RAILWAYS

Railway officers to get choice to opt out of unified cadre

The Railway Board has decided to offer serving officers the choice to not opt into a new unified cadre after a major reorganisation plan triggered widespread unease among much of Indian Railways’ officers who see the initiative as unfair since it would merge eight distinct services — these are currently divided on the basis of domain expertise — into the central service (Indian Railway Management Service).

Indian Railways has around 8,400 group A service serving officers. In January, civil services officers from 13 railway zones submitted written memorandums to the Railway Board Chairman and the Prime Minister’s office alleging the decision was “unilateral” and will negatively impact the safety of train operations, while also affecting the careers of 2,500 civil services officers.

In a note prepared by the Railway Board , the apex body has said the final decision in the matter will be taken after consultation with all the officers and if “need be by providing the default option to existing officers continuing in their existing services till they gain confidence to voluntarily opt for the unified service.”

The Union cabinet in December 2019 approved the restructuring by trimming the Railway Board’s strength to half (from 8 to 4) and unifying its eight railways services into a central service in a bid to reform the 150-year-old Railway Board of the Indian Railways.

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