SCRA to come back? Indian Railways getting suggestions to restart decades-old apprenticeship scheme

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September 23, 2021 1:40 PM

The Ministry of Finance, in its report on the rationalisation of Indian Railways, has recommended the Railway Ministry reintroduce the programme, which involves hands-on training in the specialised field of technology used in the national transporter.

railways, schemeThe report by the Finance Ministry has recommended the apprenticeship scheme be reintroduced in Indian Railways at the National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI).

To catch young talent and tailor them to meet the requirements of the rail transport sector, the Finance Ministry has recommended Indian Railways to restart a 94-year-old apprenticeship scheme, which was discontinued in the year 2015. Conceived in 1927, the Special Class Railway Apprentice (SCRA) programme trained candidates, selected by the UPSC, in the undergraduate program in mechanical engineering at the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Jamalpur. However, in 2015, the scheme was discontinued, according to a PTI report. The Ministry of Finance, in its report on the rationalisation of Indian Railways, has recommended the Railway Ministry reintroduce the programme, which involves hands-on training in the specialised field of technology used in the national transporter.

The proposal to restart the scheme is part of a report from the Finance Ministry, which has made several recommendations including the merger of rail PSUs and of IT organizations such as IRCTC, RailTel and CRIS into one entity. Besides, the report by the Finance Ministry has also suggested the streamlining of the Railway Board as well as a review of non core activities such as running schools, hospitals catering- most of which the Bibek Debroy Committee had earlier recommended. The report by the Finance Ministry has recommended the apprenticeship scheme be reintroduced in Indian Railways at the National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI), located in the city Vadodara. Stating that the national transporter requires specialised training and skills beyond what is part of a regular graduation program, the Finance Ministry report suggested it is imperative to introduce the apprenticeship scheme again.

The report prepared by the principal economic advisor of the Finance Ministry has proposed that the National Rail and Transportation Institute should certify apprenticeship scheme on similar lines of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology as well as the National Defence Academy. Under the apprenticeship scheme, shortlisted school graduates will be offered structured tech as well as diploma level programs where the course curriculum is suitably tailored in order to meet the rail transport sector’s requirements, the report mentioned.

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