Thursday, August 18, 2016

Aug 08, 2016 - MANISH ANAND |  New Delhi

After redesignating Railway Board members on functional lines, the railway ministry is now planning to seek Cabinet approval soon for its next big reform: of merging about 10 different cadres into just two — technical and civil — in a bid to optimise manpower capacity, besides cutting down on red-tapism.

The railway ministry is ready with a Cabinet note based on the recommendations of high-power committees led by Rakesh Mohan and Bibek Debroy respectively for the rationalisation of manpower, that currently stands at about 13.50 lakhs. “We are not going to stop with redesignation of Board members on functional lines, but are going right at the bottom to eliminate all reasons for the duplication of work and additional workforce. We will soon seek the Cabinet’s nod for the creation of just two cadres — civil and technical — by merging the existing 10 with them,” a senior railway ministry official said.

The Union Public Service Commission, on behalf of the Railways, now recruits officers in various cadres, that include the Indian Railway Traffic Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, the Railway Protection Force, and the Indian Railway Services of Civil Engineering, Electrical, Mechanical, Stores, Signals and Medical Services.

“As is the case with MBAs and their specialisation, the technical recruits can similarly specify what they want to specialise in, but we cannot be in a situation where they will stick to their specialisation and not touch other areas. The move will lead to rationalisation of manpower when unnecessarily too many people are tasked to do small things, which can be done by a few,” said the official, who added that the changes in recruitment policy would be notified after Cabinet approval.

The objective of the move, the official said, was to enable the transformation of the officials into managers with their respective specialisation. By creating a cadre of civil officials, the Railways may also open the door for the entry of IAS officers as well as qualified MBAs into managerial positions in the Railway Board as well as in the various zones and divisions.

Earlier, the Railways had redesignated the positions of board members, with the member (engineering) now being member (infrastructure), the member (mechanical) as member (rolling stock) and the member (electrical) as member (traction) to ensure a unified command structure at the higher level, which will be supplemented with changes in the recruitment policy for officials lower down in the hierarchy.

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