The Parliamentary Standing Committee has slammed the Railways for inducting retired staff to fill vacancies of critical safety-related posts, including train drivers, thus “jeopardising the safety and security of passengers”.
“The committee suggests that the practice of engaging retired personnel for running staff jobs should be curtailed/discontinued and vigorous efforts should be made to recruit proper running staff,” says the 12th report of the committee.
The committee also demands the withdrawal of the discretionary powers of the zonal general managers to appoint 'substitutes' against critical vacant posts.
“The provision of recruitment of substitutes — which invite allegations of corruption and nepotism — has been prevalent in the Railways for decades. This is a poor commentary on the recruitment policy of the Railways,” says the report.
Noting that 6,183 of the 9,847 substitutes recruited from 2007 to 2010 were subsequently regularized, the committee demanded to be informed about the criteria followed.
“The committee fails to understand how physical efficiency tests could be exempted in the case of recruitment of substitutes,” says the TR Baalu-headed committee.
The report, presented in Parliament on Tuesday, also pulls up the Railways for exceeding the 5% quota fixed by the Department of Personnel and Training for recruitments on ‘compassionate grounds’.