NEED FOR COMBINED CADRE RESTRUCTURING OF GROUP A, B AND C ON THE RAILWAYS IS MACPS A SUBSTITUTE FOR CAREER PLANNING…

NEED FOR COMBINED CADRE RESTRUCTURING OF GROUP A, B AND C ON THE RAILWAYS IS MACPS A SUBSTITUTE FOR CAREER PLANNING?

Promotion without improved status is like ‘Crumbs without the Soup’

IRTSA has been continuously seeking Career Planning of Technical Supervisors on Railways for the last nearly 45 years – ever since its inception. While some relief was provided over the years through the Cadre Restructuring in 1979, 1984, 1993 and 2003 – when a varying % age of posts were upgraded in different cadres. This did help in reducing the stagnation in lower pay scales, to a certain extent. But neither there was uniformity in the revised %age between various cadres nor did it bear any relativity with the duties and responsibilities or the increase thereof over the years.

But the worst part of it is that the entire exercise was separately done for the various Groups of Posts in Group A, B, C and D – thus taking away the basic thrust for simultaneous Career Planning. As such, IRTSA recently conducted a special Seminar on “Career Planning of Technocrats on Railways” and also submitted Memoranda to the Railway Board on the issue. But while the response of MM was positive on the issue, AMS felt that the MACPS (Modified Assured Career progression Scheme) will provide the requisite Financial Upgrading – ignoring all together that MACPS did not provide for improvement in status & power – which were equally important for effective Management.

There has been no upgrading or Cadre Restructuring of the Apex Grade of Group ‘C’ (Rs.840-1040 / Rs.2375-3500 / Rs.7450-11500) ever on the Railways – (either in 1979, 1984, 1993 or 2003). Consequently there is extreme stagnancy & resultant frustration amongst the incumbents of the Apex Grade ‘C’ – especially amongst the Technical Supervisors on the Railways.

There has been substantial increase in the duties and responsibilities over the years of the Technical Supervisors (JEs, SEs & SSEs) ¬due to modernisation and advancement of technology on the Railways – but this has not been recognised or remunerated in any manner whatsoever – especially in the case of Senior Section Engineers.

Only about 2 to 3% of Technical Supervisors – (entering with Diploma or Degree in Engineering) – reach Group ‘B’ level and only a small fraction thereof reach Group ‘A’ level – due to very meager number of Posts in Group ‘A’, ‘B’ vis-à-vis Group ‘C’ and non-implementation of DOPs orders regarding Classification of Posts – issued after the last 4 Pay Commissions on the Railways. Large majority of Technical Supervisors (with Diploma in Engineering at JE level and with Graduation in Engineering at SE/SSE level) do not get any promotion except in a very few cases and that too at the fag end of their careers. Even after acquiring long years of experience and expertise they remain and mostly retire in the Supervisory cadre itself.

In the new scenario of modern liberalized economy; and the management requirements thereof, it is imperative that Combined “Cadre Restructuring” of posts in Group ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ may be considered to upgrade adequate number of Group ‘C’ posts to Group ‘A’, ‘B’ – to fully meet with the job requirements of the posts of Technical Supervisors on Railways. Most of the employees in other cadres get 3 or 4 promotions or even more in their service in Railways – except the JEs & SE/SSEs. It is pertinent that JEs with Diploma in Engineering and one & a half year of training as well as SE/SSEs with Graduate in Engineering and one year of on the job training – are getting stagnated in the Apex Group ‘C‘ scale without any further avenue of promotion except in rare 2 to 3% cases. JEs who enter in the Grade Pay of Rs.4200 get only one promotion to the Grade Pay of Rs.4600. SE/SSE with Graduate in Engineering qualification enter in the Grade Pay of Rs.4600 – remain stagnant in the entry grade itself.

The JEs & SE/SSEs rot at the Grade Pay of Rs.4600 throughout their career since there are very meager number of posts in Group-B.

In the Technical Departments of Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, Signal & Telecommunications and Stores, only 4274 Group-B posts are available for 5,72,191 Group-C employees, i.e. just 0.74% posts are available in Group-B. After abolition & Up-gradation of Group-D to Group–C the availability of Group-B posts will further dip to very meager i.e. just 0.47%.

In spite of higher nature of duties and responsibilities on account of requirements of Safety & modernisation, Railways have the lowest %age of Gazetted posts in Group A & B vis-à-vis Group C & D – in comparison to all other Departments of Central Government (as cited in the highlights of Power Point Presentation – reproduced in this issue).

With the huge investments and fast coming-up of new projects, more number of posts in the Group-A & B are essentially required, so that decision making and accountability can be broadened in the administrative hierarchy.

Sixth Central Pay Commission in its recommendations and thereafter the Government has made the right decision of abolishing the Group-D posts and upgrading them as Group-C. But similar functional and career improvements (made at the bottom level) have not been carried over to the middle tier in the apex Group-C and Group-B.

Large number of Posts have been upgaraded over the years in Group ‘A’ & ‘B’ to ensure the career planning of the Officers in those cadres but no such upgrading had been allowed in case of Apex Scale of Technical Supervisors – to improve their career prospects or in view of the increase in their duties & responsibilities due to modernisation on the Railways.

All these are not only the root cause of frustration amongst the Technical Supervisors on the Railways – these are also an impediment in effective execution of administrative polices & plans due to lack of executive powers of the Technical Supervisors who are the ‘On-the-Spot Managers. This is bound to have an adverse impact on the efficiency and safety on the Railways, as has been mentioned variedly by all the Railway Accident Inquiry Committees and Railway Reforms Committee.

Combined cadre strength of Technical Departments including all posts in Group – ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ on Indian Railways, should therefore be Restructured – so as to be comparable with – if not higher than – the All India Average % age of Group ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ of Central Government employees in other Departments – as cited and fully justified elaborately by IRTSA in its Memorandum to the Railway Board.

Source: Voice of Rail Engineers – July-August, 2010 Issue

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