2nd CEC MEETING ON 23RD AND 24TH JANUARY 2010 AT JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN
The 2nd CEC meeting commenced at around 10:30 am on 23/01/2010 with the welcome of the Chief Guest Sri R.K.Singh, Commissioner, Jaipur.
After a formal welcome address by the host unit wearing of the SAFA was performed by the Secretary General and the President of AICEIA presented the memento to the Chief Guest. This was followed by the lighting of the lamp and the unveiling of the magazine of the Raipur Commissionerate ‘ECHO’
The Chief Guest congratulated the members for having great ideas on their agenda and reiterated that the cadre of inspectors are the backbone of the CBEC.
The President of the AICEIA, Sri Arun Zacharia in his speech said that the meeting was being held on the background of a big success i.e. grade pay of 4600. This will help us to take more bolder steps in future.
In his speech the Secretary General of AICEIA, Sri Kousik Roy thanked the host unit for having the CEC at the historical city of Jaipur and the Chief Guest for his blessings. He congratulated the efforts of Sri Ajay Kundu, the working president and Sri Virender Thakur for the benefit of the Association and the cadre.
The General Secretary of Jaipur Sri Tiwari thanked the AICEIA for giving Jaipur a chance to hold the meeting.
The business commenced after a short tea break. There was a minute’s silence in memory of those who passed away since last CEC. The president invited Sri Virender Thakur of Chandigarh who was instrumental in the 4600 GP to say a few words. Sri Thakur said that no individual can act without a team and blessings of seniors. Divisionary politics and personal ego pain us. We have to believe in our leaders he stressed. He reminded that we were all desperate at Chandigarh CEC. Stagnation is still a severe problem.
After The constitution of All India Central Excise Inspector’s Association new units participating for the first time in this CEC are Nasik, Bhopal and Indore. There was a round of applause for all the new comers.
The minutes were read and put to discussion for confirmation.
Com. Padma Kumar from Kerala accepted the minutes. Delegates from Coimbatore, Salem, Madurai and Karnataka also accepted the minutes.
Sri H.K.Ghoshal of Raipur impressed on his efforts to strengthen the organization at Indore and Bhopal. Both the units are present in this meeting.
Bhubaneswar has also passed the minutes but have asked for early circulation of the minutes.
Comrade Dilip Pandiya from Rajkot informed the house that there is no defined policy of transfer between the zones in Gujarat. Vapi and Gujarat also confirmed the minutes. Chandigarh Zone raised the point that appraisers who are junior to most inspectors are being posted as superintendents. This point is missing in the minutes of the 1st CEC.
Rajasthan Circle has also passed the minutes.
Minutes have been declared to be passed and confirmed with corrections.
TABLING OF THE ATR BY THE S.G.
After tabling of the Action Taken Report it was put up to the house for discussion.
Com Ravi Shanker from Karnataka Circle raised the issue of the role of inspector of ACES. The President in his reply said that the board has realized that there are some requirements for changes in ACES but kept pending till GST.
Com Shibaji Nayak of Bhubaneswar said he was privileged to be part of this team. Dept. of Expenditure were buying time because they were waiting for the retirement of Revenue (Secy). Members giving comments on the blog should also mention commissionerate name, branch or circle. We have a lot of member support and confidence as is seen from the comments on the blog. We need to take a resolution to appreciate other organistions. We also need to congratulate ourselves. Sri Nayak wanted to know in how many Commissionerates the problem of 1992 is prevailing. If notional fixation is achieved the 1992 batch anomaly can be resolved. He referred to the Cuttack CAT case which has given its judgment in our favour and said that we are legitimately due to get our pay fixed not from 1.1.96 but from 1.1.86.He insisted that we have to pursue the matter vigorously and referred to the note-sheet of the expenditure ministry wherein our comparability with the CBI inspectors is approved but financial part is not. We have to pursue the matter like we have done in the case of 4600 GP. He thanked Comrade Ghoshal for his efforts in bringing Indore and Bhopal into the fold of AICEIA.
Comrade Ajit Kumar from Raipur unit has said that in September 2009 his Circle has handed over a representation for bifurcation of existing commissionerate and creation of a new service tax commissionerate owing to revenue consideration and stagnation. The representation was forwarded to the board through proper channel. In Raipur, Indore and Bhopal promotion of 1987 batch is still to be completed. Com. Ajit has requested the chair to take a note of regional disparity. Some alternative plans should be chalked out. He has requested the Secretary General and President to Central Zone.
Com P.S.Abraham from Nasik said that the main issues with the AICEIA are stagnation, 1.1.96 and 5400. Our decisions taken in this meeting are vital for future actions. In Nasik Zone 1989 batch has started to get promotion. P.O.’s and Examiners are in a way eating into our posts. He suggested that the 2nd promotion should be on the length of service as inspector. Board is aware of the injustice. We should extract whatever maximum we can at this moment by keeping the momentum going. Emotional factors should be projected to the board. We should propose a cutting year for promotion as per Com Abraham.
Com Mahesh from Bhopal said that the 6th Pay Commission has done everything dirty by giving us 4200 GP. He thanked the leadership for achieving 4600 GP. Stagnation is now our main frustration. There is a rumour that inspectors upto 1995 batch will get promotion. He proposed for an examination for promotion. Many of our issues should also be taken by the Central Government Organisations. Uniform allowance of 1250/is a meager amount as per Com. Mahesh.
AFTER LUNCH SESSION
Com Vinod Sharma from Indore Circle has informed the house that his zone has decided to join a recognized organization. The situation has become bad to worse after restructuring. He informed that the strength has been reduced from 972 to 530 inspite of increased work load. He thanked the host unit for the great hospitality.
Com Jasram Meena, JS (WZ) congratulated the Central body and the members for their achievement. In Trichy convention there was a demand for 4800 GP but he questioned why we have not put up this demand at any forum. He also said that the clarification regarding the GP of 4600 is also required. Inspectors should get 4800 GP after 4 years as inspectors.
He also wanted that a transaction of Rs.50,000/- should be the minimum limit for intimation to the department. Efforts were based on just one issue i.e. 4600 GP. Uniform Allowance has not been increased. Rummaging allowance has not been increased. Petrol allowance should be given to all inspectors. He also reiterated the fact that the spirit of the Cuttack CAT is in favour of the cadre.
Com. Bajaj of Delhi has said that his circle has not yet decided as to which association his circle shall be affiliated to. DOPT has already given a clarification regarding 4600 GP in the ministry of petroleum. He showed the clarification in this matter to the house. He suggested that there should be a Joint Action Committee for achieving removal of stagnation during restructuring.
Com. Virender of Chandigarh Circle is in full agreement with the ATR.
Com. Abhay Singh of Rajasthan congratulated the host unit for the wonderful arrangement. He wanted the fixation as put forward by Com. Bajaj. He asked why we cannot file a court case for attainment of promotion. He supported the call of Com. Meena for 4800 GP after 4 years as Inspector. He also wanted clarification regarding MACP. Earlier TA was an upgraded post and it should not be considered as a promotion for MACP purpose. He also informed the house about the poor infrastructure at a LCS station at Monabao. It is a very sensitive LCS on the Indo-Pak border and he informed that an Inspector in Rajasthan covers an area of 3000-5000 kms. As such area should be considered along with revenue during re-structuring. A vigilance file opens because of one complaint and the individual suffers forever and the person is blacklisted. This should not be the case Com. Abhay Singh said.
The President clarified that the bar on promotion would set in only on framing of the charge by the court which actually takes place only when the court conducts an inquiry. As per Com. Virender the local units have a role to play. He said that the word ‘under cloud’ should be clarified by the board and the individual should not be denied a transfer posting based on the word ‘unde rcloud.’
Com. Abhay Singh continued that the percentage of compassionate appointment should be increased. He asked the association to clarify the GST issue.
Com Padma Kumar from Kerala said that there were many positives and negatives in the ATR. The central body deserves commendation for the efforts taken. All the members are getting a chance to put their views democratically in the meetings which was not the case earlier. Our prime concern was the status of the cadre. Our cadre has got back the status by the restoration of up-gradation. 13/11/09 order is a historical order. There should be such meeting every 6 months as to revive the momentum. Now the first and most vital issue is that of stagnation. The entire career will end with just one promotion in life. Let us converge at this one point. – REDUCE STAGNATION. Without support from inspectors Superintendents cannot operate ACES. Unless we get a chance to present our views no restructuring should take place. Fixation of revised pay scale is under the consideration of the board. The august body should have a core body from the presidium to follow-up the matter.
As per Com Padma Kumar we have already filed a CAT case for 5400 GP for ACP inspectors. Therefore we should not dilute the issue by asking for 4800 GP after 4 years as inspector. Another commendable job is increasing the number of units.
Com Anil Kumar from Coimbatore said that the benefits were extended to 1992 batch officers but was later recovered. Regarding 1.1.96 there should be a joint action by the Superintendents and I.T. department. Units should donate generously for funding the organization. The ratio of promotion is 6:2:1 for Assistant Commissioner’s . We should stress for 16:2:1. Those who have completed 15 years can be promoted as a one time measure. Uniform allowance and Diet allowance have not been revised. There is a 25% vacancy in the Commissionerates even after Direct Recruits have joined. Promotees can be promoted to fill these vacancies. There is no point in physical examination for inspectors any longer.
Comrade Karunakaran from Trichy believes that the present team will definitely accomplish. They are collecting donations from inspectors. One comrade from Madurai on 1.1.96 issue has filed a writ petition. We cannot accept 5400 in PB2. NFSG should be 5400 in PB3. We have to pursue sincerely for compassionate appointment committees.
Comrade E.Swamy of Madurai reiterated that the CEC under the present leadership is very fruitful. Mandate is for notional fixation with arrears from 1.1.96. He favoured a core body for this issue as put forward by Comrade Padma Kumar. He said that we have to bargain hard during restructuring and implementation of GST.ACES is being implemented without consulting our cadre. Doctors got a dynamic ACP in NFSG and we can work out on the same basis. He also said that for purchasing an article for Rs.15,000/- there is no necessity for informing the department. There is a universal problem regarding ICTs. Any organization without fund is like a dead snake.
The amendment as given in ATR can be accepted.
Comrade K.S.Kumar from Salem Branch stressed the necessity to stick to notional fixation without arrears and said that a comrade from Chennai has filed a case in Chennai CAT regarding 5400. We can ask for withdrawal of Uniform Allowance. Bank’s were given an increment for updating in Computer Knowledge.
Comrade Dilip Pandya of Rajkot said that member P&V has given a proposal for creation of separate Custom Cadre at Ahmedabad and Delhi. Ahmedbad, Rajkot and Bhavnagar were asked for comments. A separate cadre is not required in Gujarat. Reasons for such proposal are not known. There are major ports and large sensitive Custom areas in Gujarat. He said that we have to give a signal to the Board that we are one by having a common programme. This message is required to be sent to the Board. He has also requested for a thought on compassionate appointment.
Comrade Sourav Arora from Ahmedabad said that he is one of the junior most delegate and that this is his first CEC. He said that there is no dearth of finances and there should not be in future. Our one point agenda should be STAGNATION. Media coverage is required and there should be unity in the cadre for us to succeed.
Comrade from Surat said that are no government buildings and no quarters. He emphasized the full support of his circle to the current leadership.
Comrade B.L.Meena from Rajasthan welcomed all the delegates to Jaipur. He said that 4600 Grade Pay has not been completely fulfilled. It is shameful that Delhi is not yet affiliated. He asked why the strike was called off when only one point was achieved. No specifics are available regarding 7450 pay- scale.
Comrade Venkatkrishnan of Chennai said that on 07/10/2009 the board has again rejected the pay disparity of 1992 batch quoting personal pay. He wanted the copy of the memorandum to the Finance Minister
Regarding the issue of clarification of occasions on which wearing of uniform is compulsory the Board has said that there is no authority. It is only there in OPM. All members should pay their dues to the AICEIA. In the DT code they say that even GPF withdrawal should be taxed. We should support confederation demand of the 7th pay commission by 2011. There is no limit for compassionate appointment in the Railways as per the comrade. He emphasized that there are three main agendas namely 1) 1.1.96 2) 5400 grade pay and 3) Stagnation
Harshavardhan Sharma from the local unit said that we are lacking in putting forth our issues before the authorities. The Charter should be minimum and other demands should be achieved by persuasion.
Com. Shibaji Nayak raised the issue of All India Seniority and members can be availing ICT after All India Seniority.
Com. Kedar Moitra thanked the AICEIA for 4600 Grade Pay. Most important is the 1.1.96 notional fixation and 5400 grade pay. We should chalk out programmes to achieve these demands. We have to see whether it is possible to finish off differences within. Fund is also an important issue. West Bengal Circle proposes to create a fund for organizational purposes. A separate committee can be formed for this purpose. CGEIS is not recorded in the service books properly. As a result members are not getting the benefit at the end of the career.
SECRETARY GENERAL’S REPORT –
The SG thanked the CEC members for the good deliberations. He agreed that the main problems were indeed the notional fixation from 1.1.96 issue, 5400 Grade Pay issue and Stagnation and explained the actions taken and programmes to be taken by the AICEIA in the future in tackling the issues. The generation of funds should be looked into. He said that the Department has to go to the Supreme Court for the change of ratio as impressed by the Law Ministry. The Association has fought for compassionate appointment. There should be no limit, he said and the omission of this issue in the SG report is only accidental and not intentional. We can avail of the Welfare Fund where there is a huge fund. He requested the Chandigarh unit to fix an appointment with the Finance Ministry. He clarified that the promotion of TA to Inspector is an upgraded post and not a promotion. He emphasized that he is looking forward for co-operation from the Superintendent’s Association.
Regarding ACES the point is well taken and the matter is being taken up with the board. Regarding GST and stagnation we should burst for at least 3-4 promotions.
We also have to go for an agitational programme. We can also oppose the formation of separate Customs and Central Excise by an organistional agitation.
The Central Committee has applied for abolishing of uniform in Customs & Central Excise. There is a demand for 5000/- for washing allowance and an initial equipment allowance of Rs.14000/- for Khaki and Rs.16000/- for white uniform.
The Secretary General stated that we would be associated in all conferences called by the confederation.
He felt that there should be a cut off for promotion. May be 10/12 years. He also felt the need for an office bearer from Delhi. Regarding the question of the call off of strike he said that it was a combined decision. He said that there is an instruction from the board that local units cannot communicate directly with the board. Suggestions regarding vigilance cases will be taken up if given in writing. He said that the Working President has taken up some cases. The issue of compassionate appointment should be taken up in the charter of demands.
The members have approved the ACTION TAKEN REPORT.
New Delhi has consented to hold the next C.E.C.
The President has put forward a proposal for settlement of dues to the ex-president.
There is a proposal for a Joint Action Committee with the Superintendent Association.
2nd day, 24th January 2010
At the very beginning Si Suman Chakraborty, treasurer placed his accounts for the year 2008 & 2009. the due position has been read out by the treasurer.
The Working President, Sri Ajay Kundu warned the delegates that the job of the Central Committee is not easy. The Board will not heed to our demands in toto, he said. Even 4600 G.P. was rejected 4 times. He suggested whether we can have an IAS cadre as our chairman instead of an IRS.
If every unit convinces at least 2 MPs and forwards our recommendations to the FM, then we will have 50 MPs supporting our stand. Ministry of Expenditure can be approached by the Rajasthan unit.
The Secretary general proposed a JAC along with the Superintendent’s Association. A letter of congratulations to be sent to the newly elected office bearers of the Superintendent’s Association. The President also read out the names of Presidential Awardees in 2010.
1. Sri Rajasekhar Reddy, Hyderabad DRI
2. Sri Gurjit singh, DRI, N.Delhi
3. Sri E. Rajasekhar, PDY
4. Sri Diwakar Joshi, IO, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, N.Delhi
5. Sri S. Muralidharan, CBE
6. Sri Nali Kumar Jha, DRI, ADI
7. Sri shwananda Prabu, Inspector LTU, Bengaluru
A letter of congratulations to be sent to all awardees.
The detailed discussion on Restructuring followed for the rest of the session-
In a reply to a query from Sri Virender the President said that all reports related to restructuring along with High Powered Committee report are with the HRD Ministry. After the Board accepts it goes to DOPT and DOE and then a cabinet note is made.
Earlier Bhardwaj Committee was created. A High Powered Committee is created and its report may die out but we have to discuss with the Board on these reports. HRD placed a presentation with the Board on 7th December 2009.
Comrade Vaidyanathan from Kerala started by saying that the Group A is trying to steal the benefits of restructuring. Re-structuring is too premature since GST is in the offing. There is a proposal for PCC (Principal Chief Commissioner). This proves that the proposals are catering to IRS officers. Kerala has passed a resolution that the members of the board could be from the Civil services. We can approach the IAS organizations.Senior level IAS officers will be deliberating on GST issues. This is the most appropriate time to attack the IRS officers and send out a message that we no longer believe them.
Only a restructured board should take care of Restructuring OR else we will meet the same fate as in 2002. At one go we can remove stagnation by promoting all inspectors upto the level of Po’s and Examiners, he suggested. Accepting Deputy assistant Commissioner’s post will further downgrade the Inspector cadre and there is a chance of Inspector’s Grade Pay to be downgraded to 4200 in the Pay Commission. Income Tax has taken into A/c the total number of PAN Holders, the number of Shipping Bills and Bill of Entry in the cas of Customs but the number of Service Tax returns/assesses is not being taken into account in our department. Assessee base should form the basis for formulating the number of AC’s and Commissioners. There is always a favour shown to the pure customs than our people. Only 2 ranges in Kerala has a revenue of 80 crores. Why cannot we have a range office for trade facilitation? Study reports are not taking into account the GST. When GST comes, the dispensation will change. There are 20 states in India where an Inspector of Sales Taxes gets 2 promotions in 15 years. As per the Study Group II, each Division is proposed to be 400 crores. As per this proposal we need at least 5000 Ac’s as against 1375 AC’s at present. Our proposal should be an AC for at least 250 crores. Justice delayed is justice denied, the comrade quoted saying our people are overburdened. He suggested that Adjudication power should be delinked. We should have an AC (Adjudication). The number of cases will increase with the implementation of GST. If the IRS officers head the board, they will be prisoners of the system. To inject new blood we need an IAS officer to think logically. Redesignation of Superintendents who have completed 25 years as DAC is a silver lining but he prefers the name Additional A.C. This should be on the basis of base cadre seniority. There should be a ratio between Ac’s and Commissioner’s. There should be a reduction in the direct recruitment stage to AC’s. It is not synchosanct with other departments. Quota of 6:!:2 is long overdue for change.
Com Virender said that the change is eminent with the advent of GST. IAS officers are anyway going to deal with GST, he said. He wanted to know whether the present restructuring is taking into a/c the GST.
Comrades from Coimbtore and Salem were in agreement with Comrade Vaidyanthan. But they do not agree with the post of Deputy Assistant Commissioner.
Sri E.Samy of Madurai wanted the cadre of Inspectors and Superintendents to be merged. They should have a common sanctioned strength. It is also revenue neutral, he pointed out.Ratio of AC’s should be like that of IT. DAC should be there with a special pay he opined. He wanted to retain the IRS cadre.
Comrade Venkateswaran is against IAS at board level. Does not approve of any post in the name of DAC.
Comrade Venkata Krishna from Chennai says we should have a minimum of 4 promotions. Comrade Ravi from Karnataka approves of Adjudicting AC’s at Divisional Level but they should not be from promotees. There should not be any DAC.
Comrade Shibaji from Bhubaneshwar thinks that bringing restructuring before GST is not fruitful.
The President intervened saying that we have already given a proposal to the study groups. Now since the committee reports are out, we have to give our proposals in light of committee reports before finalization.
Comrade Shibaji continued that we have proposed in 2002 that allocation of posts should be based on stagnation. Stagnation is a basic key point for restructuring. 10 years should be the basis for promotion. Does not support the stand that IAS should head the Board. Does not endorse DAC either.
Shri Ajit Kumar from Raipur said that the Task Force II and HPC have taken CENVAT into account, which is welcome. Philosophy of the Government is to take governance to the doorstep of the assesses. Bhopal has the highest revenue but excluded from any bifurcation. Raipur has a single unitwith a large revenue. Raipur is placed in the 6000-8000 slab but revenue was 8045 crores. Single unit SAIL, Bhilai has a revenue of 2195 crores in 07-08. Commissionerate still has a revenue of nearly 6000 crores. Even if 500 crores is the basis there can be many more Commissionerates. From 8045 crores even if we take away top 10 units there is a revenue of 3609 crores. All these facts should be taken into account. The statistics of the committee reports can be used to get our proposals through. Restructuring exercise just for Administrative convenience should not be there. We should not go for a specific number of posts since it will led to fighting out for allocation. There should be a cut-off date for promotion. There has been unfair allocation of posts.
Com Vinod Sharma from Indore said that his zone is in immense pain due to stagnation. Raipur, Bhopal and Indore has a total revenue of 16,000 crores. There are various functions like Refunds which requires officers but does not generate any revenue. All such functions should also be considered and not just revenue. He feels that if we propose IAS manned Board, it can be result oriented. A national level seniority is the only way out.
Com. Abraham from Nasik said that proposals of creating more Divisions and heading of Divisions by J.C’s may be a solution. Norms are fixed not taking into consideration the problems of the grass root level.
Sri Kedar Moitra of west Bengal said that there are two things to be considered 1. restructuring before GST and 2. Restructuring after GST. He said that our ex-S.G. Sri Tirthankar Pyne incorporated the importance of Audit in a memorandum. A proposal of 2500 Superintendents and 2500 AC’s was made which was based on Kelkar Committee. Our structure is like a sand clock but it should be like a barrel. DAC is just a mockery. Without giving any monetary benefit or nomenclature Senior Superintendents will be loaded with Adjudication after GST. After GST Commissionerates and higher level will anyway be led by IAS. This should not be our lookout. We can interact with the Superintendent’s Association and have a combined effort.
Vapi Circle was of the opinion that there is no need of Customs and Central Excise when an All India CIT Services is proposed. There can be only one service from Inspector to Commissioner. There is also a proposal for promotion by giving examination and seniority. The proposal for a cut off year for promotion across the country is agreed to . After GST the assessee base will increase ten times and there is scope for more posts.
Com. Virender from Chandigarh emphasized that concerted efforts are there to keep us out of IRS stream. IT has not introduced any intermediary post. For ONE Gr.A officer we have 15 Gr.B posts. We have to talk of reduction of ratio of Gr.A :Gr.B . It should be brought to parity with the 2nd best of 1:6. Restructuring should be repeated after GST. DAC is an evil design to pass less lucrative work and overburden us.
Com. Bhagwan Singh said that he too was against DAC. The present system should prevail and more Commissioner posts should be created so that other posts will follow as per ratio. Increase in the number of Commissionerates is not the solution. Number of AC/DC, JC posts should increase. He added that IRS & IAS are part of the same society. Chitra Gouri Lal is the representative of the
IRS community and will not do any good to our cadre. We should demand for time bound promotion. Why should we not ask for promotion after 4 years as in IRS.
Shri Tiwari from the host unit endorses the HPC proposal of promotion on the basis of the last superintendent promoted but is against DAC. He suggested that the restructuring proposal may be postponed till GST. He further added that merit cum seniority promotion can be followed and Direct Ac’s ratio to be kept to a bare minimum. Our scope and extent is much more than an examiner. We can insist on merger of the cadre. Oppose the creation of Range, Division and Commissionerates on the basis of revenue. Service Tax ranges of Ganganagar district is more than that of Punjab. Number of Superintendents under an A.C. ratio should be favourable. We should send references from MP`s and ministers. Rajsthan will send recommendation from at least 4 MP`s. We can go with Superintendents at least to fulfil common goals. Monabao is an unique LCS in Rajasthan and the mater should be included in the memorandum.
The President took over and said that one single restructuring is not sufficient. Reality is shortage of AC & DC. Gr. B is 13,000 whereas Gr. A is only 2,000+. HPC has proposed Sr. Supdt. Post which has no upward mobility. We can have a separate service, which can merge with JC. After redesignation, the inspectors should be merged and promoted from the common seniority list. How much time it will take for GST to materialize, we do not know. We can harp for restructuring after GST only if the proposals are not in our favour.
Direct Recruits for AC’s should be brought down to 25% as in PostalService.
Finally it was unanimously accepted that the three most important priorities facing the AICEIA are
1. The issue of notional fixation from 1.1.96
2. Grade pay of 5400 and
Programs that can be taken may be as follows-
1. Send a memorandum to the Board, Revenue Secretary and Finance Minister
2. have a parliament Rally and a Rally at Jantar Mantar along with Supdt Association.
3. Try to meet Minister of Parliament Affairs
4. Acknowledge the help of the minister and thank him
5. Request rajasthan unit for a meeting with the MOS (Expenditure).
The vote of thanks was given by the host unit and then there was the traditional distribution of momentoes. The meeting ended with the National Anthem.