recommended by the Commission as regards pension revision have been accepted subject to feasibility of their implementation. Revision of pension using the second option based on fitment factor of 2.57 shall be implemented immediately. A Committee is being constituted to address the implementation issues anticipated in the first formulation. The first formulation may be made applicable if its implementation is found feasible after examination by proposed Committee which is to submit its Report within 4 months.
11.        The Commission examined a total of 196 existing Allowances and, by way of rationalization, recommended abolition of 51 Allowances and subsuming of 37 Allowances. Given the significant changes in the existing provisions for Allowances which may have wide ranging implications, the Cabinet decided to constitute a Committee headed by Finance Secretary for further examination of the recommendations of 7th CPC on Allowances.  The Committee will complete its work in a time bound manner and submit its reports within a period of 4 months. Till a final decision, all existing Allowances will continue to be paid at the existing rates.
12.        The Cabinet also decided to constitute two separate Committees (i) to suggest measures for streamlining the implementation of National Pension System (NPS) and (ii) to look into anomalies likely to arise out of implementation of the Commission’s Report.
13.        Apart from the pay, pension and other recommendations approved by the Cabinet, it was decided that the concerned Ministries may examine the issues that are administrative in nature, individual post/ cadre specific and issues in which the Commission has not been able to arrive at a consensus.
14.        As estimated by the 7th CPC, the additional financial impact on account of implementation of all its recommendations in 2016-17 will be Rs. 1,02,100 crore. There will be an additional implication of Rs. 12,133 crore on account of payments of arrears of pay and pension for two months of 2015-16.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Committee of Secretaries has finalised its report on 7th CPC recommendations: Finance Secretary

Committee of Secretaries has finalised its report on 7th CPC recommendations. We will soon draft Cabinet note based on the report: Finance Secretary 

The government is likely to soon announce the implementation of Seventh Pay Commission that would hike the salaries and allowances for over 1 crore government employees and pensioners by at least 23.5 per cent.

A Committee of Secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha has submitted its report on the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission which may be accepted, a financial ministry official said.

Based on the panel’s report, the Finance Ministry is preparing a Cabinet note and the issue may come up for approval by the Cabinet as early as June 29.

“Committee of Secretaries (CoS) has finalised its report on Pay Commission recommendations... We will soon (file) draft Cabinet note based on the report,” Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said here on Monday.

The government had in January set up a high-powered panel headed by Cabinet Secretary to process the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission which will have bearing on the remuneration of nearly 50 lakh central government employees and 58 lakh pensioners.

The Pay Commission had recommended 23.55 per cent overall hike in salaries, allowances and pension involving an additional burden of Rs 1.02 lakh crore or nearly 0.7 per cent of the GDP.

The panel recommended a 14.27 per cent increase in basic pay, the lowest in 70 years. The previous 6th Pay Commission had recommended a 20 per cent hike which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008.

The 23.55 per cent increase includes hike in allowances.

The entry level pay has been recommended to be raised to Rs 18,000 per month from current Rs 7,000 while the maximum pay, drawn by the Cabinet Secretary, has been fixed at Rs 2.5 lakh per month from current Rs 90,000.

Sources said the secretaries’ panel may have recommended higher pay increase, with minimum entry level pay at Rs 23,500 a month and maximum salary of Rs 3.25 lakh.

While the Budget for 2016-17 fiscal did not provide an explicit provision for implementation of the 7th Pay Commission, the government had said the once-in-a-decade pay hike for government employees has been built in as interim allocation for different ministries.

Around Rs 70,000 crore has been provisioned for it, officials said.

Mr. Lavasa said the Seventh Pay Commission report will be effective from January 1.

This news was published in 'The Hindu' on 27.06.2016

TN Circle GDS to PA Exam announced shortly..Ref. Dte.Order copy

Monday, 27 June 2016


Click here to see the link: KALANGARAI VILAKKU (JUNE 2016)

NJCA Rally rightly warned Govt of Consequences if 7th CPC delayed further.

The NJCA congratulate the Central Government Employees for the massive and most impressive  rally and demonstration held before the Parliament house on 24th June 2016. It was a magnificent demonstration of the determination of the Central Govt Employees and workers to win their demands through struggle. The preparation for the indefinite strike action, commencing from 11 th July 2016, was reverberated throughout the rally which was an unending flow of workers at the parliament Street at Delhi. The rally has rightly warned the Govt of the consequences of dilly dallying decisions on 7th CPC recommendations any further. The rally has called upon the Govt to withdraw immediately the anti employee New Pension Scheme which in effect is a no pension scheme to workers after robbing of their hard earned wages. The Press Statement issued by the MCA after the rally is appended.
The NJCA met today and came to the conclusion that the preparation for the strike has reached its peak and noted with great appreciation and gratitude that the workers at the grass root level have responded admirably well and beyond expectation.
The meeting decided to call upon all its affiliates, its branches, State and District Level Units, in a bid to continue the momentum generated, to hold demonstrations, rallies etc in a I work places every day from July 10th July 2016.
The NJCA will meet regularly at Delhi to monitor the developments and shall communicate with the Units through its website. The meeting has advised the members of NJCA to be available at Delhi at a very short notice to keep pace with the preparations of strike and take appropriate decisions.
The NJCA thanks all leaders and workers once again for the vibrant mobilization and demonstration on 24th June 2016.



Recovery of wrongful/excess payments made to Government servants

(RAILWAY BOARD)                                    F.No.2016/F(E)II16/3

The General Managers/FA&CAOs,
All Indian Railways & Production Units incl. RDSO,
(As per Standard Mailing List)

RBE No. 72/2016
New Delhi, dt. 22.06.2016

Sub:- Recovery of wrongful/excess payments made to Government servants.

The issue of recovery of wrongful/excess payments made to Government servants has been circulated by DOP&T vide their 0.M.No.18/26/2011-Estt (Pay-I) dated 6th February, 2014 wherein certain conditions were stipulated to deal with the issue. Further, DOP&T vide their 0.M No 18/03/2015-Estt , (Pay-I)dated 2nd March, 2016, in consultation with Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure) and the Department of Legal Affairs has enumerated certain situations wherein recovery by the employee would be impermissible in law. A copy each of these instructions is sent herewith for information/guidance. These will apply mutatis-mutandis to Railway employees also.

2. The date of applicability of these orders would be the date of issue of DOP&T’s letters.

3. Please acknowledge receipt.

(Vaidehi Gopal)
Jt.Director Finance (Estt.)
Railway Board.


Today NJCA meeting was held at JCM office. NJCA decided to go on strike from 11/07/2016 as decided earlier. Detailed NJCA circular will follow.-SGFNPO. 
N J C A    
  INDEFINITE STRIKE                                                                  INDEFINITE STRIKE
To go  on
    Against Retrograde recommendations of 7thCPC & in support        
of 11 Points Charter of Demands
ON 09.06.2016
1. Settle the issues raised by the NJCA on the recommendations of the 7 CPC sent  to Cabinet secretary vide letter dated 10th December 2015.
2. Remove the injustice done in the assignment of pay scales to technical/safety     categories etc., in Railways & Defence, different categories in other Central Govt. establishments by the 7 CPC.
3. Scrap the PFRDA Act and NPS and grant Pension/family Pension to all CG          employees under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 & Railways Pension Rules, 1993.
4.i) No Privatization/outsourcing /contractorisation of governmental functions.
(ii)Treat GDS as Civil Servants and extend proportional benefit on pension and  allowances to the GDS.
5. No FDI in Railways & Defence: No Corporatization of Defence Production Units and Postal Department.
6. Fill up all vacant posts in the government departments lift the ban on creation of posts; regularize the casual/contract workers.
7. Remove ceiling on compassionate ground appointments.
8. Extend the benefit of Bonus Act 1985 amendment on enhancement of payment  ceiling to the adhoc Bonus/PLB of Central Government employees with effect from the Financial year 2014-15.
9. Ensure five promotions in the service career of an employee.
10. Do not amend Labour Laws in the name of Labour Reforms which will take away the  existing benefits to the  workers.
11. Revive JCM functioning at all levels.

Holidays for Central Government Employees during year 2017 – Dopt Orders

Holidays for Central Government Employees during year 2017 – Dopt Orders
Holidays to be observed in Central Government offices during year 2017
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
(Department of Personnel and Training
JCA-2 section
North Block, New Delhi
Dated the 24th June. 2016
Subject: Holidays to be observed in Central Government offices during year 2017- reg.
It has been decided that the holidays as specified in the Annexure —I to this O.M. will be observed in the Administrative Offices of the Central Government located at Delhi/New Delhi during the year 2017. In addition, each employee will also be allowed to avail himself / herself of any two holidays to be chosen by him/her out of the list or Restricted Holidays in Annexure — II.
2.Central Government Administrative Offices located outside Delhi / New Delhi shall observe the following holidays compulsorily in addition to three holidays as per para 3. below:
3.1. In addition to the above 14 Compulsory holidays mentioned in para 2 , three holidays shall be decided from the list indicated below by the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee in the State Capitals, if necessary, in consultation with Coordination Committees at other places in the State. The final list applicable uniformly to Central Government offices within the concerned State shan be notified accordingly and no change can be carried out thereafter. It is also clarified that no change is permissible in regard to festivals and dates as indicate.
3.2 No substitute holiday should be allowed if any of the festival holidays initially declared subsequently happens to fall on a weekly off or any other non-working day or in the event of more than one festivals falling on the same day.
4. The list of Restricted Holidays appended to this O.M. is meant for Central Government Offices located in Delhi / New Delhi. The Coordination Committees at the State Capitals may draw up separate list of Restricted Holidays keeping in view the occasions of local importance but the 9 occasions left over, after choosing the 3 variable holidays in para 3.1 above, are to be included in the list of restricted holidays.
5.1 For offices in Delhi / New Delhi, any change in the date of holidays in respect of Idu’l Fitr, Idu’l Zuha, Muharram and Id-e-Milad, if necessary, depending upon sighting of the Moon, would be declared by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions after ascertaining the position from the Govt. of NCT of Delhi (DCP, Special Branch, Delhi Police).
5.2 For offices outside Delhi / New Delhi, the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committees at the State Capitals are authorised to change the date of holiday, if necessary, based on the decision of the concerned State Governments / Union Territories, in respect of Idu’l Fitr, Idu’l Zuha, Muharram and Id-e-Milad.
5.3 It may happen that the change of date of the above occasions has to be declared at a very short notice. In such a situation, announcement could be made through P.I .B /T.V. /A.I.R. / Newspapers and the Heads of Department / Offices of the Central Government may take action according to such an announcement without waiting for a formal order, about the change of date.
6. During 2017, Diwali (Deepavali) falls on Thursday , October 19, 2017 (Ashvina 28). In certain States, the practice is to celebrate the occasion a day in advance, i.e., on “Narakachaturdasi Day”. In view of this, there is no objection if holiday on account of Deepavali is observed on- “Naraka Chaturdasi Day (in place of Deepavali Day) for the Central Government Offices in a State if in that State that day alone is declared as a compulsory holiday for Diwali for the offices of the State Government.
7. Central Government Organisations which include industrial, commercial and trading establishments would observe upto 16 holidays in a year including three national holidays viz. Republic Day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, as compulsory holidays. The remaining holidays / occasions may be determined by such establishments / organisations themselves for the year 2017, subject to para 3.2 above.
8. Union Territory Administrations shall decide the list of holidays in terms of Instructions issued in this regard by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
9. In respect of Indian Missions abroad, the number of holidays may be notified in accordance with the instructions contained in this Department’s O.M. No.12/5/2002-JCA dated 17th December, 2002. In other words, they will have the option to select 11(Eleven) holidays of their own only after including in the list, three National Holidays and Mahavir Jayanti, Id-ulZuha (Bakrid), Vijay Dashmi, Muharram, Guru Nanak Birthday and Miladun-Nabi(Id-e-Milad (Birthday of Prophet Mohammad) included in the list of compulsory holidays and falling on day of weekly off.
10. In respect of Banks, the holidays shall be regulated in terms of the extant instructions issued by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance.
11. Hindi version will follow.
(K.Salil Kumar)
Under Secretary (JCA)

Insertion of Rule 141 A in General Financial Rules 9GFR), 2005

Now, get stationery items from post offices

Vijayawada: The decision of India Post to implement its successful initiative in the city will give people the chance to buy a wide range of items from post offices. Mayor Koneru Sridhar and India Post officials inaugurated a 'Post Shoppe' stall in the HPO at Kaleswara Rao market here on Thursday.
Various sizes of envelopes, A4 papers, pens, staplers, scissors, glue sticks, CD / DVD / pen drives, mugs imprinted with image of stamps on Sachin Tendulkar and other famous persons, philately frames, stamp albums, picture postcards etc are available at the stall.
According to postmaster general M Sampath, people entering the building can henceforth buy stationery items from a special counter in the HPO. "Packaging materials, adhesives, sports accessories, cosmetic items, branded speed post stationery, gifts and stationeries are on offer. Customers can also take home souvenirs such as miniature letter boxes and coffee mugs with postal logos printed on them," he said.

India Post first implemented the initiative in Bangalore and its success prompted the department to do the same in other capitals including Hyderabad.
Postal service director K Somasundaram averred that 'Post Shoppe' will be a one-stop centre for all needs of customers. It provides good opportunity to have a glimpse of books authored by eminent writers and personalities. "The rates will differ from private-owned shops. The project will generate additional revenue for the department. In its initial stage, people will have to come here to shop and it will go online later," he explained.
Requesting citizens to avail the services available in post offices, the mayor lauded the GPO for implementing schemes started by the Union government.

Modification in 7th Pay Commission report needed

Modification in 7th Pay Commission report needed – Massive Rally and March to Parliament organised by NJCA – 20,000 Central Government Employees participated

A massive parliament march and rally of about 20000 Central Government Employees was held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 24th June 2016. The rally was organized by National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) of Central Government Employees comprising Railways, Defence, Confederation and Postal organizations demanding modification in the recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commissions including minimum wage and fitment formula. Other demands are scrapping of New Contributory Pension Scheme, No FDI in Railways and Defence, Grant of Civil Servant status to Gramin Dak Sevaks, filling up of vacancies, enhancement of bonus ceiling, No outsourcing, downsizing, contractorisation and corporatisation etc.

massive rally and march to parliament on 24th March 2016The NJCA had already given strike notice to Government on 9th June 2016. The Modi Government is not ready for a negotiated settlement with the staff side. The rally called upon the entirely of Central Government employees to intensify the campaign and preparations and make the strike a total success.

The rally was presided by Shri. N. Raghavaiah (General Secretary, NFIR & Chairman NJCA), Coms. Shiv Gopal Mishra (General Secretary AIRF & Convenor NJCA), Sreekumar (Secretary General AIDEF) M. Krishnan (Secretary General, Confederation) R. N. Parashar (Secretary General, NFPE) Guman Singh (President, NFIR), Rakal Das Gupta (President, AIRF) K. K. N. Kutty (President, Confederation) B. C. Sharma (NFIR) S. K. Tyagi (AIRF), Mrs. Champa and Mrs. Gita Pandey addressed the rally

About 33 lakhs Central Government Employees will participate in the strike. 40 lakhs Central Government Pensioners have declared their solidarity with the strike. Central Trade Unions had also extended their full support. State Government Employees Federations have cautioned the Central Government that they will also be compelled to join the strike if Government refuse to settle the demands relating to 7th CPC recommendations as majority of the state Governments are implementing the Central pay parity to their employees also

e-Bazaar comes to the village with the help of India Post

e-commerce is bridging the digital divide – with some help from India Post

Think e-commerce and the first thing that comes to mind is convenience, discounts, and of course a number of websites. But what escapes the mind is the crucial service that this kind of platform is providing to the nation. It serves as a social bridge connecting rural India with urban India. Like a thread, it ties the digital divide in the country.
Vineet Pandey, chief general manager, business development, department of posts, explains this phenomenon. “The Digital India initiative and internet boom have bridged the digital divide. Riding on this wave, e-commerce is bridging the rural-urban divide. Availability of products at the doorstep is tremendously changing the landscape, especially in cases of women and childcare products.” Products which were earlier restricted to only metro cities have now become easily available for the rural masses. 
Sharing a small incident, he recalls, “Our minister [communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad] once visited a branch office in Hapur. A girl was waiting for a parcel delivery there. The minister asked, ‘What have you ordered?’ The girl replied, jewellery.” This shows the change in the mindset of people in the tier II and III cities. The suspicion that online products could be fake and unreliable is slowly fading. “A girl from the hinterlands is now ready to trust that the jewellery which she has ordered is authentic,” adds Pandey.
Acting as a social connector, the e-commerce boom in India is growing at a faster pace in the tier II and III cities than the urban and metro areas. There is a huge demand for clothes, mobile phones, electronic gadgets, and competitive books from these areas. As per PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, roughly 50-60 percent of the total e-commerce business comes from these areas.
In fact, in 2016, the gross value of Indian e-commerce business crossed '4,000 crore till March. And roughly 17 percent of the growth was due to the involvement of the middle class. 
Aruna Sharma, secretary, department of electronics and information technology (DeitY), feels that today various government programmes are also helping in promoting rural e-commerce. “As infrastructure is being built under Digital India – BharatNet, Aadhaar, common service centres (CSCs),” she says, adding that it is being envisaged to develop them for promoting rural e-commerce.
But what are the factors that are contributing to the growth of this industry in the hinterlands?

India Post shows the way

It is one of the key players responsible for establishing e-commerce in rural areas. Currently partnering with over 900 e-commerce players, India Post is one of the most successful e-commerce facilitators in the country. 
The institution’s reach in the remotest corners of India has helped it become a brand name, especially in rural e-commerce. It has access to more than 19,000 pincode areas across the country, which also serves as delivery points. Each pincode is connected to a post office, which is known as the last-mile departmental delivery post office. This is further mapped to a rural post office, also known as branch office or gramin dak sewa.
“This branch office can be a single-handed branch where the postmaster is both the carrier and the delivery man. So every place is mapped and there is no location where a product cannot reach,” explains Pandey.
With an average of 40,000 parcels being circulated on a monthly basis, the department transports various goods and packages across the country. “In our last independent survey, conducted a few years ago, India Post was first in terms of handling parcel traffic and second in terms of parcel volume/quantity,” says Pandey.
He points out that the USP of the department is its reach or accessibility to the remote areas. “This facilitates both the department and the government in reaching out to several far-off areas including some in Karnataka and Kerala,” adds Pandey.
India Post has also partnered with many private e-commerce players, especially for providing logistic services. Amazon is one of them. Samir Kumar, VP, category management, Amazon India, says, “We have partnered with India Post. It is one of the prime carriers that Amazon India uses as a delivery channel. Through India Post’s extensive network, we are able to service all the serviceable pincodes through 1,40,000 post offices across all 35 states and union territories in India.”

Involving rural folk

Along with the postal department, the government has also pushed the growth of e-commerce by using common service centres (CSCs) as delivery points. Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC-SPV, says that through the CSCs, the government is including village level entrepreneurs (VLEs) in e-commerce in several ways. In the first method, the VLE can buy the product from any e-commerce site either for himself or facilitate the purchase for others. The order is then integrated with the CSC’s system and the goods are delivered.
In the second method, a VLE can set up his own e-commerce platform to help the local population. This kind of platform will facilitate sale and purchase of local goods in local areas only. “This kind of model can be seen in Andhra Pradesh,” says Tyagi.
CSCs are also involved with many government e-commerce websites like and Besides this, adds Tyagi, there is an attempt, on a pilot basis, to source local goods and supply them all over the country through e-commerce websites.
Explaining how CSCs are involved in multiple stages of the e-commerce process, Kamal Kakkar, a consultant with CSC-SPV, says, “We are taking orders and getting the goods delivered at various CSCs as their location is known via GPS. The CSCs then deliver the goods to customers as they are in the same locality.” In this way a CSC acts like a delivery point and delivery person.
Steps are also being taken to integrate various e-commerce companies with the CSCs. This helps companies like Amazon in achieving their last-mile delivery goals. The CSCs not only act as the last-mile delivery centres for these companies but also provide warehouse facilities, whereby the companies can store their goods at the centre for future delivery. 
The CSCs also organise VLE bazaars that helps many unknown artisans to sell their handicrafts. “We are engaging VLEs as agents to aggregate these artisans to come to this platform. We are making them comfortable so that they can come and sell through the CSC network,” explains Tyagi.
“We have done several workshops with Snapdeal for aggregating these artisans. We have signed an agreement with Flipkart for seller aggregation and assisted selling through this platform. We have tied up with ShopClues to sell their products across India through CSCs,” adds Tyagi.
CSCs in return receive several benefits and incentives for carrying out their work. “For every product they sell and buy from ShopClues, they get two percent,” informs Kakkar.
A system of CSC wallet is also in place to help the customers who are not able to pay online. Here the government can take cash from the customers who cannot pay online and top up their CSC wallets. 
Though on one hand CSCs have contributed a lot to the growth of e-commerce, they themselves have reaped benefits too. Dr Ajay Kumar, additional secretary, DeitY, says, “I am aware that a lot of CSCs are doing handsome business through e-commerce.” Giving examples of a few CSCs, he says, “Some are earning a monthly revenue of '50,000 through e-commerce.”
A VLE, in Manipur, recently bought a bicycle from the profits he earned from the e-commerce business, informs Dinesh Tyagi. 

The private touch 

The three big players of e-commerce in India – Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart – are targeting rural and semi-urban areas as a lucrative market. Samir Kumar of Amazon India confirms this fact when he says, “When we started our operations in India, we saw a very healthy traction and demand coming from tier II and III cities. Currently, over 65 percent of traffic comes from these markets. In fact, on Diwali last year, we saw 30 percent traffic coming in from tier-III-and-below geographies.”
But it is not an easy task for private players to tap the rural markets. For instance, Amazon had to put together a vast delivery network in the country to enable fast and reliable delivery in far-off corners. “We expanded the Amazon logistics footprint by three times in addition to having launched several new initiatives to improve coverage; like the service partner programme that uses the local distribution network provider to reach remote villages and set up rural distribution centres. In addition to the Amazon pickup points (which were scaled up considerably in 2015), we have built a thriving ecosystem of over 7,000 pickup points across India with a majority being in tier II and III towns,” explains Kumar.
The company has launched Project Udaan that makes e-commerce not only a means of employment but also a route for skill development. Udaan integrates skill development and self-employment with assisted shopping, thus enabling the ‘digitally underserved’ to benefit from the emerging digital commerce opportunity.
“We started piloting Udaan in June 2015 in Erode in Tamil Nadu. Today it has spread to other states including Maharashtra and Rajasthan. At present, we are working with three key partners including Vakrangee, Smart Buy and Rajasthan government’s RajCOMP Info Services Ltd. (RISL) that operates and manages 35,000 + e-mitra stores across the state,” says Kumar.

Cash on delivery

One of the main reasons for the success of e-commerce in the tier II and III cities has been the concept of cash on delivery (COD). In the Indian context, trust has been a major factor and COD has helped a lot here. “COD is a modern version of our product value payable parcel (VPP). Once the product was delivered, whatever was the price was delivered back to the seller. COD is especially significant in the tier II and III cities because the payment systems still have to evolve there,” says Pandey.
COD is a very important aspect of the e-commerce sector. By February 2016, the total value of COD products with India Post had crossed '1,300 crore, says Pandey. The fact that this figure was only '500 crore in 2014-15 indicates an element of trust. In the case of tier II and III cities, the postman literally becomes a moving e-KYC, authenticating the receivers’ identity, he adds.
The concept of COD has also helped private players in boosting their sales. “There is still a large section of population that is hesitant about making purchases online. Amazon has launched all modes of payments including cash on delivery since its launch in June 2013. We were the first e-commerce player to pilot deliveries with India Post for COD back in 2013,” says Kumar.
As more and more people from tier II and III cities trust the virtual world, the digital gap is slowly filling in. And as e-commerce continues to boom, and both a resident of Delhi and that of Hoshiarpur order the same mobile phone, the gap between the rural and the urban reduces.