Monday, November 16, 2009
A section of Indian Railway officers continue a high voltage online debate on whether they should be equated with IAS or not
FOR the last several months now, a section of Indian Railway officers have been engaged in a major debate in an unofficial site of IRTS (Indian Railway Traffic Service) officers where it is argued whether IRTS could be termed as IAS of the Railways or not, meaning they are a superior service in comparison to their sister railway services such as IRPS (Indian Railway Personnel Service) or IRAS (Indian Railways Accounts Service). One of the officers, understandably an IRTS officer himself, wrote in the high voltage online debate, "IRTS officials are truely the cream of all the railway services. The IRTS cadre was once the exclusive birth-right of the English before Independence. Now it is thrown open to all through the UPSC exam. Looking at the scope of this cadre, it is definitely the IAS of railways. If IRTS officials are periodically trained in fundamental engineering aspects of Railways, it would enable them to get deputations abroad and hold higher posts," he said. Why should IRTS be called as IAS. Here is one argument by an officer in the site, "Calling IRTS is probably the only Central Service with a mandatory 1-2 year stint at remote area locations as coordinating field officer/area officer. The only parallel, here would be that of IAS and IPS probationers who are posted as SDM (sub-divisional magistrate) and SDPO(sub-divisional police officer) at tehsil level. Many IAS and IPS officers,who have interacted with IRTS officers during their field postings have a high regard for IRTS, having seen their coordinating skills and task-oriented working style." There are others who feel they are superior, but argue at the same time that equating themselves with IAS would mean lack of confidence and pride in their cadre. "IRTS is IRTS and not IAS.Calling IRTS as IAS of railways amounts to lack of confidence in oneself and lack of pride in our job. Railway officers in general and IRTS in particular are doing their job in a much better and superior way than any IAS can do. We are much devoted, loyal to the public cause, and hard working. IAS has been responsible for all the rot, corruption and waste we see all over. Yes, IAS enjoys much preference in the society, has more perks and privileges, because they guard their perks and privileges very jealously, while railway officers, even though they had all the resources under their own control, never cared for them and always worked in public spirit," another officier argued. If you have any any thought on the subject, write at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click on "comment" below and post your views. Read: Railways’ Sari cadre inspires Sarkari brigade (July 31, 2009) Ex-Babu Tracker: Former IAS & MD of IL&FS IDC to joint World Bank's HQ in Washington O P Agarwal, former Assam cadre IAS of 1979 batch and currently Managing Director of IL&FS IDC is likely to join the World Bank as senior transport specialist. Mr Agarwal, who left the IAS to join the corporate bandwagon two years ago, is likely to be based out of World Bank's headquarters in Washington. He is credited with drafting the National Urban Transport Policy in India when he was a joint secretary in the ministry of urban development. His appointment in the Bank's global transport team is significant in the backdrop of the World Bank's proposed $5 billion loan to India's urban sector which is likely to have a major transport component. A masters from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Mr Agarwal left IAS first to join Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) in August, 2007, before moving to IL&FS later. He is also the MD of Urban Mass Transit Company (UMTC), a joint venture between Union ministry of urban development, Andhra Pradesh government and IL&FS. Mr Agarwal's earlier international exposure included his stint (March 1993 to March 1995) as ministry of finance's trade adviser in Republic of Seychelles.