Railway unions seek additional posts in operations and safety categories

Unions in the Indian Railways pointed out that there are already 1.5 lakh vacancies in the railways with most of them in the operating and safety categories.

Updated - July 02, 2024 07:50 am IST

Published - July 01, 2024 07:02 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Representational picture

Representational picture

Unions in the Indian Railways have appealed to the Centre for the creation of additional posts in the operating and commercial categories, including the engineering wings, for the safe and efficient railway operations across the country in view of new trains being introduced and enhanced infrastructure in terms of doubling, tripling and quadrupling of lines as well electrification.

The unions pointed out that there are already 1.5 lakh vacancies in the railways with most of them in the operating and safety categories. The Railway Board had recently cleared 18,999 posts for loco-pilots and similarly vacancies in other categories too should be filled in addition to creation of new ones, they said.

All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRMF) secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra, in a separate communication to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Jitendra Singh and Finance Secretary, said that Indian Railways continues to be the cheapest, convenient and safe mode of transport for passengers and freight, operating round the clock.

The demand for railway services and introduction of semi high speed and high speed trains should be concomitant with filling up of vacant posts since a majority of the categories of non-gazetted cadre are involved in the maintenance and safety operations, he pointed out.

Mr. Mishra, also the National Council (staff side) of the joint consultative machinery for central government employees, claimed that altogether there are about 12 lakh civilian posts lying vacant in the various central government departments, including railways, defence, postal, income tax, CAG and others. “This acute shortage of work is resulting in work pressure on the existing employees and unwanted outsourcing of permanent jobs. Filling up of vacant posts will not only benefit the unemployed youth but also the socially and economically downtrodden,” he said.

“The Centre should also consider constituting the Eighth Pay Commission with the next wage revision due from Jan 1, 2026 and release the 18 months DA (Dearness Allowance) arrears frozen during Covid pandemic, reconsider and withdraw the National Pension Scheme (NPS) implemented from Jan 1, 2004 and restore the guaranteed pension scheme. The minimum wage should be enhanced to ₹26,000 a month as against ₹18,000. This ‘grievance’ was a carry over from the Seventh Pay Commission when a group of ministers led by former Union Minister Arun Jaitley and others had accepted, attested the union leader. There should also be compassionate appointments to dependents of those officials who had died during the pandemic while performing their duties,” he added.

Mr. Mishra’s contention is that the actual expenditure on employees is 7.3% of the total revenue expenditure and pension expenses are ₹4 lakh crore while the GST collection is ₹2 lakh crore and tax collection, including IT, has been ₹14 lakh crore.

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