NEW DELHI: The Railway Board has set a target of “surrendering” 11,040 zonal railway posts in 2018-19 to trim its workforce because of rising manpower costs. Indian Railways, which has a workforce of nearly 13 lakh, has identified excess posts in each zonal railway headquarter to be included in the “pool of surrendered posts”.
These posts have been vacant for years because of reasons like computerisation and adoption of new technology that does not require manpower.
Northern Railway and Southern Railway have been asked to surrender 1,500 posts each, the highest among 16 zonal railways. Zonal railways are generally reluctant to surrender excess posts because they want to retain the capacity for recruitment.
In 2017-18, the Railway Board failed to achieve its target of surrendering 10,000 posts, with some zonal railways partially doing their bit. Last year, railway unions took up the matter with the Railway Board, saying that surrendering these vacancies would jeopardise smooth functioning of the railways.
“The Railway Board keeps issuing such orders and we have taken it up with them. Actually, zonal railways hardly surrender these posts,” said Shiv Gopal Mishra, general secretary, All India Railwaymen’s Federation.
The move comes at a time when Indian Railways has started a manpower review keeping in mind rising manpower costs. The Railway Board has circulated a ‘Manpower Management Strategy for Indian Railways’ to zonal railways and production units, emphasising that there was a compelling need for general managers to adopt such a strategy for sustainable growth of the railways.
General managers have been asked to review manpower in 18 categories, including mechanical, electrical, engineering, telecoms, commercial, operating and accounts, and submit a report by July 10.Manpower costs have a direct impact on the sustainability of the organisation. In the financial year 2016-17, the Railways’ total staff cost, including pension, was Rs 1,06,242 crore, which is 64.28 per cent of its total earnings.