Tuesday, 17 May, 2022
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Can run railways without you, Piyush Goyal tells officers angry about merger of 8 services

Railways ministry refutes allegation that Piyush Goyal was rude to officials, says the meeting was held in a “cordial atmosphere”.

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New Delhi: Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal allegedly pulled up officers last week for protesting against the Modi government’s decision to merge eight railway services into a single Indian Railways Management Service (IRMS).

At a meeting held days after the Union Cabinet approved the merger in December, Goyal is said to have criticised the social media campaign against it and told railways officers that “he can run the railways without the officers”.

The railways ministry confirmed that such a meeting with a group of railways officers was held, but the spokesperson said the claim that the minister was rude to officials was “absolutely incorrect,” and that the meeting was held in a “cordial atmosphere.”

“This is a period of uncertainty, and some officers could be saying these things as a result of the confusion,” the spokesperson said. “The ministry is committed to hearing the officers out and ensure their best interest.”

Two senior railways officers told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity that the minister was extremely infuriated at the developments that followed the government’s decision.

He told the officers that this campaign on social media and sending postcards to the PMO are being watched and are not appreciated,” one of the senior officers said.

ThePrint had reported that the merger of eight services, technical and non-technical, had triggered widespread resentment among railway officers. Several officers subsequently began a campaign where the PM was sent thousands of postcards with messages such as #NoToIRMS, #SaveIndianRailways, etc.

Several others gave up the protection of anonymity and took to social media to express shock and disappointment.

After the meeting, we don’t have much hope that anything will be done…” the aforementioned officer said. “He (Goyal) also said he can run the railways without the officers.” 

‘Aggressive approach’

The eight services affected by the merger, cleared by the Cabinet on 24 December, include the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS), and Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS), which constitute the transporter’s civil services. The remaining five are technical or engineering services.

Officers of the IRTS, IRAS and IRPS are selected through the civil services exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and have objected to the merger with the technical services, whose members are recruited on the basis of the Indian Engineering Services (IES) exam, which is organised by the UPSC as well. 

First we were not consulted when such a major decision was taken regarding our service and careers, and now, instead of building the trust of disgruntled officers, the government is adopting such an aggressive approach,” the second railway officer privy to the meeting said. 


Also Read: The rise & rise of Piyush Goyal – scourge of the IAS, go-to man for PM Modi & Amit Shah


‘Meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere’

Responding to queries sent by ThePrint, the spokesperson said, Goyal met a group of railways officers “to discuss the recently announced reorganisation and restructuring in Indian Railways which included unification of organised services into single service namely Indian Railways Management Service (IRMS)”.

“The meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere. Officers were given the opportunity to put forth their view point to the minister. The Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal gave a patient hearing to all the issues and concerns of the officers and assured that all their concerns will be appropriately and adequately addressed,” the spokesperson added.

“He categorically stated that the interest of all officers will be protected and no one will be put to any disadvantage following unification of the services. The exercise will be conducted with full consultation of stakeholders and view point of all concerned officers will be suitably accommodated.”

According to the spokesperson, Goyal also asked the officers to submit their suggestions at an “appropriate forum”.

“An email account has already been created and officers have been asked to mail their suggestions,” he said. “The meeting helped in a big way in allaying fears and concerns of officers.”

As reported by ThePrint, the spokesperson said that “Chairman, Railway Board has also interacted with more than 4,000 officers through video conferencing across the nation and assured the officers that their interests will not be compromised and while deciding the modalities it will be ensured that no one is put at a disadvantage”.

“The Government will soon constitute the alternative mechanism through which all issues will be resolved with due diligence,” he said.

Not just minister, PM ‘peeved with railway officers too’

It is not just Goyal who is believed to be disappointed with the reluctance of railway officers vis-a-vis reforms. In November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while reviewing the progress of various sectors, is learnt to have expressed his unhappiness over the slow pace of reforms in the railways, in particular, said a senior government official.

While speaking to senior government officers, the PM said his time is wasted in interactions with railways officers since none of the decisions is actually implemented, the official added. The Railway Board chairman, the PM is learnt to have said, happily committed to everything but nothing would move on the ground.

PM Modi is said to be especially upset with railways officers over the slow progress of key projects such as station development and high-speed trains, officers said.

As early as 2015, former principal secretary to the PM, Nripendra Misra, wrote a note to the railways ministry, highlighting the “less than satisfactory performance” in certain areas.


Also Read: All you want to know about the 8 railway services set to be merged, and the role they play


 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Most of the officers of GrA Rly services are there, not because of their market worth but because the govt processes make it is difficult to remove them.If IR has to grow it must retain only those who carry market worth and remove the unwanted people.

  2. I would like to draw attention to one fact. CIVIL services are central govt services other than Armed forces. Hence to say that Railways have Civil services and Technical services is factually incorrect. ALL are civil services.

  3. Obviously it will be better dmrc was kept out of the railways hands while Kolkata metro which is in railways management is the worst in all respects.

  4. For the larger interest of common poor middle class people, railways should run long distance FAST PASSENGERS TRAINS in every 30 minutes intervals all over the country instead of luxury trains. Honble Minister & PM must look into the matter and evidence is available in all long distance trains with 1 or 2 general boggies all over India

  5. it’s a welcome step by the government. These 8 services were busy in politics and infighting, there was so much inter-departmental delay, that megaprojects were missing deadlines. Its obvious that some officers are disgruntled. I support the government

  6. I m sure many of these officers voted for BJP contributing thereby to the huge majority won by the party It was mistake to givr such a huge majority to BJP making it an obscenely arrogant Govt. Many more will suffer the consequence of their action in the General election .

  7. The objective behind merger is said to abolish departmentalism in the railway. The more effective and justified steps should have been:-
    1.Presently no recruitment is being done against General Administration Cadre of railway.
    2.Post of CRB, Sec to RB, Addl member , Advisor and ED vigilence in board, all GMs, all AGMs, all SDGMsamd DRMs belongs to this cadre.
    3. Since reqruitment is made against these, post are being utilized by 8 railway services as excadre post.
    4. Once officers from UPSC administrative services are posted there, departmentalism and act of nepotism, favouritism, nepotism will end.
    5.Atomic Energy, Defense, Science & Technology like highly specilised deparmentd, including each department and ministries are managed by IAS, there no logic to keep them out of the railway.
    6. DoPT is the nodal ministry for making rules and policy on staff matter but railways make there own rules on pretext of their specialised nature. When officers in railways recruited through civil serviced and engineering services examinstion, the same route for intake in other ministries, why there is need for separate rule.
    7. Therefore, it should be made compulsory that in matter of officers of railway rules made by DoPT will apply mutatis mutandis.

  8. Impossible. IR is essentially an engineering oriented organisation. It also has commercial functions, some of which lend themselves to outsourcing. Catering for example. 2. Each of these eight services has been designed around a core function. To maintain a healthy working atmosphere, a conscious effort should be made to ensure that the promotions and career prospects are kept in balance for all of them. There are similar rivalries in the Army as well. 3. IR has a proud 150 year old set of traditions. It needs to be managed with a deft, light political touch. Its cadre of officers should not be bullied or pushed around.

    • When you don’t know better not speak, he can hire pvt employees and they can do the job better these govt ones

      • Now every joker thinks he knows everything without knowing anything… You must be that unemployable guy who got a degree from a C grade institution… You should try your chance in BJP IT cell because you will not even get job in private sector too with your IQ.

    • When you don’t know better not speak, he can hire pvt employees and they can do the job better these govt ones.

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