CHENNAI: In what seems to be an attempt to centralise recruitments for the Railways, the Central government has proposed to merge 21 Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and bring them under the National Testing Agency (NTA).
Presently, 21 RRBs conduct exams to fill vacancies in the 16 zonal railways for technical and non-technical posts in group C and D categories. The RRB Chennai recruits candidates for Chennai, Salem and Tiruchy divisions, and RRB Thiruvananthapuram chooses people for the Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Madurai divisions.
The centralisation of recruitment boards was one of the several measures proposed as part of the restructuring of the Railways. “Given that the government has set up an NTA, which would conduct a common preliminary exam for recruitment in the Central government, there is no need for separate RRBs,” said Principal Economic Adviser Sanjeev Sanyal in his report on rationalisation of the Railways that was sent to the Cabinet in August.
“The Railways may conduct the exams via the NTA. There may be a small digital office in the Railways to coordinate with the NTA,” Sanyal added in his report, a copy of which is with TNIE. The Union government’s plan is perceived as yet another political decision of centralisation of systems under the pretext of administrative reforms.
MG Devasagayam, a retired IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, said the Centre’s plan would destroy the entire system, and should be opposed tooth and nail. “Any move to centralise exams of group C and D posts will eventually benefit North Indian States and is an indirect attempt to impose Hindi on southern States,” he asserted.
For example, most CRPF and CISF personnel posted at airports are from Hindi-speaking States and were recruited through national-level exams. Last year, DMK MP K Kanimozhi was humiliated and her nationality questioned by a security staff at the airport because she didn’t speak Hindi. A few days ago, Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan was stopped at the airport though he didn’t violate any norms, added Devasagayam.