CHAIRMAN RAILWAY BOARD

delay-in-the-posting-of-gm-railways-continues-six-posts-vacant-oldest-ones-from-jan-feb-2020

Delay in the posting of GM Railways continues, six posts vacant, oldest ones from Jan-Feb 2020

Posting of General Managers in Indian Railways has rarely been free from delays and controversies.

The current GM panel was delayed by nine months for reasons unknown. Now six weeks have passed since the panel was finally made, yet the indecision continues.

Insiders say that departmentalism plays a big role in such delays which even the top authorities are often unable to resolve.

Many posts of Additional Members, which are the same level as GM, are vacant too for several months.

Not surprising, the apex level posts are quickly filled up since the top management of railways does look after itself well.

15 Oct 2020
board-at-a-unique-juncture-member-posts-ex-cadre-now-rr-yet-to-be-drafted-

Board at a unique juncture: Member posts ex-cadre now, RR yet to be drafted?

All posts of Members of the Railway board are now ex-cadre and should be filled out of seniormost suitable officers on the basis of seniority and residual service. Yet, the reforms in the Railways need to be persuaded cautiously. 

The post of Director General HR (DGGHR) was filled with an IRPS officer even though far senior officers of other cadres are eligible and available.

The post of Member Traffic & Rolling Stock (MTR&RS) is proposed to be filled with an IRSEE officer. Now, there is a proposal to fill up the post of Member (Finance) with an IRAS Officer. The only cadres that seem to have lost out in this game of half-baked reforms are IRSE and IRSME, who have lost out on apex grade posts.

The Railway Ministry has not even drafted the Recruitment Rules for the now ex-cadre posts of Members of the Railway Board and ad hocism continues as a result. Though the inordinate delay in drafting of RR may not be intentional yet it raises questions. With the Railway Ministry with relatively little work at its hands in view of non-running of passenger services, there is certainly no shortage of time to write the Recruitment Rules for a much-touted reform.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

06 Oct 2020
delay-in-the-posting-of-gm-railways-continues-six-posts-vacant-oldest-ones-from-jan-feb-2020

Delay in the posting of GM Railways continues, six posts vacant, oldest ones from Jan-Feb 2020

By IndianMandarins 15 Oct 2020

Posting of General Managers in Indian Railways has rarely been free from delays and controversies.

The current GM panel was delayed by nine months for reasons unknown. Now six weeks have passed since the panel was finally made, yet the indecision continues.

Insiders say that departmentalism plays a big role in such delays which even the top authorities are often unable to resolve.

Many posts of Additional Members, which are the same level as GM, are vacant too for several months.

Not surprising, the apex level posts are quickly filled up since the top management of railways does look after itself well.

board-at-a-unique-juncture-member-posts-ex-cadre-now-rr-yet-to-be-drafted-

Board at a unique juncture: Member posts ex-cadre now, RR yet to be drafted?

By Rakesh Ranjan 06 Oct 2020

All posts of Members of the Railway board are now ex-cadre and should be filled out of seniormost suitable officers on the basis of seniority and residual service. Yet, the reforms in the Railways need to be persuaded cautiously. 

The post of Director General HR (DGGHR) was filled with an IRPS officer even though far senior officers of other cadres are eligible and available.

The post of Member Traffic & Rolling Stock (MTR&RS) is proposed to be filled with an IRSEE officer. Now, there is a proposal to fill up the post of Member (Finance) with an IRAS Officer. The only cadres that seem to have lost out in this game of half-baked reforms are IRSE and IRSME, who have lost out on apex grade posts.

The Railway Ministry has not even drafted the Recruitment Rules for the now ex-cadre posts of Members of the Railway Board and ad hocism continues as a result. Though the inordinate delay in drafting of RR may not be intentional yet it raises questions. With the Railway Ministry with relatively little work at its hands in view of non-running of passenger services, there is certainly no shortage of time to write the Recruitment Rules for a much-touted reform.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

empanelment-list-for-gm-railways-out-makers-of-vande-bharat-express-also-out-25-officers-on-the-list

Empanelment list for GM Railways out, makers of Vande Bharat Express also out: 25 officers on the list

By IndianMandarins 04 Sep 2020

The NaMo administration has cleared the empanelment of as many as 25 officers for holding General Manager or GM Equivalent posts in the Zonal Railways. Few insiders said that none of the empaneled officers who are considered among the makers of Vande Bharat Express are there on the approved list/panel:-

MAIN PANEL FOR THE YR 2020:

  1. SK Goal (IRSSE:1984)
  2. A Gangal (IRSME:1985)
  3. Sunil Bajpai (IRSME:1985)
  4. VK Tripathi (IRSEE:1985)
  5. Satish K Kashyap (IRSEE:1985)
  6. Om Prakash Singh (IRSE:1985)
  7. Rajesh Argal (IRSE:1985)

EXTENDED PANEL FOR THE YR 2020:

  1. Sunil Sharma (IRPS:1985)
  2. Arun Arora (IRSME:1986)
  3. AK Agarwal (IRSME:1986)
  4. SN Dubey (IRSEE:1986)
  5. RK Saxena (IRSS:1986)
  6. Sanjeev Kishore (IRSME:1986)
  7. A Sharma (IRSME:1986)
  8. Alok Kumar (IRSME:1986)
  9. AK Pandey (IRSME:1986)
  10. DC Sharma (IRSME:1986)
  11. Ashesh Agarwal (IRSME:1986)
  12. Vivek Kumar (IRSME:1986)
  13. SK Yagnik (IRSME:1986)
  14. RK Mangla (IRSME:1986)
  15. Sanjay Chadha (IRSME:1986)
  16. Anil K Lahoti (IRSE:1986)
  17. Ms Anjali Goyal (IRAS:1986)

railway-board-high-on-promises-and-pursuit-for-delivery-

Railway Board – High on Promises and pursuit for Delivery?

By IndianMandarins 04 Aug 2020

Behind the iron curtains of the Rail Bhawan and a little away from scrutiny by the ‘top offices’ the Railway Establishment, which at its convenience dons the alternate roles of a Board and a Ministry, seems to flounder without a recovery in sight. 

There has been a spate of announcements and promises that attracted media attention extensively. But closer scrutiny reveals that these promises were more to hoodwink the top political leadership. Let’s have a look on some of the prominent announcements and how they fare now.

Integration of Railway Cadres Constantly warring railway cadres were ordered to be integrated into a single Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) on the orders of the Prime Minister himself about ten months ago. But, the otherwise decisive regime has not been able to push the obstinate Railway bureaucracy to go beyond a Cabinet approval for the merger. That there are incompatibilities in the merger of civil services and engineering service entrants was well known. Yet, a Cabinet note was moved and got clearance also. Disputes and representations have, therefore, stalled the process. But, the Railway Board doesn’t seem to pay heed let alone address the issues directly. It is looking at the Group of Ministers constituted for the purpose, but hasn’t held even a single interactive meeting at its own level with officers in last ten months, who have expressed legitimate concerns.

Corporatization of Production UnitsThis exercise began nearly two years ago as a solution to Railway’s bloated workforce, giving operational freedom to the Pus and to enable them to work in a competitive world by inducting modern technology. This proposal has not even been presented to the Cabinet for a final decision. Meanwhile, the route to bring in new technology has been diverted to possible induction of modern trains by private train operators. Needless to say, such corporatization would have significantly reduced the wage bill of Railways.

Vande Bharat Express The Vande Bharat Express has been an unqualified success, albeit a rare one, of the Make-in-India call. Even after a much-publicized inauguration by the PM and his repeated calls, the Railway Board is yet to produce more trains of the genre. A thriving Indian high-speed rail industry has been stopped in its tracks. The current plans to manufacture the train to new specifications, which were completely unnecessary, do not promise new trains before the year 2024. Only the posterity will tell whether this delay was meant to scuttle in-house expertise and benefit outsiders.

Rail UniversityThe NDA government, in its first rule itself envisioned four National Rail Universities in India. But, in spite of repeated reminders by the ‘top office’, consultancies, and review meetings there is no worthwhile institution in sight. The make-shift institution operational in the campus of Railway Staff College at Vadodara is running without any specific plans on what will happen to the students graduating from it – will it add further to the army of unemployable engineers of the country or will there be gainful jobs for them. There is no faculty, laboratories or curriculum approved by the UGC or the AICTE. Reportedly, there isn’t even an adequately resourced library.

Private Train Operation It is proposed to bring-in private train operators with a view to improving service levels, attracting investments and inducting new technology. The whole exercise is based on a farce that private investment is needed in the first place. Indian Railways has enough rolling stock and locomotives to run the train-services at pre-COVID levels and a lot more. There is actually a glut of passenger coaches. Why is the private investment required in an area, where we already have a surplus? Then the call for new technology is a bigger farce - the current stock is already capable of running at speeds significantly higher than that permitted by our tracks, bridges and signals. 160 kmph operations are possible even today with Vande Bharat and LHB coaches coupled with select locomotives. On-board services like better food and comfort are not matters of new technology, but of better execution of what IR already has. The clamor for modern technology is misplaced at best and mischievous at worst.

These promises were conceptualized to exhibit a sign of activity over a year or more. Most of it was aimed at self-preservation and possible extensions by senior bureaucracy. The trick has been to keep making new promises while carefully putting the old ones on the back burner. The decline in the general health of the Railways is palpable as can be discovered by anyone, who speaks to officers of all ranks in the field – there is a lot to do on the fronts of financial management, efficient management of expenditure on “capacity expansion” works and a re-think required over perpetuating production. Given the general hopelessness, even sincere officers have taken recourse to take credit for running shramik and other specials at less than ten percent of Railway’s operational capacity, manufacture of masks and PPEs and COVID coaches, a far cry from the general efficiency of rail operations.

Indian Railways is the common man’s transport. Yet, the Railway Board, in the backdrop of the COVID crisis, has steadfastly refused to run regular trains. Many trains originate and end in the same state and there should be no resistance to begin these trains immediately since such transport directly impacts local businesses and professions.

It is time the ‘top offices’ and ‘premiere institutions’ began to pose some tough questions to the Railway Board on the resumption of train services, prioritization of contracts and projects, reduction of the wage bill and creating a lean-mean travel company. Otherwise, the losses may be permanent and impossible to recover from.

of-sixteen-railway-zones-five-have-agms-from-a-single-cadre

Of sixteen railway zones, five have AGMs from a single cadre

By IndianMandarins 01 Jul 2020

This is not something very new and unusual for Indian Railway Services officers to blame and to be blamed for liking towards a particular cadre. Following the posting of two IRSEE cadre officers as Additional GM, senior Railways officials started blaming the Board for favouritism. On June 24, 2020, Navin Gulati (IRSEE) has been posted as AGM in Northern Railway and Gopinath Mallaya (IRSEE) in Southern Railway.

These two postings appear to have provided enough fodder to officers belonging to other cadres for matching the dots, drawing pattern and substantiating their own view. It is said that including Gulati and Mallaya, five AGMs were from a single cadre i.e. IRSEE. Earlier Pramod Kumar (IRSEE) was made AGM in South East Central Railway, Radhey Raman in Northeast Frontier Railway and BP Singh in South Central Railway.

Reportedly, of sixteen railway zones, five AGMs are from a single cadre i.e. IRSEE. Reportedly, many of them are not yet in the HAG+ and have been posted in clear oversight of more senior officers of other cadres. There are many who claim it to be totally disproportionate with the strength of the IRSEE cadre vis-a-vis the total strength of eligible officers in other cadres.

Even earlier, many of key posts in Railway Board were awarded to IRSEE officers. Two important establishment posts of Executive Director (Gazetted) and Joint Secretary (Confidential) have been manned by a single IRSEE officer. These posts were exclusively occupied by either the RBSS or IRPS officers. Likewise, the lucrative post of Secretary, Railway Sports Control Board, which was earlier a preserve of IRPS has been given to an IRSEE officer.

It is said that two Additional Member level ex-cadre posts of Additional Member Planning and Addition Member Transformation is occupied by a single IRSEE officer Dinesh Kumar who also holds a third AM level post of AM Electrification.

This grabbing of key ex-cadre posts by the IRSEE might have led to some heartburn and discontent in the other cadres but this is not new to Railways. They see it as a clear case of favouritism by the Chairman Railway Board, who is from the IRSEE cadre himself. But the blame-game is not new to Railways. When A K Mital (IRSS:1976) was Chairman Railway Board officers belonging to other cadres blamed the Board for being partial towards IRSS cadre.

In the past, various CRBs were often labelled for alleged favouritism towards their own cadres. Still, fair play and transparency in the handling of establishment matters in the Railway Ministry is something which may be attained through Union Government’s approved move of the merger of eight Group A service cadres of the Railways into one unified central service i.e. Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) which may take some more time to be executed completely.

railways-plan-austerity-measures-in-view-of-income-loss-due-to-corona

Railways plan austerity measures in view of income loss due to Corona

By IndianMandarins 22 Jun 2020

Railways is gearing up to adopt a slew of austerity measures proposed by its financial commissioner in view of serious dent in its earnings due to coronavirus crisis. It plans for a freeze in the creation of new posts, rationalisation of manpower at workshops, shifting outsourced work to CSR, moving ceremonial functions to digital platforms and cutting down on use of stationary by 50 per cent.

The financial commissioner of the railways told general managers of all zones in a letter dated June 19 that the traffic earnings of the national transporter dropped by 58 per cent at the end of May, as compared to the corresponding period of last year. “There is a need to explore new areas of expenditure control and enhancement of earnings,” the letter says.

It also advised the zones to control expenditure by reducing staff cost, rationalising staff and also by making them perform multiple tasks. It also asked the zones to review contracts, reduce energy consumption and cut costs in administrative and other areas.

“Immediate review of re-engaged staff and feasibility of curtailing the same to a bare minimum shall be explored. Freeze new post creation except for safety-related posts.

“Review of posts created in the last two years should be done and if recruitment has not been done against those posts, the same may be reviewed for surrendering, rationalisation of manpower in workshops. Time and motion study of workshops and production units for review of allowed time and incentives,” the letter says.

The financial commissioner also recommended that all file work be moved to the digital sphere and advised that all correspondence must be done through secure e-mails. It also instructed the zones to reduce the use of stationery articles, cartridges and other items by at least 50 per cent. It also asked zones to review and close all uneconomic branches of the ministry.

khati-as-dg-hr-and-manjula-as-member-finance-acc-approval-awaited

Khati as DG HR and Manjula as Member Finance: ACC approval awaited

By IndianMandarins 27 May 2020

Indianmandarins has reliably learned that the Railway Board headed by CRB Vinod Kumar Yadav has sent two apex grade proposals to the ACC last week. The proposal appears in consonance with the framework of combined IRMS cadre yet the Recruitment Rules (RR) are yet to be framed for both the posts.

 

Reportedly, Mrs Manjula Rangrajan (IRAS) may be appointed as Member Finance and A S Khati (IRPS) may be appointed as Director General HR. Presently, Mrs Mnjula is Additional Member Finance and Khati is Additional Member Staff in Railway Board.

 

As per the Cabinet approval, both are of apex level posts and are open to all services yet officers proposed for the posts belong to the respective IRAS and IRPS cadre to which these posts were earlier earmarked for.    

 

Interestingly, the combined Indian Railways cadre IRMS and a smaller restructured Railway Board was announced with a lot of fanfare earlier in December last year. This turned out to be a ground for giving an extension to CRB however that seems to have served its purpose. In the backdrop of the COVID crisis it was declared that IRMS will not be possible this year.

brazen-discrimination-in-railway-board-is-pmo-watching-

Brazen discrimination in Railway Board: Is PMO watching?

By IndianMandarins 23 May 2020

During the COVID crisis, when officers are not able to travel and present their cases to higher authorities, the Chairman Railway Board is being blamed by several officers for discrimination and departmentalism; though Railway itself is a department comprising various cadres and services. While blaming the CRB they talk facts and examples as well.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister, approved the promotion of four Mechanical officers to the grade of Additional Member, which is a post equivalent to General Managers. Yet, one officer, A K Kathpal, the Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer of ICF, has been denied the elevation on the ground that there is a Vigilance case against him.

Even as the spate of vigilance cases against ICF officers involved in making the Train 18 have reached nowhere near conclusion, just a case in the initial stage is being used as a ploy to deny promotion to a senior officer.

The rules in this matter are very clear. Unless the vigilance case has reached finality and unless the Central Vigilance Commission has recommenced departmental proceedings against an officer, he cannot be denied promotion. Further, aas per CVC guidelines any complaint within 6 months of vacancy is not to be taken cognizance of.

In  Kathpal’s case the DPC was sent to ACC in April 2020 whereas the vigilance case now cited is much earlier. His case has not even been sent to the CVC. Yet, his promotion has been withheld and the Railway Ministry is planning to send a report to the ACC that Kathpal cannot be promoted. It is a complete mockery of ACC though it is unlikely that the ACC will agree to this nefarious design since the vigilance case existed against Kathpal even when his name was sent for empanelment as an Additional Member to the ACC.

The so-called ‘ism’, if any, is clear from the fact that the same yardstick has not been applied in the case of Electrical Officers. N K Gupta, the Principal Chief Electrical Engineer of ICF was promoted to Additional Member grade even when there were two vigilance cases pending against him. D P Dash, another Electrical officer, who was the Chief Electrical Design Engineer of ICF also had two vigilance cases against him, yet he was granted the Higher Administrative Grade. Two more Electrical Officers of ICF, Amitabh Singhal and Praveen Chauhan were promoted to Senior Administrative Grade in spite of vigilance cases against them.

O P Khare, a Stores Officer, who was the Principal Chief Materials Manager of ICF was allowed to retire with full benefits even as he had a vigilance case against him. 

The ‘ism’ is also evident from his propensity to post Electrical Officers on key posts not identified for the Electrical department. Sudhir Kumar an Additional Member in Railway Board is holding three posts of Additional Members, Planning, Electrification and Transformation. Navin Kumar, another Electrical Officer is holding two posts of Establishment Branch, Executive Director Gazetted Cadre and Joint Secretary Confidential, posts which were traditionally held by Personnel department officers. Yet another Electrical Officer, P C Lochab, is occupying the Establishment post of Railway Sports Control Board.

It is being said that Kathpal’s promotion is being denied to build a precedent to deny promotion to another Mechanical officer to the post to Additional Member or Secretary Railway Board. If the ACC agrees to these manipulations of the Ministry of Railways, it will not only be demoralizing for the officers in general,  it will also violate existing rules on vigilance cases.

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