Saga of AIRASA

The birth of Indian Railway SAS Staff Association took place on Railways after the implementation of IV pay commission and the main aim of this Association was to highlight the injustice done to Accounts staff by the IV pay commission. This Association under the leadership of Sri N. Srinivasan Sr. So at that point of time fought for the improved pay scales of Senior Section Officers and Section officers. On the implementation of the Vth Pay Commission it was observed that not only the grades of Sr. SO or SO`s but also the grades of AA`s, JAA`s & A/C`s clerks were lower than the grade of non accounts.
This injustice led to to laying of the foundation stone of Present AIRASA on the 17th of November 1997, by Sri Reji George, from Southern Railway HQ Chennai. The intention of Sri Reji George in renaming SAS Association as AIRASA was to fight for the grades of all the Accounts staff ie. from Peon/Record sorter to Sr. SO and with his sincere efforts along with Sri N. Srinivasan Sr.SO was able to merge the the Joint action council formed on ICF Chennai, under the leadership of Mr. Gangaiyan with AIRASA. The Motto of AIRASA is ` Unity for Dignity`.
It was on 21st of Jan 1998 during the Inter Railway Accounts Reconciliation Meeting,wherein Mr. Reji George, Mr. Srinivasan Mr. Gangaiyan Mr. Jayanth Mr. Ramani Mr. Sudharshan from Southern Railway Mr. R.K. Saraswath from C. Rly and Mr. N.T.Joshi from Western Railway, Mr. Dharampal from N. Rly voiced their views and Indian Railway SAS staff Association was officially agreed to be renamed as AIRASA. Mr R.K. Saraswath was able to bring a large delegation of staff from C. Rly and W. Rly.
During the meeting it was decided unanimously that the election of office bearers would be held at New Delhi on 2nd of March 1998.
Elections were held on 2nd March 1998, wherein Mr. N. Srinivasan was the President and Mr. Dharampal was the General Secretary. The following resolutions were adopted.
1) To post post cards on the 5th of June 1998 to the Prime Minister and Minister of Railways.
2) To go on a one day mass casual leave on 21st june 1998 throughout India.The response to the above was 100% success. This action on the part of Accounts sent the bell ringing in the higher circles of Rly Board forcing the authorities to review the pay scales, as they were also of the view that injustice has been done to accounts by the Vth PC The first CEC meeting was held at Madras on July 1998,wherein Mr. Shailender Kumar was elected as General Secretary.

The following resolutions were passed:
1) to observe protest week from 10th to 14th of Aug 1998 by wearing Black ribbons
2) to boycott pay on the 31st of Aug 1998.

The next CEC meeting was held on 11th of Sept 1998 at Secunderabad under the leadership of Mr. Md. Dawood of Secunderabad. The following resolutions were passed.
1) to observe one day hunger strike on the 9th of Oct 98 at Zonal and Divisional level
2) to take part in the rally on 26-10-98 along with the staff of Civil, Defence, and Audit and Accounts in Kolkata.
3) to observe Dharna on the 11th and 12th Nov 98 at New Delhi.

The next CEC meeting was held at Nagpur on January 1998 under the leadership of Mr. Basheer Khan wherein the sole aim of the meeting was towards increasing the unity of the staff and initiate steps for the registration of the Association.
The next CEC meeting was held at ICF Chennai in July 1999. During this meeting a delegation of AIRASA members met Hon`ble Minister for Railways Mr. Nitish Kumar and submitted a Memorandum along with a cheque of Rs. 25000/- towards Kargil Relief Fund..Mr Nitish Kumar during the course had assured the AIRASA members that the grades would be released before election, but due to Gaishal Accident Sri Nitish Kumar submitted his resignation thus bringing all our efforts to standstill.

On 17-02-2000 the body of AIRASA was registered under Trade Union Act 1926 vide registration No ALC/Karyasan/17/9621 of 17-02-2000 at Mumbai with the efforts of Mr. Ashok Dwivedi (key Man), Mr. R.K. Saraswath, Mr. Mahboob Jakathi, Mrs. Padmani, Mrs. M.S. Kaul, Mr. N.T. Joshi and Mr. P Vaidya. A special word of Praise to all of them.

It was on 21st and 22nd Aug 2000 we had a Dharna and Demonstration in front of Parliament. It was attended by about 5000 members depecting the Unity and solidarity of the Accounts staff. The MPs viz. Mr. Ravindra Kumar Pandey, Mr. Basudev Acharya, Mr. Khan addressed the rally assuring that the question regarding this would be raised in Parliament house. In December 2000 the Minister of Railways has approved our case and forwarded to the Group of Ministers consisting of
Sri L.K. Advani (Chairman)
Sri Vasundha Raje Scindia (Member)
Sri Murali Manohar Joshi (Member)
Sri Suresh Prabhu (Member)
Sri Yeshwant Sinha (Member)
Sri Jaswant Sinha (Member)

In March 2001, a hunger fast was observed on 14th and 15th and a Rally on the 16th of March 2001. It was again attended by about 5000 members of AIRASA. The Rally was addressed by MPs Sri V. Acharya, Sri Ravikumar Pandey and Sri Sitaram Yachuri.

In April 2002 a conference was held at Delhi on 18th followed by Second Bieniel General Meeting on 19th. The conference was declared open by Sri Dr. Sahib Singh Verma MP and attended by other Members of Parliament.

Mr. N. Srinivasan General Secretary with the Guidance of R. Ramani Communication Secretary and Sri Unnikrishnan Central OrganisingSecretary had shot out 1326 representations to various Ministers, Members of Parliament including the Prime Minister and His excellency the President of India. There have been 226 replies from the Minister of Railways and Minister of Finance send out from117 MPs cutting acrossw the Political Spectrum.

It was on Nov.11, 2002 that the Group of Ministers finally sat and approved the improved Pay Scales for the Accounts staff. It was on 2nd February 2003 the Minutes of GOM were sent to the Cabinet for approval. The Cabinet sat on 19th February 2003 and the matterhas been examined in consultation with concerned Ministries and it has been approved with the approval of the President to allot the following Revised Pay scales to the under mentioned categories of the Accounts staff in Railways.

Jr. Accounts Asst. (4500 - 7000)
Accounts Asst. (5500- 9000)
Section Officers/TIAs and ISAs (6500- 10500)
Sr. Section Officers, Sr. TIAs and ISAs (7450- 11500)

A special word of Praise and thanks to Sri D. Nageswara Rao and Sri Bandi Venkaeswara Rao of Vijayawada for influencing Mr. Ananth Kumar MP in taking our case of the improved scales. Mr. Ananth Kumar was able to influence his Cabinet colleagues and also paved the way for the sitting of Group of Ministers to finalize our case.

The above revised Pay scales have been granted on notional basis with effect from 01-01-1996 and actual payment prospectively from the date of approval from the Cabinet i.e. from 19th February 2003.

As members of AIRASA you should know the developments that took place after the Group of Ministers held on 11-11-2002. It is true that there was much excitement and elation when finally our efforts in making the GOM convinced of the justness in granting the improved Pay scales. It is true that our Hon`ble Railway Minister fought for our case with his usual flamboyance and won the battle much to the Chagrin of the bureaucrats of Ministry of Finance and DOPT. There have been forces working against us both within and outside the Railways even for the denial of Pay scales. Though they could not suceed in the past, this time they managed to make a reference in the minutes of GOM to allow the pay scles only on notional basis from 1-1-96, thereby denying the payment of arrears.

You all know Railway Accounts was the only beneficiary to be endowed with this improved pay scales by the Group of Ministers. All other Audit and Accounts staff accounting for nearly 1.5 lakhs were left out of the arbit and since been extended the disposition given to Railway Accounts staff and the Government projectede the cost of the exchequer as a whopping of Rs. 1500 crores if paid with arrears from 1-1-1996. This piece of statistics has worked against us and the Minister had to concede the argument of payment of arrears.

This has been a sweet news for the pervert outfits. These very groups have in fact been instrumental for the birth of AIRASA. It is due to their negative omissions and commissions we were left out of the otherwise generous recommendations of the vth PC. Now again we have been forced to fight for arrears due to their sinister designs

The Association thanks all office bearers and staff of the Accounts Department for their untiring efforts in realizing the long cherished dream of achieving improved Pay Scales.

All these events have taught us one invaluable lesson, that self help is the best form of help, that it is not only the cadre based organisations that can stand up and be counted in times of crisis. By being a member of AIRASA, you have entered the portals of a great school of thought, the domain of classless. Casteless society where you are encouraged to be free,frank and fearless.

Today besides Improved Pay scales we have got ACP for our direct recruit JAAs, restructuring, Sr. AA post, from 25% to 33 and 1/3% for our class iv staff, we were able to get Appendex 3A split into two parts. We are proud to announce that VII th Pay Commission has called us to attend the Oral evidence.

On 15-7-2011 we had our CWC meeting at New Delhi. On 22-2-2012 we had our CWC meeting at Kharagpur . Sri N. Srinivasan relinquished from the post of General Secretary on his elevation as AFA. Hats of to him for his unquestionable leadership, untiring and relentless struggle for the last 15 years. Mr M.S. Unnikrishnan Nair took over as Gen. Sec in the year 2012 . We had our BGM meeting at Madurai on 23rd July 2012. Our AGM at Patiala on 30-9-2013. CWC meeting at Vijayawada on 7th April 2014 and VIII th BGM at Jhansi on 29th April 2015. Sri Unnikrishnan relinquished from the post of GS. Sri Reji George from Southern Railway took over as New Gen. Sec. on 29th April 2015.

Our goal is not something of an achivement in monetary terms. It is not something measurable quantitatively. It is the retrieval of our rightful place of importance. It is the very asbstraction of the pride and prestige of the accounts cadre as a whole. What we have achieved today is the Blood and sweat of the Accounts man. We have miles and miles to go.It is an endless quest for dignity. Let us MARCH ON.