ITEF- a brief history.
Till 1949 the movement of Income Tax Employees was confined to some of the regions sans an allIndiabody. The initiation of forming an All India organization of the Income tax Employees was first mooted in 1949. Com. P.N.Das ofPatnaand Com. D.K. Khandekar of Mumbai toured all over the country and convened a meeting inDelhiin September, 1949 of various regional bodies. In that convention an apex body was formed. That convention gave a call for boycotting the Departmental Examination. Though the action was limited to the examinees, that was perhaps the first allIndiaagitation by the Income-tax Employees which elicited a massive response. Since the Association elected Shri Ashok Mehta, an eminent and illustrious person as its president, the Govt. refused to accord recognition under the specious plea that no outsider should be appointed or elected as Office Bearers, leading to the premature death of that body. Untiring efforts of Com. D.S. Rajaratnam ofNagpursucceeded and a convention was held atNagpuron 10.02.1953. In that convention Com. S.K.Majumdar ofPatnaand Com. Rajarathnam were elected President and General Secretary respectively and continued in these posts till 1961. Though in May 1954, the Federation was granted recognition, the office bearers of the Federation had to face innumerable vindictive and punitive actions from the Government for the militant stand taken by the Federation. Com. D.S. Rajarathnam was first transferred to a remote place in Madhya Pradesh, then placed under suspension and the then Central Board of Revenues proposed his compulsory retirement from service under the National Security Act.
The Ist conference of the Federation was held at Kolkata in 1955. An agitation in the form of Demands Day on 30th March 1955 was organised which led to the resolution for the grant of Advance Increment for passing the Deptl. Examination, to treat Special pay as pay, increased the promotional quota and granted permission to publish the journal “Aayakar”. In 1957, our Federation was one of the organizations that served the strike notice demanding 2nd pay commission. Tough the Govt. set up the 2nd CPC, its retrograde and disappointing recommendations lead to the five days glorious strike in 1960 in which our Federation actively participated. The services of many of our comrades who participated in the strike were terminated, good number of our leaders were suspended and many had to face other vindictive action unleashed by the Govt
In 1963 Com. G.S. Gnanam took over as General Secretary. The proposal of the Govt. to amend the provisions of Article 311 to deny constitutional protection to Civil servants was met with a massive protest by the CG Employees and ITEF took active part in that action programme. Under the leadership of Com. Gnanam, the ITEF could move into our own building purchased with the funds raised from the members. The building was appropriately named after its legendary President, Com. Maninishinath Ghosh. The building was renovated in the year 1998 into a multi storied structure by funds collected as donations from its members.
At the 11th Conference held at Bombay in 1967, Com. Manishinath Gosh and Com. K.N.Nayagam were elected as President and General Secretary respectively. In 1969, Com. Pathik Banerji was elected as President of the Federation on the retirement of Com. Manishinath Ghosh. Com. K.N.Nayagam continued as General Secretary till 1979. ITEF was one of the founding organizations of the Confederation of Central Government employees. Com. G.S. Gnanm the then General Secretary of ITEF was elected as the Secretary General of Confederation. In the one day strike organized on 19th September, 1968, under the auspices of Confederation of Central Government employees and workers, demanding inter alia the need based minimum wage ITEF participated under the leadership of Com. Nayagam. The then Congress Government of Mrs. Indira Gandhi unleashed a reign of terror. Thousands of employees were terminated, leaders of the movements were jailed, and in the brutal police action a few comrades were shot dead. The recognition of the Federation and foreign service facility of the General Secretary were withdrawn. It was after protracted struggles the Govt. restored the recognition and vacated most of the victimizations.
The ITEF and its units participated in the famous 1974 Strike along with the Railway Workers. Com. P.S. Rashtrapal, the then Joint Secretary of ITEF played a pivotal role in organizing the Railway workers inGujarat.
In the 1979 conference held atKochi, Com. Nayagam was elected as President and Com. Pathik Banerji as General Secretary. In 1981, Com. Pathik Banerji took over again as President and Com. KKN Kutty was elected as General Secretary, who continued in that post till date. Com. Sanjiban Kumar Bhattacharya succeeded Com Pathik Banerji in 1996 and Com. Umesh Mehta became the President of ITEF in the 1998 to continue until his retirement in 2006. Com.V.S.R.Krishna the then General Secretary of ITEF,AP Circle took over as President at the Chennai Conference in 2006. In 2007 December Com. KKN kutty superannuated from service but continued as secretary General till 2009 February. In the 27th All India Conference held at Mumbai Coms. K.P.Rajgopal and Ashok. B.Salunkhe took over as President and Secretary General respectively. In the 28th Conference held at Mehsana(Gujarat) Coms.Ashok.B.Salunkhe and K.P.Rajgopal were elected as President and Secretary General respectively.
The urge for a united movement with the promotee officers of the Income tax Department took organizational shape in 1987. The two Federations joined to create the Joint Council of action to spear head the strike action on 15th December, 1987. The joint movement of the two Federations, representing about 97% of the Tax personnel brought about career advancement of an unprecedented nature to all its members.
The ITEF has faced insurmountable difficulties in 80s. During the struggles organised many of our comrades were victimized. The President of MP Circle, late Com. G.R.Kuril was dismissed from service under article 311(2)(b) of the Constitution without holding any inquiry. Late Com. Sharad Parab, the then General Secretary of ourBombay Circleand Com. Vinod Behari Srivastava, the General Secretary ofWestern UP Kanpur Circle, were also dismissed from service during the period. The seven-day hunger strikes by Com. PV Vargheese during the struggle of Rajasthan IT employees and the suspension of Com. Suresh Ajmera of Rajasthan have also taken place during the period. Our best efforts and struggles did not result in the reinstatement of Com. Sharad Parab and Com. Srivastava. After a prolonged struggle, the dismissal order of Com. G.R.Kuril was set-aside and suspension of Com. Suresh Ajmera was revoked.
In 1993, the Government promulgated the new Recognition rules. To abide by the said rules, the ITEF which had a federal structure had to perforce become a unitary all India Association. Strenuous efforts were made to bring all category/cadre wise organizations as also the composite organization which was in existence in Tamilnadu and not affiliated to the ITEF to the fold of ITEF. With the co-operation of all concerned we succeeded in bringing about a monolithic organization of all non gazetted employees of the Income tax Department under the banner of ITEF. It had its salutary effect and impact on its future functioning evidenced from the fact that ITEF could organaise an indefinite strike on the call of the Confederation in 1996 against the United Front Govt.’s decision to discriminate the CGEs from the Raailway workers on the question of Bonus.
The 5th CPC which submitted its report in 1997 inter-alia, recommended drastic downsizing of the Staff strength and abolition of about 3.5 lakhs posts. Upon the service of a strike notice by the organizations participating in the JCM, the Govt. was forced to set up a committee of Group of Ministers for serious negotiations. The discussions which prolonged continuously for 36 hours with the Group of Ministers resulted in the conceding of 40% rise in the pay. In this negotiation the ITEF Secretary General Com. K.K.N.Kutty, played a pivotal role.
The Cadre Restructuring of the Income tax Department, with the joint effort of all the three All India Federations viz. ITEF, ITGSF and the IRS Association initiated in the year 1998 got the seal of approval from the Government in 2000. The proposal was in Toto approved by the Govt. which has no precedence in the recorded history of Governmental functioning. The Cadre restructuring brought promotion to almost all employees and officers within the span of three years, 60% of them getting the benefit in the year 2001 itself. After the V-CPC report was submitted the ITEF took initiative to coordinate all the Federations in the Department of Revenue and the COC of Federations in the Department of Revenue came into existence and forged a united movement which resulted in the upward revision of the pay scales of Inspectors and Group B Officers.
To mark the 50th year of our struggle and advancement, ITEF organized special functions at all State Capitals beginning from a Special Conference convened at Mumbai and concluding with the Silver Jubilee Conference at Kolkata in February, 2003. The Federation Headquarters throughout the period has strived to maintain contact with its grass root level members through its monthly journal Aayakar. Since 1981 it has not missed to be published anytime till date. The journal remains a powerful link between the members and the CHQ.
ITEF is no doubt today a militant organization, capable of organizing its members for industrial action. In the last one day strike on 20th August, 2008 organized under the auspices of the Sponsoring Committee of Central Trade Unions and Federations against the continuing neo liberal economic, ITEF could register cent per cent participation of its members. The Offices of the Income tax Department throughout the country remained closed on that day due to the impact of the strike. The growing influence of ITEF in the Trade Unions in the country, especially among the Central Govt. employees Federations could be gauged from the fact that its Secretary General , Com. K.K.N.Kutty was elected as the Secretary General of the Confederation of Central Govt. Employees and Workers in the national convention in 2006 and as a Directive Committee Member of the Trade Union International- public and allied services under the World Federation of Trade Unions.
The verification of membership which was last conducted by the Government in 2003 in our Department returned the verdict of 98% of the non-gazetted employees being members of ITEF. Our achievements had been the product of the endeavour, unitedly made by its members. We have suffered immensely as and when the unity was disrupted. In the face of the new challenges, let us cement the unity; we have assiduously strived to bring about and march ahead with determination.