All new recruits in railways will be inducted through the UPSC civil services exams under five specialities, Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav said on Thursday, days after the Cabinet approved the merger of its eight services into one -- the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS). He said just like aspirants to the Union Public Service Commission, candidates aspiring to get into railways will have to appear for their prelims after which they will indicate their preference for IRMS under five specialities — four of them engineering specialities for ‘technical’ operations comprising of civil, mechanical, telecom and electrical, and one ‘non-technical’ speciality which will recruit officers for accounts, personnel and traffic.
“The exact details will be worked out, but the thinking is like this — the aspirants take the prelim and then indicate their choices. They will be given an option to appear for IRMS also,” Yadav said. “We are going to send an indent specifying our recruitment for the five specialisations — four for engineers, including that of stores (department) and another for non-engineering in which anyone can come from humanities side who will be utilised for manning the accounts, traffic and personnel service. All of them will be promoted at the same time,” said Yadav.
The first batch will be recruited in 2021, while the new five-member board with merged officers will be in place by the middle of next year, officials said. Yadav also clarified that the Chairman, Railway Board, who will also be the CEO of the national transporter, will be an officer of the Indian Railway Service and not from any other service.
“Officers from Indian Railways who have experience of 35 yrs will only be posted as Chairman/CEO,” CRB Yadav, who is due for retirement by the end of this month, said. He also said the decision to merge the services was to ensure that officers put railways first instead of their service which had become the case under the present system.
“All officers would continue to work in their specialised services till modalities were worked out regarding cadre merger. We would ensure that not even a single officer is disadvantaged in their career progression,” said Yadav, amidst fears among officers that the merger of railway services would cost them seniority.
Yadav said the railways will try to “pull up” those officers who are lagging behind instead of “pulling down” those who are ahead in their careers. The Cabinet on Tuesday approved big-ticket reforms in the railways by merging its eight cadres and departments into a single entity.
With these new changes, the Chairman along with four members responsible for infrastructure, operations, and business development, rolling stock and finance respectively will form the Railway Board. The Chairman shall be the cadre controlling officer responsible for Human Resources (HR) with assistance from a DG (HR). Three apex level posts shall be surrendered from Railway Board and all its remaining posts shall be open to all officers regardless of the service to which they belonged.
The Board will also have some independent non-executive members, who will be highly distinguished professionals with deep knowledge and 30 years of experience including at the top levels in industry, finance, economics and management fields, Yadav said.
“The independent members will help the Railway Board in setting a strategic direction. They will be available during Board meetings but not involved with day to day running of railways,” he said.