Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Proud to be a Postal Assistant, having incomparable job profile

There is a specific reason for posting this article.  So many candidates who have applied for the post of Postal Assistant in the recent recruitment have asked me that whether there is any difference between bank clerk and Postal Assistant.  And at the same time most of the people are unaware of the nature of duties of Postal Assistant.  More over this article will help the existing officials to understand the complexity of their job profile.

I have prepared this post by extracting details from the memorandum submitted by National Federation of Postal Employees to the 7th Central Pay Commission.

Postal Assistants are the back born of India Post and the nature of work assigned to them spreads over long hours besides shouldering heavy responsibilities including monetary and non-monetary transactions. Postal Assistant is the main functionary in the Postal Network and translates the policies and planning into practice.  

The Postal Assistant has to perform wide varieties of duties like that of Marketing Executives, System Administrators, Inspectors, Accountants, Post Masters, Auditors, Managers, etc.  

The Postal Assistant is to perform Banking Transaction,  Insurance transactions,  Accounting work,  Treasury works,  System administrators  work, Marketing Executive works, Postmasters work,  Public  Relation  Inspector  works,  philately  work,  counter  works  including handling of heavy cash apart from all the business and traditional mails related work being performed by him. In no other department in India such variety and kind of work is being performed by one and the same official other than the Postal Assistants. Their job profile is very critical and contains enormous responsibilities.

The conditions of service of postal clerks differ very much from those of ordinary clerks of other Government departments, because their hours of work are longer and more irregular beginning in some cases at 5:00 AM and ending at 10:00 PM.  In an ordinary administrative office if the staff cannot finish the day's work, the unfinished work is carried over to the next day but in the post offices, the work cannot be carried over to the next day. Day's mail must be delivered on the same day and despatched on the same day.  The office accounts and various abstracts must be adjusted on the same day itself and returns to the audit/accounts office must be sent on due dates.  The staff of post offices cannot go home unless all his work is completed.  If the staffs are inadequate, it might work beyond the fixed hours of duty and late in the night to finish the work.

So is  very  clear that the  Postal Assistants were treated as  superiors  when compared to  other employees in  the  Government of  India   and Bank employees  granted.  The Postal Assistants do the similar work being performed by officials of other Govt. departments and Banks.  Following are the some among them.

1.       Postal Assistants do the work of 'Bank' involving huge monetary responsibility in the Postal Savings Bank, deals in Savings Certificates, NREGA Accounts, TD Accounts, Senior Citizen Schemes, RD accounts, PPF accounts, MIS accounts, opening of BPL Accounts, etc.  After the introduction of a Core Banking solution, the Postal Assistant must perform all the duties being performed by Bank employees including electronic transfer, issue of ATM cards, etc.

2.       Postal Assistants do the work of Insurance Companies as the postal department itself runs the Postal Life Insurance and Rural Postal Life Insurance and knows the different rules and regulations on the subject.  He/she should be conversant with the insurance work and does all the works related to Marketing, Accounting, Claim settlement etc. In particular after the decentralization of PLI at HO level, the Postal Assistants are shouldering various responsibilities in maintaining records, pertaining to claims cased, maturity sanctions, Loan processing, issue of premium notices, revival of lapsed policies, acceptance of new proposal and commission payment, etc.

3.       They are now working as a System Administrators who manages around 53 software and its database, networks and all hardware. They are periodically upgrading the database with patches supplied by CEPT, Mysore and SDC Chennai.  Postal Department is the only Department in the country is being computerized fully only with the assistance of the Postal Assistants who know computer operations and developed software and maintaining the hardware, etc.
4.       Postal Assistants are also performing the duties of Marketing Executive who procure business of various kinds.

5.       Postal Assistants do the work of cheque clearance through CTS and traditional method.

6.       Postal Assistants do the work of Election Commission in collecting and verifying the Electoral rolls.
7.       Postal Assistants do the Pension Payment work of other departments as well like Railway, BSNL, Telecom, etc.

8.       Postal Assistants do the work relating to Railway while booking of train tickets.

9.       Postal Assistants do the work of Police while issuing identity cards.

10.     Postal Assistants do the work in different branches, like mail & sorting, Delivery and Deposit of Registered letter, Parcel, Money Orders, Postal Orders, delivery of Aadhar Cards etc.

11.     Postal Assistants do the work of enquiry clerk, covering multifarious subjects.

12.     Postal Assistants do the work of Treasurer and all the treasury related works being performed by him includes handling of huge amount of cash.

13.     Postal Assistants do the work of an Accountant which includes classifying the accounts, preparation of budget, processing of pension cases, sanctioning of various types of bills, etc.

14.     Postal Assistants do all the work of a Counter clerk, which also involves handling of huge amount of cash, such as Money Orders, Telephone Bills, Savings Bank,  MNREGS transactions, etc.

15.     Postal Assistants do the work of Correspondence clerk.

16.     Postal Assistants do the work of an Accounts clerk with the various accounting procedure.

17.     Postal Assistants do the work of Sales Executive by selling Gold Coins in the Post offices.

18.     Postal Assistants do the work Income Tax by deduction of taxes and submission of eTDS returns of employees and Agents.

19.     Postal Assistants do the work of Promoter in various financial schemes developed   under the Business tie up.

20.     Postal Assistants do the work of State Government Public Sectors Undertakings in collection of Taxes, like Property Tax, Water Tax, professional Tax, Electricity bills, sale of various application forms and collection of different recruitment Fee, etc.

21.     Postal Assistants do the work of logistic and promote its business.

22.     PA Handles lakhs of rupees worth insured I foreign articles daily involving great risks.

23.     Helps the Excise department 1n checking & transmission of contraband goods.

24.     Postal Assistants do the customs department work by collecting Customs Due on foreign articles etc.

25.     PA Has to  be  conversant not  only  with  the  Indian  Postal  operations,  but Foreign Postal business as well.

26.     Postal Assistant must be conversant with hundreds of orders, circulars, etc. which will be changing every day, issued by the higher authorities in Department.

27.     He has to hold meetings of periodical, post forum and meetings with public to sort out local issues.

28.     Postal Assistant has to do the new work arising out of new schemes and tying up organisations like UTI Mutual Fund, Oriental Insurance corporation, Clearance of cheques for various private sector companies like TVS, Bajaj , HDFC Bank, verification of address proof for Hutch and BSNL mobile connection, acceptance of all bills   in   Post Office Counters,   Accepting   fees   for   recruitment is all   State   Government, etc.

29.     There is also a huge work related to filing of Tax Deduction Source (TDS) returns  to the Income Tax  Department,  Acceptance  of  IT  returns from public,   etc.,  now  these works are performed  by  the  Postal Assistants. In addition to these several services were introduced depending on the local needs like cable TV verification, Books sales and distribution etc.

30.     The PAs working at Philatelic Bureau and Philatelic Museum are required to take responsibilities and discharge the skill like the curators of the National museums.

31.         PAs working  as  Trainers or Instructors at  the  different training centres like  PTC(Postal Training Centres), RCTC (Regional Computer Training  Centres)  and  DCTC  (Divisional Computer Training  Centres)  are  discharging  their duties with more skill and more professionalism.

32.     The Postal Assistant who is in charge of post office will have to perform a wide variety of works.  He acts as a liaison officer with the general public and ensures secrecy, security and confidence of the people in various circumstances.  He should possess adequate knowledge in various rules and regulations and should have intelligence to tackle the customers.

33.     The   Postal   Assistants   attached   to   the   divisional   offices should perform   the   following administrative duties.

Maintenance  of the  personal  files of staff, issue of leave orders, arrangements of substitutes in various circumstances, preparation  and maintenance of gradation  lists of various categories of employees, appointment and confirmation  of staff, arrangement for holding different departmental examinations and recruitment,  matters   relating   to   GDS, collection and processing of  pension   papers, preparation of rotational  transfer list,  leave  roasters,  reservation roaster,  grant  of different advance like GPF advances , cycle advance, scooter advance, festival advance, etc.

Adequate proposals for opening and grading of offices, redeployment or relocation of post offices, review of establishment, redeployment of staff on the basis of workload of office, revision and fixation of stationary charges, grant of cycle and other allowance, etc.

Apart from this, these  Postal Assistants have to attend  various public complaints,  mail arrangements of offices, follow up action on inspection  reports made by inspecting authority,  issue of sanctions  relating to SB I SC claims, all matters  relating to surcharge  I supply of articles of stock I forms, sanction  of all bills, etc.  Planning, preparation of yearly budget estimates, etc.   

The duties to be performed in this divisional office are more skilled and highly responsible while comparing the work in the other administrative offices. There are enormous work due to Business Development and Technology for which no proper training is imparted.  Besides all, they are looking after the building maintenance, Tender related works etc.

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