TIRUCHY : Employees are divided over the Railways’ proposal to introduce negative marks in exams for promotion. Even as unions allege it was Railways’ new divide and rule strategy, the proposal has split senior and junior level employees.
According to sources, the Railway Board on November 14 decided to avoid negative marks for some examinations, reportedly because of pressure from unions. The decision, however, has led to a tug of war between long-time employees and younger generation.
"Earlier, we had only descriptive-type examination without negative marks for promotion. Last year, objective type examination with negative marks was introduced for the Limited Departmental Competitive Examination (LDCE), General Departmental Competitive Examination (GDCE) and departmental quota examinations. Now, an exception has been made only for departmental quota examinations. We want them to remove the negative marking for GDCE and LDCE examinations, too," a 20-year veteran.
While senior employees bat for complete removal of the negative mark system, the younger lot believes it would create better opportunities for them. "The Board only made the departmental examinations on par with Railway Recruitment Board examinations. Since the elderly employees are not used to such type of examinations, they are raising objections. Unfortunately, most of the major unions are also supporting them. However, in the long run, young employees would overtake the older crop through such examinations," said a young employee.
Though senior employees admitted to this fear, they pointed to several issues which appear to justify their concerns. "This is the only option for long-serving lower grade employees to reach higher grades. This apart, it would also help Railways to have experienced hands in higher posts," said a veteran.
But some of the young top employees who entered Indian Railways through UPSC examinations dismissed such observations. The Railway Board is caught between the unions, predominantly led by seniors, and its young employees. It is unclear whether the transporter would ignore the veterans.