Intyroduction: – Indian Railways known as the ‘Lifeline of our Nation’ is the World’s fourth largest railway network, spanning more than sixty four thousand kilometers of track. This major mode of transportation for both freight and passengers, were first introduced to India in 16th April 1853, when the train with 14 railway carriages and 400 guests was flagged off from Mumbai to Thane.
Administered by the Railway Board, Indian railway has a financial commissioner, five members and a chairman. It is divided into seventeen zones which is headed by a General Manager (GM) who reports directly to the Railway Board. Each of these zones are further sub-divided into certain number of divisions – under the control of Divisional Railway Managers (DRM), each having a divisional headquarter.
Every division has certain number of technical and non-technical departments, which form the base structure on which the railways function. Technical departments comprise of civil, technical and mechanical engineering, signaling and telecom, and several others dealing with similar discipline. The non- technical departments include general services such as accounts, personnel management, Railway protection Force (RPF) or security and traffic services. Further down are the Station Masters who control individual stations and the train movement through the track territory under their stations administration.
Every year, Indian railways generate lot of jobs openings to a large number of Indian nationals. It requires a variety of people at the administrative, technical and non technical operations, to work together for the smooth functioning of the rail systems. Candidates with qualifications ranging from 10th standard to engineering graduates can find job openings in the varied operations of the Indian Railways.
Eligibility & Selection :-
Those who want to make a career in Indian railways need to pass the Combined Civil Services Examination, conducted by UPSC or an allied examination by the Railways Recruitment Boards (RRBs). These examinations are held from time to time to select a wide variety of personnel. The broadly divided zones of Indian railways and its divisions have technical and non-technical service departments, categorized under the groups namely A, B, C and D.
Group A and Group B posts are gazetted posts which falls under the officer cadres. Selection to the posts in the Group A services are made through Civil Services Examinations/ Engineering Services Examination/ Combined Medical Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), New Delhi. The minimum eligibility required for the Group A services is graduation in any discipline or an equivalent qualification (for civil service); Degree in Engineering or M.Sc Degree or its equivalent (for engineering service); Degree in medicine- M.B.B.S (for medical service) from any recognised University. Besides Engineering Service Examination, a Special Class Railway Apprenticeship Examination (SCRA) is also held for the selection of mechanical engineers. HSC or equivalent with PCM, is the minimum qualification for SCRA exam.
No special examinations are held for Group B officers. They are directly promoted from Group C staff. Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) make appointments to Group B services posts.
Group C and Group D are non-gazetted subordinate posts. Group C comprise of the clerical staff, supervisors and skilled labour while unskilled and semi-skilled labour falls under the Group D class. Group C and D employees are recruited through 19 Railway Recruitment Boards, located at different parts of the country, which are controlled by the Railway Recruitment Control Board (RRCB). Some of the posts and its qualifications are given below :
♦ Enquiry-cum-Reservation Clerk (Qua : Degree)
♦ Accounts Clerk (Qua : Matriculation)
♦ Jr. Accounts Asst. (Qua : Degree : Eng. typing 30 wpm, Hindi typing 25 wpm)
♦ Prob. Astt. Master Rly. Station (Qua : Degree/ Diploma in Traffic & Management preferred)
♦ Trainee Asst. (Qua : Matriculation and Driver (Elect/ Diesel) Cert. from ITI)
♦ Apprentice (Qua : Mechanic Dip in Elect. Engg. (DH/ Elect.))
♦ Apprentice (Qua : Mechanic Dip in Mech. Engg. (DH/ Mech))
♦ Apprentice Signal Inspector (Gr. I) (Qua : B.E. (Elect/ Electro/ Telecom))
♦ Apprentice Signal Inspector (Gr. III) (Qua :Dip. (Mech/ Elect/ Electro/ Telecom) or B.Sc. (Physics) )
♦ Skilled Artisan (Qua : Matriculation and ITI Cert.)
♦ Stenographer (Eng) (Qua : Matriculation and proficiency in Eng. Stenography 80 w.p.m. Eng. Typing 40 w.p.m.)
♦ Trainee Elect (Qua : BE (Mech/ Elect/ Foreman Electro))
♦ Apprentice Inspector Apparent. Permanent way Inspector (Gr.lll) (Qua : Dip. (Civil/ Mech/ Electro))
♦ Apprentice Train Examiner (Qua : Degree)
♦ Guard (Qua : Degree)
♦ Law Asst. (Qua : Degree in Law)
♦ Statistical Astt. (Qua : MA/ M.Sc. with Eco/ Stats/ Maths)
RRBs also recruit teachers, physical instructors, doctors in various departments, nurses and paramedical personnel through countrywide written tests.
Aspiring candidates for jobs in railways, should have good physical and mental health. Railway employees should be prepared to spend long periods away from home. Other essential pre-requisites are ability to interact and work as a team, accountability, discipline, patience etc.
Job Prospects & Career Options :-
With more than 2 million employees and with a wide and diverse range of operations, Indian railway system is one of the world’s largest commercial employers. Vacancies in Indian railways are advertised by the Railways Recruitment Boards through the Employment News/ Rozgar Samachar as well as in prominent national dailies.
Some of the Group A services available within the department of Indian Railways are :
- Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) – Group A
Divided into two divisions namely commercial and operations divisions, IRTS controls the transportation and commercial matters related to transportation. Ticket checking, catering, administration and management of stations, reservation, announcements on the platforms etc. are handled in the commercial division. Whereas operations division deals with controlling movement of trains, detachment or attachment of wagons etc.
The posts and promotions differ slightly as per the selection grade. When an officer reaches the senior administrative grade, he or she is given the post of Chief Commercial/Operations Superintendent.
- Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) – Group A
IRAS are responsible for the accounting and finance operations of the Indian Railways. Since this branch deals mainly with the financial transactions, an account service officer should have a thorough knowledge of accounting procedures and related practices.
- Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) – Group A
Officers of IRPS are the responsible personal dealings with the matters related to the personal sections like selection, promotions, training, welfare activities, transfers, increments etc.
- Railway Engineering Services – Group A
This technical side of Indian railway, allied with the activities like construction and planning of railway tracks, bridges and buildings, is further sub divided into branches namely :
— Indian Railway Service of (Civil) Engineers (IRSE) : Employees of this branch are responsible for managing the civil engineering organisation of the Indian railways. Their duties involves planning the track routes, constructing railway station, bridges, tunnels, etc.
— Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE) :
Railway Service of Electrical Engineers are responsible to maintain the assets of the electrical department in Indian railways. Their major responsibilities includes power distribution networks, power generation, electrical distribution systems, monitoring continuity of supply etc.
— Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME) :
The maintenance of the locomotives, wagons, carriages etc are carried out by the mechanical engineers branch.
— Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE) :
The vast signaling and telecommunication infrastructure of the Indian railways is controlled by the IRSSE branch.
Selection to the posts in the Railway Engineering services are made through Engineering Services Examination of the railways.
- Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS) – Group A
The IRSS cadre is responsible for forecasting, planning, procurement logistic support & management, warehousing of very expensive and sophisticated assets meant for the national lifeline i.e Indian Railways. It is also responsible for giving material support to production of coaches, locomotives and other rolling stock. This service is also responsible for mopping up scrap scattered all over Indian Railways, and to sell it through tender/public auction. The important function of vendor approval /development and registration of firms is also one of the main functions of IRSS
- Indian Railway Medical Service (IRMS) – Group A
Railways have full-fledged hospitals at the divisional level and at zonal headquarters. Selection to the posts in the Railway Medical Services are made through Combined Medical Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
- Railway Protection Service/ Force (RPF)
RPF is the branch entrusted with the task of maintenance and security of law and order in the Indian Railways. The ranks in the RPF varies from Constable to Director General.
Other Services in the railways includes stations masters, assistant station masters, engine drivers, assistant drivers, yardmaster, motormen, guards, signal and mechanical inspectors etc. which falls under Group C. One can also join in Indian railways as ticket collectors, clerks, stenographers, depot store keeper, rail maintenance workers etc.
Candidates with qualifications ranging from 10th standard to engineering graduates can find job openings in the varied operations of the Indian Railways. Remuneration of each and every employee in Indian railways is fixed by the Government, and they can earn a monthly pay according to the pay scale of Govt. of India. The pay scale follows the pattern of all other civil services and it will be revised from time to time.
In addition to the basic salary and perks, railway employees also get a lot of benefits like free railway passes to travel all over the country, housing facilities, health care facilities for the whole family, educational facilities for their children, provision for staying in the railway guest houses and many more. After retirement, each individual will get monthly pension according to the post and position held.