Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Whispers in the Corridors: Railway services like IRTS, IRPS, IRAS could be merged into one

IF YOU go by the rumors in the Rail Bhawan, merging of various railway services such as Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) and Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) etc. is on the cards. In fact, the idea of discarding some of the services may be suggested by the…
Bibek Debroy panel that was mandated to devise ways to restructure the Railway Board. A committee, headed by Debroy, an economist and now Member of NITI Aayog, was constituted in September last year. The other members of the panel include former cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar, former head of Procter and Gamble Gurcharan Das, senior fellow in Centre for Policy Research Partha Mukopadhyay and former MD of the National Stock Exchange Ravi Narain. There is a possibility that all non-technical services may be merged into one, whereas all technical or engineering services could be clubbed into a single service, mainly to end turf wars that are often witnessed in matters of promotion and cornering key posts.
Currently, a six-member Railway Board headed by a chairman is the supreme body that controls the functioning of the gigantic Indian Railways that employs over 1.3 million people. All officers are ex-officio secretaries to the Government of India and they, along with the General Managers, who are next in the hierarchy, are drawn from various technical and non-technical cadres.
At present, the non technical services recruited through UPSC’s civil services examination are Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS), Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) and Railway Protection Force (RPF).
And the technical services recruited through UPSC-conducted Indian Engineering Services examinations are Indian Railway Service of (Civil) Engineers (IRSE), Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE), Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME), Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS) and Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE).
In addition, there is one more service --- Indian Railway Medical Service (IRMS) recruited through the combined medical examination conducted by UPSC.
Current railway minister Suresh Prabhu wants to empower general managers so that small issues don’t get stuck in the Railway Board. He has already issued a couple of executive orders giving the regional railway satraps more power in decision making. In fact, cadre restructuring through mergers could be a step towards minimizing inter-cadre issues and conflicts.

6 comments:

  1. that would be ideal for IR

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  2. of course it would be wonderful if the service war of superiority is to be abolished. also it should be ensured that the post of crb is the feifdom of irse irts or irsme. one would be interested to check if there have been any other service which got the post!!!!!!!

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  3. IRSS at present.

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  4. I am a non Railway Civil Servant. For the sake of removing the rivalry, if all the technical services are merged into one, there will be utter chaos. A Mechanical Engineer will have to supervise track maintenance, which is a civil engineer's domain. So, if at all any merging is proposed, it should happen only after a specified number of years, i.e., at middle and higher levels.

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  5. No where in the world traffic is manned by non technical person but by engineers. It is a highly specialized discipline with operations research concepts. But in IR this is manned by people who are general stream people. Train operatins shall never improve here.

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    1. For your information IRTS recruits from the prestigious civil services examination, which is many notches higher than the pathetic engineering services exam. For your information IRTS boasts of many more IITians than any engineering service in railways. Thus even with regards to technical knowledge or capability, IRTS is way ahead of any engineering service in railways. Ministry asked for list of IIT-IIM graduates in 2014 and all engineers in rlys developed cold feet precisely because most IIT IIM graduates are in IRTS, IRAS and IRPS and almost none in engineering streams. Engineers of railways are not able to do their core job ie maintain assets. Apart from that they are ready to take on work of every other department, including cleanliness and train operations.

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