‘No officer will have any disadvantage’: Railway Board chairman on merger of services
Indian Railways is trying to allay concerns among the employees regarding Centre’s decision to unify its eight major services.
Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said on Thursday that the decision was taken to increase parity in all services and promote all cadre uniformly.
“Regarding worries among cadre for promotion of officers I want to clarify that all existing officers will continue to work in their specialised services till the Group of Ministers decides an alternative mechanism and finalises the modalities. We will ensure that no officer will have any disadvantage with regards to their career progression. I will hold a video conference today with nearly 4000 railway employees to clarify all this,” Yadav said.
“Because there were eight different services headed by the board members there were several issues that the departments were focusing only on vertical growth. Some officers were focused only on the growth of their departments,” he added.
In a major move to reform the 150-year-old railway board of the Indian Railways, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved to restructure the apex body of the Indian Railways by trimming its strength to half, and unifying its eight railways services into a central service called the Indian Railway Management Service.
Railway employees had raised issues over the unification of the services alleging merging of technical and non-technical services, civil services and and engineering services of was unfair adding that domain expertise is quintessential to the working of the railways.
The eight services that will be merged into one service are: Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS), Indian Railway Personel Service (IRPS), Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE), Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS), Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE), Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE), and Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineer (IRSME).
As per the new structure, the Chairman shall be the cadre controlling officer responsible for Human resources with assistance from a Director General-level officer. Three apex level posts shall be surrendered from Railway Board, and all the remaining posts of the Railway Board shall be open to all officers regardless of the service to which they belonged.
The ministry of railways clarified that the existing railway board members will continue in their posts till the end of their tenure.
Giving an example of how departmental rivalries was affecting the functioning of the organisation, Yadav said: “We know that diesel locomotives are being phased out. Due to this, those in the departments overlooking electric locomotives didn’t want a post to be created to induct them. During our consultation, one of the officers put it aptly saying if he belonged to one department, his growth depended solely on it. There was so much disparity that a 1996 batch of officers of one service were promoted to Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) level in comparison to another batch of 1992 officers at the same level.
Officers at higher levels will feel the pinch but we will ensure those below them will be empowered to the same level, he added.