Indian Railways is the largest rail network of the world, expanding its base each day. While there are hundreds of new trains being introduced, no heed is being paid to positions lying vacant at the railway department. According to newspaper reports, the number of employees required to handle the operations has been declining with 2.25 lakh posts currently unoccupied.
Most of these vacancies are in safety-related posts of loco running staff, driver, station master, guard, signal inspector and maintenance staff. Among these, the key post of member (electrical) in railway board is vacant as also the posts of four general managers (GMs) and several divisional railway managers (DRMs), hindering smooth decision-making.
For other junior posts, the railway ministry says that a stringent system is being developed to accelerate the recruitment drive to fill up vacant posts. But the recruitment process has drowned in controversy after paper leak and other irregularities were noticed.
Minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha had recently claimed in Parliament that the total number of vacant posts in various categories on zonal railways, as on April 1, 2014 is 2,25,863.
It is being said that the key posts are lying vacant due to pressure from departmental lobbies but the latest policy on posting of DRMs is being questioned for giving absolute power to the railway board chairman.
Officers belonging to eight railway services are selected for DRM on the basis of a fixed quota system. Out of 68 posts of DRMs, 16 posts go to traffic, mechanical and engineering services each while nine go to electrical and four to signals.