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Monday, February 17, 2020

Railway merger: Serving officers may get option to remain in their cadres

Sources told The Indian Express that one of the options the Railways Ministry might propose to the Committee of Secretaries is to give serving officers an element of choice.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Published: January 30, 2020 2:23:42 am
indian railways, indian railways restructuring, indian railways restructure, railway board changes, changes in railways, indian express news Civil Servants of Railways belonging to Traffic, Personnel and Accounts services are protesting and petitioning the top offices of the government against the merger. (File)

As part of modalities being contemplated for the merger of Railways’ eight organised Group A services, serving officers may get an option to either join the soon-to-be-constituted Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) or remain within their respective cadres.

Sources told The Indian Express that one of the options the Railways Ministry might propose to the Committee of Secretaries is to give serving officers an element of choice.

“The services will have no new inductions. That’s settled. But if someone wants to remain in the service and not be part of IRMS, well, in that case he will continue to get promotions within his department and maybe rise up to be an Additional Member. But then all this the alternate mechanism will process and ultimately decide,” said a senior official. “The general management higher posts will be filled through merit in the future,” he said.

Civil Servants of Railways belonging to Traffic, Personnel and Accounts services are protesting and petitioning the top offices of the government against the merger. They have been saying that the merger with five engineering services will be a raw deal for civil servants and detrimental to Railways. They have been demanding two services — technical and non-technical. Engineering services officers are in support of the merger move.

Sources said the option of two services instead of one was ruled out after consideration because the management of two separate streams while maintaining a combined seniority list has been a problematic experience, officials said, like in the case of Ordnance Factories Service, which recruits through Engineering exam as well as the Civil Services exam.

“There is a reason why the Cabinet has said that future recruitment will happen through the Civil Services Examination and not through the Engineering Services Examination. So we will continue to recruit from the Civil Services Examination avenue, with a separate exam,” he said.

The Cabinet has given the matter one year’s time for a committee of secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary and then by a group of ministers to process all petitions and objections from the stakeholders, like service-specific associations.

The Promotee Officers Federation in Indian Railways had issued complete support to the merger move. On Wednesday, its Northern Railway chapter issued a letter, saying the matter had not been discussed in the governing body and that the promotee officers working in departments of traffic and other civil services branches are not in support of the move. The All Indian Station Masters’ Association, too, has issued a letter against the merger.

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