Railways signals cadre merger process on despite protests

New Delhi (IANS) The Railway Board has withdrawn its request to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruiting Group A officers under various cadres, suggesting it has set the ball rolling for merging eight railways cadres into one in line with the recent Cabinet decision.

But the development has emerged amid Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav meeting officers of various cadres and convincing them about the benefits of proposed cadre merger.

In a letter dated January 9, the Railways Board wrote that firmed up indents for nine organised services such as the IRSE, the IRSME, the IRSEE, the IRSS, the IRTS, the IRAS, the IRPS and the RPF through Engineering Services Examination-2020 and Civil Services Examination-2020 were advised.

"Consequent upon Cabinet's decision to introduce Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) from next recruitment cycle, Ministry of Railways has decided to withdraw its indents for above services except Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPSF), erstwhile known as RPF, through Engineering Services Examination-2020 and Civil Services Examination-2020," the Railway Board wrote to the UPSC.

"UPSC and DoP&T (Department of Personnel and Training) are accordingly requested to please take necessary action," it added.

The technical personnel from mechanical, civil and other engineering services are currently recruited through the Engineering Services Examination while for non-technical posts candidates are selected through the Civil Services Examination.

Insiders said that Railway Board Chairman has been meeting officers from various cadres to allay their fears related to promotions and career progression but not many are convinced.

"Following the merger, those from engineering services can go to occupy any position but we can not hold a position that requires engineering background. This will limit our promotions. The most affected would be those who have joined Railways in recent years," an official said.

Many Railway officers pointed out the difficulty about the eligibility criteria for the proposed Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) as a a mechanical engineer can not be fit for civil engineering. Similarly, those coming from a humanities background may be good for coordination and administration.

"Like many decisions in the past, the government decided this without giving it much thought. The issue had been there for the past 20 years but nobody took a call. This government dared to take the decision but it will be difficult to implement," said another official.

Following the Cabinet decision to merge the cadres, the government had said that the newly-recruited officers will come from engineering and non-engineering disciplines as per need and posted as per their aptitude and specialisation to allow them to specialise in one field, develop an overall perspective, and prepare them to take up general management responsibilities at senior levels.

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