Indian Railways’ top posts may be filled via selection panel, not seniority alone; details here

Indian Railways’ cadre restructuring: As part of the merger plan of eight railway cadres into one Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) as well as with the restructuring of the Railway Board, Indian Railways’ top administrative posts may now be filled through selection by a panel rather than only on the basis of seniority. According to sources quoted in an IE report, management consultancy firm McKinsey has been hired by the national transporter to work out the modalities of the merger and advise the Railway Ministry. Recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, as a part of the consensus-building exercise, initiated a dialogue with all the service-specific officers as well as associations.

The merger has been protested by civil servants in Indian Railways, who are into three services – Personnel, Traffic, and Accounts. They are of the view that it placed them at a disadvantage in seniority when pitted against Indian Railways’ Engineering Services officers. According to the report, the civil servants are a few years older than their Engineering Services counterparts. This is due to the different qualities and modes of the two entrance examinations. According to sources quoted in the report, for senior posts such as Chairman Railway Board, DRM, GM, and Additional General Managers, which are open to all services on paper, selection panels may be set up to pick officials on the basis of merit. Also, age-wise criteria will be kept such that those who are older may also apply.

The Railway Minister has asked for a detailed age analysis of officials of all the eight services to appreciate the issue of the age gap. The Railway Minister was told by the officials that with young entrants growing anxious about their career prospects in Indian Railways and uncertainty over the way forward, there are apprehensions that many might move court against the move.

According to an officer, the selection panels for higher posts could include people from outside Indian Railways, if the Committee of Secretaries formed for the modalities recommends such a move and is approved by the Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister Amit Shah.

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