Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
North Block, New Delhi-110001
Tel. No.: +91-11-23092849, Fax : +91-11-23092890
E-mail : [email protected]
M. Ajit Kumar, Chairman
Date: 5th May 2021
The country is going through an extremely difficult phase due to the second wave of the Covid pandemic. Government is making all efforts to contain the fallout and bring urgent relief to affected citizens. Our department is also a part of this humanitarian effort. Many of our officers too have also been affected by the pandemic. Board has on 03/05/2021 come out with its Covid response and outreach programme: `CBIC AASHVAASAN’ for medical aid and assistance both in financial terms and by way of supplies of essentials including medicines/food, transport, etc. to all members of the CBIC’s fraternity. I am sure that all the zones will align the yeoman service already being rendered by them with Board’s guidelines.
2. I assure you that the Ministry at the highest level is concerned about the well-being and welfare of its hard-working officers and staff. The need of the hour is to handhold and support each other at this time of difficulty. To reiterate, Zonal Chiefs and Head of the Offices should keep in mind the following measures while guiding their Covid Response Teams:
(i) The name and phone numbers of those persons volunteering to be Care Givers in the Teams should be publicised. HRD could compile an All India Directory of the same and circulate it widely among CBIC officers and staff
(ii) Any officer or staff, serving or retired, should be able to contact these numbers for requesting relief
(iii) Once a person has been registered for relief, he/ she should be assigned to one volunteer from the Care Givers team whom he can contact for his needs.
(iv) The volunteer should also contact the person telephonically at least twice a day or as frequently as required and check on his wellbeing. The volunteer should alert another pre-designated volunteer in the Logistics Team about the needs of the person under his / her care, for consultation, medicines, food, tests, scans etc. as and when required.
(v) The Covid Response Team should purchase and maintain oxymeters, oxygen concentrators, etc, wherever possible under OE and OTC medications required for use by patients and all efforts should be made to provide the same to the person in need, along with making provisions for food, etc. in the shortest possible time.
(vi) They should tie up with hospitals offering tele-medicine counselling and work out a method for affected officers to consult doctors telephonically. Fees, if any payable. can be done through the fund.
(vii) In the case of a need for hospitalisation all possible assistance should be given to the person to get admission to a hospital.
3. While funds are being provided by the Board for use in these activities it is also necessary to ensure that we do not spread our resources too thin. Hence,
i. In the zones having multiple DDOs they may pool their monetary and physical resources and have a combined Covid Response Team.
ii. Co-operating and collaborating with the Income Tax department may also be done so that the strength of both the organisations are pooled for getting the best treatment for staff with respect to coordinating with hospitals, medicine/ equipment suppliers, etc.
iii. In the event a person loses his valiant fight against the disease, the formations should reach out to the bereaved family in a sensitive manner and also work out the process of extending the financial assistance, including the ex-gratia payment, as provided for. Losing a member of the family in a sudden and untimely way would be very stressful for other members of the family. One volunteer known to the family would need to be assigned to help the family get its dues and submit requisite documentation required by the department. These requests should be handled with sensitivity and empathy by all officers processing the matter. No delays should take place.
iv. Board is looking at the processes involved in granting financial relief to the family of the deceased and trying to further simply it so that monetary relief can be given to the needy at the earliest.
v. Officers / staff, both serving and retired, in a zone could voluntarily contribute money to a fund that may be started and run by the Zonal Covid Response team through an appropriate procedure. This would augment the zonal fund position. Contributions should not be solicited from private persons/organisations/PSUs etc.
vi. The Department of Expenditure’s OM dated 30/04/2021 regarding payment of immediate relief to family of an employee who dies while in service may be strictly implemented.
vii. All officers and staff may also be advised to ensure that they have given their nominations for departmental benefits and that the same is a part of their service book.
viii. Some officers/ staff have taken the initiative to raise funds for a deceased officer by making a public call for donations. While doing so the sensibilities of the family must be considered and their prior consent obtained.
4. As much as these practical measures would be of considerable help, it is equally important to extend emotional support, to give colleagues and their families a reassurance that there are others who care and who are willing to help in case of need. This is more so when many are in isolation and cut off from social contacts.
5. The Board in its daily discussions is pained to note that the department has lost the lives of many officers and staff, across cadres and ranks, especially during the second wave of pandemic. Many of us have lost near and dear ones too. The loss is immense and irreparable. I, on behalf of the Board and all of you and on my own behalf, extend my heartfelt condolences and reaffirm that the CBIC stands by each one’s family in their bereavement. I again assure you that the department will stand by its officers and staff in helping out in these difficult times.
6. While we continue to work, we need to stay strong and keep ourselves safe by adhering to the Covid appropriate behaviour at societal as well as individual level. This phase too shall pass. Do advice and ensure that your officers and staff take care of themselves and their families while supporting colleagues and others in every manner they can. Do take care.
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Pr CCs/ CCs, PrDGs/ DGs of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs