Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Classification of Posts in Ministry of Railways - Recommendation of the Committee


Classification of Posts in Ministry of Railways - Recommendation of the Committee

रेल मंत्रालय
Ministry of Railways
(भारत सरकार)
(Government of India)

Report of the Committee on Classification of Posts

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1. The Classification of posts in the Central Government into different Groups is notified after revision of pay structure following implementation of each Central Pay Commission. For Posts governed by the CCS (CCA) Rules, DoP&T issues the notification while the Ministry of Railways issues this notification for Railway employees covered under RS (RP) Rules. While classification of posts as Group-A in the Railways essentially follows the CCS (CCA) classification, this is not so for posts classified as Group-B and Group-C. Posts in GP 4200/Level-6, GP 4600/Level-7, GP 4800/Level-8 & GP 5400 (where such posts are not classified as Group-A) are classified as Group-B under the CCS (CCA) classification rules notified by DoP&T. Within this Group-B classification, posts in GP 4200/Level-6 are generally classified as ‘non-gazetted’ and those in GP 4600/Level-7 and above as ‘gazetted’ in the Recruitment Rules.

1.1 The Classification Rules followed by the Railways however provide for Group-B status (which is entirely ‘gazetted’) only to posts in substantive GP 4800/ (GP 5400/ for Accounts Department). Posts substantively in GP 4600/ & below are classified as Group-C. Posts of Sr. Section Officers in Accounts Department, though in GP 4800/ and analogous posts of the Teaching & Nursing categories are also classified as Group-C in the Railways. Demands have been consistently raised on behalf of Railway employees in GP 4200/ & above that their classification also be aligned with that notified by DoP&T under CCS (CCA) Rules. These demands for grant of Group-B have been raised citing grounds of parity with other Ministries/Departments, functionality & responsibility of the posts, need for adequate social status & esteem, and in the case of directly recruited SSEs their EQ of B. Tech. Ministry of Railways’ stand all along has been that the classification system adopted by the Railways is appropriate, given the unique structure and functioning of the Railways. This classification system has also been upheld in judicial challenges, including before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

1.2 After DoP&T issued the classification notification covering CCS (CCA) posts under the 7th CPC pay structure in November 2017, the Pay Commission Directorate put up a notification for classification of Railway posts covered under the RS (RP) Rules in line with the extant policy/stand in the matter. It was however decided by Board in June 2018 that the matter of aligning the classification of posts in the Railways with that by DoP&T for granting Group-B   status   (Gazetted/non-gazetted)  to   certain  categories   of  employees   presently classified as Group-C, was to be examined comprehensively by a Committee of three Executive Directors of the Railway Board and a report submitted within a month. This time frame was later extended by another month in July 2018. The Committee’s report is submitted in accordance with this mandate.
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1.3 The Committee solicited views of all interested parties & stakeholders in the matter. Over 7400 e-mails and around 180 representations/views through dak/by hand were received. Several groups of employees also met the Committee on the designated days for such interaction. In addition, employees individually and in groups, also met individual Committee members beyond the designated days to represent on the matter. Both staff Federations stated that they would discuss the matter at more senior levels before a decision on the Committee’s report was taken. In spite of requests, no response was received from either of the Officers’ Federations.

1.4 The Committee sifted through the various representations and observed that there were two main grievances/demands of employees in posts of substantive Level-6 & Level-7. Firstly, they wanted the due social status & self-esteem that they believed their Group-C classification denied them vis-à-vis their counterparts in other Ministries classified as Group-B. The second was their frustration at stagnation in Level-7 (notwithstanding grant of periodic non-functional upgradation under MACPS) and demands for time-bound promotions to Level-8 & beyond. Those recruited directly at Level-7, especially SSEs, represented forcefully on this, pointed out that their minimum entry qualification was a professional degree. The upsetting of pay relativities between Technical Supervisors and several other categories that were upgraded due to the 6th CPC recommendations was an added factor that sharpened this grievance. Many of those representing also believed that both sets of demands were linked- that is, a change in their classification (from Group-C to Group-B) would also lead to improved promotional prospects.

1.5 Given its mandate, the Committee examined as to what best could be feasibly recommended as regards Classification of Railway posts to address Supervisors’ grievances, given the organizational and functional structure of Railways. Adopting the DoP&T classification fully for posts in the Railways was first considered. This would mean that both Level-6 & Level-7 supervisors would be upgraded in classification from Group-C to Group- B, with Level-6 categorised as Group-B non-gazetted and Level-7 as Group-B gazetted. On examining this option, the Committee observed that the number of Level-6 in Railways is over two lakhs and that of Level-7 is around seventy thousand. A wholesale reclassification to Group-B would therefore mean that the number classified as Group-B in Indian Railways would rise from less than around seven thousand to close to three lakhs- which works out to almost a quarter of the total employee strength of the Railways. Apart from the numbers involved and their potential implications on field working, this would also mean that there would be two classes of Group-B gazetted posts & their incumbents- those promoted from Group-C through the extant 70/30 streams, and those placed in Group-B due to re- classification. This scenario would result in several complications especially as  regards further promotion. Presently, even with an approximately 1:1 cadre strength ratio between Group-B (gazetted) and Group-A, officers in several Departments complain of stagnating for several years in Group-B. The imminent Cadre restructuring of Group-A Railway Services with its emphasis on financial neutrality of the exercise may only exacerbate the problem due to likely surrender of Sr. Scale posts. If seventy thousand Supervisors (in Level-7) were to be re-classified as Group-B gazetted, the Group-B gazetted strength would rise to about seventy seven thousand – an eleven-fold increase. With less than eight thousand Group-A posts in the system and stipulated Direct Recruitment intake of 50% of vacancies into any Group-A Service, prospects of most Group-B gazetted officials for intake into Group-A would become virtually non-existent, causing tremendous frustration at this level. The Committee therefore does not consider in toto adoption of DoP&T’s classification norms a feasible solution in the Railways.

1.6 The Committee next examined whether any methodology on limiting the number of posts to be re-classified to Group-B even within the target Pay Levels of 6 & 7 could be adopted. Suggestions received in this respect included restricting Group-B to only those in ‘Safety-category’ posts; or to only those directly recruited with a professional degree; or even to only those senior & stagnating as evidenced by their non-functional (MACP) higher Pay Levels. The Committee examined these and concluded that adoption of such artificial exclusionary criteria would not be feasible, and that the only sustainable criterion for classification of the post could, in general, be the substantive Pay Level attached to that post.

1.7 Based on a comprehensive consideration of all facts and circumstances, the Committee  accordingly  has proposed  that the present  Group-C posts in GP 4600/-, Level-7 (including posts in higher Pay Levels but classified as Group-C in cadres such as Accounts, Teaching & Nursing) be re-classified as Group-B non-gazetted. No change in the classification to Group-B gazetted has been recommended. This will ensure that the primary demand of senior Supervisors for social status & esteem based on an upward classification from Group-C to Group-B will be fulfilled. Organisationally also, as the relative hierarchical structure is maintained and as the existing classification of Group-B gazetted will still be clearly distinguishable from Group-B non-gazetted in field working, there is likely to be minimal disruption of the command-and-control structure.

1.8 While one major grievance of senior supervisors will be significantly addressed due to this re-classification to Group-B (albeit with non-gazetted categorization rather than gazetted as they would have ideally preferred); without improved promotional prospects, such re- classification would only shift stagnation from one classification nomenclature (Group-C) to the other (Group-B non-gazetted). This, coupled with the strong reservations expressed by several stakeholders on the present written-examination based promotional system to Group-B, leads the Committee to propose a modification to the existing promotional system. The Committee accordingly proposes that promotion to Group-B gazetted (Asst. Officers) be substantially, if not exclusively, from the re-classified senior eligible Group-B non-gazetted (Level-7) supervisors through a DPC. A DPC-based promotional system would bring the same in line with the system followed in other Ministries/Departments. If considered necessary, an additional requirement of a qualifying paper (to those eligible for DPC consideration) could be prescribed. In case an LDCE stream is still considered essential to be retained, the Committee proposes that the percentage reserved for this be reduced from the existing 30% to not more than 15%. The Committee also recommends that any written paper (be it of qualifying level for DPC-eligible candidates or for the LDCE) be set centrally. This will not only ensure full credibility but also indirectly ensure scheduling & the timely conduct of the promotional exercise over all Zones/PUs.

1.9 For feasible implementation of the proposed re-classification, the Committee has set out certain corollary steps that need to be taken. Apart from the suggested modification to the Group-B gazetted promotional process, these include a clear reiteration that the reclassification to Group-B non-gazetted would have no functional impact on existing duties of the post and that entitlements as regards Passes, Rest Houses etc.  would remain the same. On the positive side, Allowances such as PLB, ALK, OT, Workshop Incentive, Breakdown Allowance etc., wherever admissible, would continue to be paid. Eligibility to participate in activities of recognized Trade Unions wuld also continue. On D&A powers, the Committee recommends that consequent on the re-classification, powers of imposing stiff major penalty (Compulsory Retirement, Removal and Dismissal) be shifted upwards from Branch Officers to SAG officers, with other D&A powers continuing to rest with Controlling Officer/Branch Officers, as at present.

1.10 The Committee also points out that classification to Group-B brings its own set of costs as well. DoP&T Rules for instance, stipulate minimum residency period of 6 years for promotion from Level-5 to Level-6 and 5 years from Level-6 to Level-7. Promotions to these grades presently suffer from no such high residency limitations within the Railways, as these are in Group-C where Recruitment Rules are made in-house. With re-classification of Level- 7 to Group-B non-gazetted, the Recruitment Rules will have to be framed and notified in consultation with DoP&T, UPSC and M/o Law. Further, with a relatively large number of categories being re-classified (within each Department, there are several streams of Supervisors), the framing and notifying of RRs would necessarily take time and effort.

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