Indian Railways reconsiders plan to merge different cadres; proposes a selection panel for top posts

By: |
November 9, 2020 12:41 PM

The proposal of merging cadres had seen resistance from Indian Railways' officials belonging to Traffic, Personnel and Accounts services, who are hired through the UPSC Civil Services examination.

The Cabinet took the decision to set up an IRMS in December 2019, and it was tentatively targeted to be concluded as well as formalized by the month of November this year.

The plan to merge eight different cadres of serving Group A officers of Indian Railways to form a common seniority list of officers is being reconsidered by Piyush Goyal-chaired Railway Ministry. Now, under a new plan, a panel might decide the appointments to all general or “ex-cadre” posts, in which an official from any department can be posted (for example, Chairman, Railway Board), according to an IE report. Earlier, the idea was to merge nearly 8,400 serving officers belonging to various cadres into a common seniority list of officers and form Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS). The idea of setting up IRMS is still on the table, however, there will not be any recruitment in the future in the existing cadres, serving officers will not be merged.

The Cabinet took the decision to set up an IRMS in December 2019, and it was tentatively targeted to be concluded as well as formalized by the month of November this year. According to the sources quoted in the report, technically, there is time till December, although at present, no formal target is being followed. The proposal of merging cadres had seen resistance from Indian Railways’ officials belonging to Traffic, Personnel and Accounts services, who are hired through the UPSC Civil Services examination. It is being feared by the officials that their promotion would be at a disadvantage with a common seniority list as compared to their Engineering Services counterparts.

According to the report, civil servants are a few years older because of different qualities as well as modes of entrance exams for them as compared to the Engineering Services. The civil servants claim that they miss out on top positions as they often do not have enough tenure left for service or are past the eligible age. Appointments to all Indian Railways’ 650-odd general posts or ex-cadre posts would be thrown open to a panel selection as per the new proposal that is being considered. Besides the Chairman and members of the Railway Board, General Managers, Additional General Managers as well as Divisional Railway Managers fall in this category.

According to the sources quoted in the report, as part of natural career progression, officers will continue to get the promotions due to them within the departments in their respective cadres. However, the officers can also opt to compete for ex-cadre positions whenever eligible and go through the process of selection. The officials will continue to perform their respective specialized jobs in their departments but they will be termed IRMS officers. A senior railway official was quoted in the report saying that this is to ensure that no one misses out on career progression prospects. The new proposal will be sent to a Committee of Secretaries, then to a Group of Ministers headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

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