Railway Board’s plan sends officials aflutter

In the last few days of his tenure, Chairman Railway Board (CRB) Vinay Mittal appears to have put the cat among the pigeons.

The issue: The CRB’s moves to bring about policy changes to restructure the Railway Board and revise norms relating to the selection for the posts of Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs), General Managers (GMs), as also the members of the Railway Board.

The circumstances and timing of these initiatives is questionable. There are two vacancies of Railway Board members, while two other members including the CRB himself will retire within the next five working days.

Also, the Railways have just been wrecked by the cash-for-promotion scam involving the now suspended Board member Mahesh Kumar.

Mittal’s proposal is that a selection board –including representatives from the private sector and other government departments – must decide on promotions as DRMs and GMs through an interview process, while doing away with seniority cum suitabilityclauses and tenure-based norms.

A draft note prepared on the subject also proposes the introduction of a quota system for senior posts – with each of the nine railway service cadres having a fixed quota in promotions.

“What these proposals means is that the field will be left open for everybody for promotions as DRMs and GMs. This will encourage further scams. By introducing the quota system, the CRB evidently wants to give a parting gift to his cadre of Railway Traffic Service officers, since the RTS officers will not get an opportunity to become GMs for the next 15 years in the normal course,” an official said.

The proposals have long term implications on the career prospects of Group-A officers and also impact the organizational well being. “Such decisions must be taken only with a Board in full strength”, the Federation of Railway Officers Associations (FROA) said in its representation of June 14.

 

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