Monday, 23 May, 2022
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Piyush Goyal, Railway Board to go all out to convince angry officers about service merger

Railway Board chief Vinod Kumar Yadav addresses over 4,000 worried officers across India via video conference to allay concerns regarding the merger of services.

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New Delhi: Angry railways officers have been assured that the Narendra Modi government’s decision to merge eight railway services into one will not damage their careers.

On Thursday, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav addressed over 4,000 worried railway officers across the country via a video conference to allay their concerns. Yadav is learnt to have assured them that their careers would not be affected adversely by the decision.

Officers who were present during the conference told ThePrint that they were also informed of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s keenness to talk to younger officers next week.

“Since the younger officers have been particularly distraught, we were told that the minister will speak to them on video conference on Monday or sometime next week,” a senior officer said on condition of anonymity.

ThePrint had Thursday reported how the Modi government’s decision to unify the eight services, including both the technical and non-technical services, has led to widespread resentment among railway officers.

While three services — Indian Railway Traffic Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service and Indian Railway Personnel Service — constitute the railway’s civil services, the other five constitute the technical or engineering services.

In a statement released Tuesday, the government said, “This will end the culture of working in ‘silos’ and mark the beginning of a new and unified railway with a coherent vision for the future.”

With the decision leading to a social media uproar from the three civil services, Yadav sought to reassure the officers.

“He listened to us patiently for over two hours and told us that all our grievances will be communicated to the government, and he will ensure that they are addressed,” the officer quoted above said.

“We were informed that a Group of Ministers will be constituted to decide on the logistics and after three months, everything will be decided.”

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‘No answers’

The Railway Board chairman’s two-hour address, however, didn’t give officers any clarity.

A second officer who was part of the conference said the chairman, although well-meaning, did not have the answers to “our questions”.

“When we asked him how will all the eight services be recruited after merger, what will the education qualification be, what happens to the technical expertise needed for engineering services, etc., he had no answer,” the officer said. “All he could say was that now that he has heard us, he will ensure our concerns are addressed.”

The first officer quoted above said if the chairman could hold this video conference after the announcement, why could he not do it before and prevent this chaos.

After the conference, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document was internally circulated among railway officers late in the evening.

Officers were informed that all officers in the unified Indian Railway Management Service will be recruited through the UPSC (civil service) exam.

This led to more confusion among railway officers. “For every one civil servant in railways, there are 2-3 engineers. Will you recruit all of them through one exam? How will it work?” asked the second officer.

The FAQs also clarified that the CEO of the newly constituted Railway Board will be an officer from the railway services. There was some speculation among railway officers that NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant will be made the chairman of the new board.

“Those rumours have been there for a while, but for now, the minister has denied any such thing,” said the first officer. “Anyway there is so much outrage among officers right now, if they make an IAS the head of our board, there will be utter chaos.”

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  1. Recruitment kaise karenge ? Iss sawaal ka toh koi jawaab ho hi nahin sakta. Like selecting zebras, wildebeest, lions, elephants and leopards – all my favourites – through a single exam. On this rock alone this crazy idea will founder.

  2. Trains run by alertness and effective management of those officers. You cannot replace them. The experience and knowledge they have is not even in Class 1 officers of Civil Service. All the decisions even smallest one is made after discussion with them. Because Railway is for common citizens and they know how to serve them.
    If officers are recruited through UPSC, it will not be good for working of railways. Remember Lalu Prasad Yadav, who forcefully added extra middle birth between side births and that was very inconvenient for passengers. He increased loading capacity of Goods trains just to gain profit but that permanently damaged the track, wagons and bogies.

  3. Monopoly of Indian Railway officers will not be continued because of this move, we appreciate Mr.Goel decision. I request first fix the account buility of the officer.
    So that there will be no corruption in the railway system.

  4. It is a welcoming change in merging the multiple cadres into a single cadre for better management of Railway affairs. In the current situation the higher officials in the Engineering department are calling tenders and award of contracts. Afterwards they never bother about proper execution of work with sincere planning and quality work. The officers at the higher positions are doing administrative job only and no technical proficiency is shown in their work. If anyone irrespective of their qualifications is posted Administrative officers one can expect efficiency in the project management which may benefit the Railways to a greater extent.

  5. Welcoming the very good decision taken by the ministry to merge various cadre like Civil, Electrical, Mechanical etc. etc. into one cadre.It is high time it’s implemented immediately. None of the officers in the individual cadre take any technical decision with respect to their cadre they belong. They deserve to be administrative officers only as they are interested in inviting tenders for various works and award of work. Afterwards their contribution is almost nil as far as the execution and finalisation of the work is concerned. It will be better’to post anybody with overall knowledge of all’types of works irrespective of whether it is civil or mechanical or electrical or accounts.

  6. Railway Ministry might have decided the future course of action.
    The present action is a PR act.
    It’s quite likely that the Railway board would be dismantled like the Planning Commission.
    Rail Aayojan with stuffed members would take over in near future.
    Press Statements are for public consumption only.

  7. The video conference held by CRB on the above subject has not addressed any issues raised by young officers. It is to be understood that this is not about the officers of 3 services alone, it’s about in which Direction Reforms are headed. We understand MR zeal to reform railways..but this merger in its present form will only be disastrous for the lifeline of nation. It will compromise safety due to lack of ownership, end the existing Financial Propriety and take out the spirit of public service from Indian Railways. 2 services consisting of IRTS,IRAS,IRPS together and all Engineering services together is the only way forward to inculcate a sense of belongingness and take railways forward. Otherwise only Chaos

    • Mr. Rajib , pl understand Railways is a complex system at present suffering from lack of decisiveness at Alex level and resources clutch. The need of hour is a strong administrative service with a Market oriented approach to take it forward. Resignations will not help

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