In an official letter to the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister PK Mishra, the civil servants of Railways have demanded that the Cabinet decision to merge all eight cadres into one be not effected as it was taken without “credible process of obtaining consensus”, contrary to what is being officially said that this was a unanimous decision.
The letter, jointly written by the service associations of Indian Railway Traffic Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service and Indian Railway Accounts Service officers, says that the move to make an Indian Railway Management Service by merging the cadres will “create situations of conflicts of interest”, kill specialization in Railways, and adversely affect safety of train operations.
In the representation to the PMO, the three services have sought two services instead of one—separating the engineers from the civil servants– and have urged that a Railway Board Member (Human Resources) post be restored for the Indian Railway Personnel Service since managing the resources of 13 lakh railway employees is a full-time, specialised job the IRPS is trained to do.
They have said that many officers of the civil services had actually quit the Railway Engineering services to appear for the civil services and become civil servants and lose two-three years of seniority.
The officers have written that they share the concern of the PMO over the “lack of perceptible progress” in projects and reforms such as production of Train 18 trainsets, network expansion, PPP initiatives, structural changes in production units” etc. The letter says that the recent cadre-merger move will not work to solve these problems.
While requesting wider consultation before the move is implemented, the letter to the PMO says that the organisation needs to revise the way it appoints officers to the higher administrative posts of DRM, GM and Board members.
This comes on a day when Chairman Railway Board VK Yadav spent almost all day meeting various service associations, especially the three services who have been protesting the cadre-merger move.
According to officers who attended those meetings, Yadav assured them that the modalities of the merger have not yet been finalized and serving officers might get an option to either join the new IRMS or remain in their present service. He has apparently also assured the representatives of the associations that details of the cadre-merger proposal would be shared with the associations for wider consultations and inputs. In the meeting, some officers also told Yadav that the move would not pass legal scrutiny since this was tantamount to violating the service conditions of the existing services, sources said.
Yadav is scheduled to meet other service-specific associations on Wednesday on the same issue.