Railways caterer sought upper-caste candidates, pulled up by government
A top Indian Railways caterer was pulled up by the government for a casteist advertisement seeking to recruit managers from only “Agarwal and Vaish” communities. The caterer said it had fired the HR manager responsible for the advertisement that led to an uproar on social media.
Apart from the casteist bias, Delhi-based RK Associates’ controversial ad also specified that the candidates-- applying for over 100 managerial positions-- should be “males” and must come from “good family background.”
“Candidates should be ready to work anywhere in India. Candidates should belong to Agrawal Vaish community and should (have) good family background,” the advertisement said.
The firm claims to provide catering on nearly 150 trains including the Rajdhani Express.
The ministry of railways said it had taken a “serious view” of the matter and asked the contractor to recruit “suitable” candidates without worrying about their castes. The ministry spokesperson added that the contractor had fired the involved HR manager.
The caterer apologised and said the advertisement was placed publicly due to a “clerical mistake”. It added that the company didn’t intend to hire any specific communities as it was against its policy.
“We (have) never supported any specific community..., which can be seen through (sic) our staff and organogram,” said a Thursday statement released by Brandavan Food Products that controls R K Associates.
The railways currently operate 378 mobile and 9208 static catering units.
As per the 2017 catering policy, IRCTC was made responsible for food-related business for the railways, including its preparation and distribution.
IRCTC is currently handing out central contracts to private parties to run the mobile catering units. A total of 48 catering contractors are serving the railways as of now.