Railways' exams suspended amid violent protests: All you need to know

Updated on Jan 26, 2022 08:42 PM IST

The candidates are opposing the railways ministry's decision to hold the exam in two stages, claiming the second stage for final selection is tantamount to “cheating” those who appeared and cleared the first stage of the RRB-NTPC for a computer-based test which was released on January 15.

Aspirants block railway tracks during their protest over alleged erroneous results of Railway Recruitment Board's Non-Technical Popular Categories (RRB NTPC) exam 2021 in Prayagraj. (File Photo / PTI)
Aspirants block railway tracks during their protest over alleged erroneous results of Railway Recruitment Board's Non-Technical Popular Categories (RRB NTPC) exam 2021 in Prayagraj. (File Photo / PTI)
By, New Delhi

The railways ministry on Wednesday suspended non-technical popular categories (RRB-NTPC) and level 2 exams amid violent protests by aspirants, including setting a bogie of the Bhabua-Patna Intercity Express on fire earlier in the day, over alleged irregularities in examinations of the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB).

The candidates are opposing the ministry's decision to hold the exam in two stages, claiming the second stage for final selection is tantamount to “cheating” those who appeared and cleared the first stage of the RRB-NTPC exam for a computer-based test which was released on January 15.

Around 1.25 crore candidates had appeared for the exams for 35,000 posts from level 2 to level 6.

Why are the aspirants protesting?

According to reports, many of the protesters claimed the recruitment process is “unfair”, allowing candidates with higher qualifications to compete for jobs meant for those with relatively lower qualifications.

The aspirants have also alleged discrepancies in the examination results, which reportedly showed that one candidate had been declared qualified from multiple regions when according to the official rules, one candidate is allowed to qualify from only one region.

Of the total vacancies, 24,281 posts are open to graduates, 11,000 are for under-graduates. These posts are segregated into five groups based on the 7th CPC pay-scale levels (levels 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6).

These include posts of train assistant, guard, junior clerk, timekeeper, and station master across various verticals in its zones.

While to get a level-2 job, where the starting pay is about 19,000, one requires to be a Class 12 pass, for a level-6 post like that of the station master, who gets a starting pay of about 35,000, being a graduate is mandatory.

Aspirants have alleged that during the computer-based test -1 which was held last year, candidates with higher qualifications have sat for exams meant for level-2 jobs.

Extent of protests

A crowd stormed the Gaya Junction on Wednesday, raising slogans, and set fire to the Bhabhua-Patna InterCity Express, though nobody was injured.

Officials said in Sitamarhi, police fired in the air to disperse demonstrators at the railway station. Protests were also reported from Patna, Nawada, Muzaffarpur, Buxar, and Bhojpur districts.

On Tuesday, students who appeared for the RRB non-technical popular categories exam, 2021, held a protest at the Bihar Sharif railway station alleging discrepancies in the results. Hundreds of students had blocked the Kolkata-New Delhi main railway line at Rajendra Nagar Terminal in Patna during the agitation.

The central government has said such protests on tracks and disruption of train operations will now be categorised under “unlawful activities” that may get one banned for life from obtaining railway jobs.

What is the government's response?

The railways ministry has said no candidate can be recruited for multiple posts, thereby ensuring that every deserving candidate gets selected.

"We cannot legally bar graduates from applying to posts which require 10+2 qualifications," said railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

He said shortlisting of candidates has been done separately for each level based on options exercised and the educational qualifications of the candidates.

“For the second stage computer-based test of each level, candidates have been called 20 times for the community-wise vacancies notified against each RRB,” the minister said.

What next?

Based on merit obtained in second stage CBT, the candidates will be shortlisted for the third stage exam in which eight times the number of vacancies will be called.

The final result will contain a unique list of 35,281 notified vacancies and no candidate will be appointed against more than one post.

Earlier, the shortlisting was done 10 times the vacancy. However, this time, it is 20 times the vacancy for the second stage, officials said.

According to the RRB NTPC exam dates, the CBT 2 exam for which seven lakh candidates have been shortlisted, was scheduled to be conducted on February 14 and 18. They now stand suspended.

 

(With inputs from PTI)

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