Wrong implementation of Optimization Policy (2001-2009) by Railway Board
Calculation of Rs. 18,590 was introduced secretly to give undue benefit to promotee officers while fixing inter-se seniority
The page of calculation of Rs. 18,590 was not signed by any Railway authority and this is nowhere mentioned in note
Railway Board has arbitrarily assigned 5 years anti-dating seniority to all promotee officers with basic pay exceeding Rs. 18,590
The Government, on the recommendation of Department of Expenditure, issued a policy for 'Optimization of direct recruitment to civilian posts' vides DOPT O.M. No. 2/8/2001-PIC dated 16.05.2001.
As per this policy Fresh recruitment was to be curtailed to 1/3rd of vacancies arising for direct recruitment i.e. through UPSC, State PSC, SSC, RRB etc and rest 2/3rd posts were to be abolished each year. The purpose was reducing the strength of all government departments by 3% every year. As per the provisions of the policy remaining posts should have been abolished.
This policy existed for 9 years between the exam year 2002 -2010. Therefore as per the policy, Railway should have reduced its Group ‘A’ cadre strength by 3% annually and by the end of the year, 2010 total Group ‘A’ cadre strength should have reduced to 18%.
However, as per RTI reply, Railway accepted that no Group ‘A’ posts were abolished during optimization period.
Now the question arises what happened to 18% Group ‘A’ posts that have saved due to 2/3rd curtailment of Direct Recruits Quota between years 2002-2010?
These posts were kept vacant and the vacuum generated by these vacancies have been utilized for accommodating larger batches of promotee officers in future years due to weightage rule.
Railway Board’s letter no. E(O)I/2013/SR-6/7PT dated 24.04.2017 states that the 2/3rd curtailed vacancies of Direct Recruits for years 2002, 2003 and 2004 were treated as backlog vacancies and these vacancies were carry forwarded and added with the indent of 2007. Similar exercises had been done again and again in later years.
Comments of outside agencies on above promotional irregularities
1. DOPT sought clarification from the ministry of Railway for work charge posts and maintaining 1:1 ratio between direct and promotee officers.
2. The 7th Central Pay Commission has taken cognizance of the irregularities and anomalous induction of large numbers of promotee officers in Group 'A' Indian Railway services. 7th CPC in para 11.40.45 recommended that-
"Accordingly, we recommend that Ministry of Railways should set up an expert body comprising HR, Law and Technical experts of at least Joint Secretary Level, to examine the entire issue de novo."
3. The Indian Railways, through RVNL, has engaged Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLP to carry out a study of the Indian Railways Organization. The committee has found various anomalies in Group 'A' recruitment. In para 19 of executive summary has observed-
"However, in reality, the ratio of 50:50 was not maintained and the number of promotees was far in excess of the number of Direct recruits."
Para 20: "from 2006 to 2012, the numbers of retirements were 1714. During the same period, 4367 officers were inducted into the eight organized services through a mix of direct recruitment and promotions."
Observation of High Court, Patna
Para 20 of said order is reproduced here as under-
“Another serious anomaly we find from the respondent’s action is that while the ratio described for Direct Recruits and the promotees is 50:50, they have over the years inducted promotees about three times the number of direct recruits. In the representation before the chairman, Railway Board, the applicant has shown that from the year 2001 to 2007 against 95 directs recruits, 376 promotees have been inducted. The chairman, Railway Board has justified this on the ground that as per the government instructions, direct recruitment was curtailed to one-third for those years. Such government instructions cannot alter the basic principle of the laid down ratio between Direct Recruits and promotees. If downsizing was the objective, this has to be done keeping the ratio between Direct Recruits and promotees intact. To that extent, their decision runs counter to the underlying philosophy of N. R. Parmar case judgment.”
Important information through RTI
As per office note, the following procedures had been adopted for enhancement of 720 JTS cadre strength from 720 to 1647.
1. It is stated that “in the calculation of 720 JTS cadre strength, direct recruits of 3 batches work in junior scale and then promoted to senior scale but group ‘B’ officers get promoted to senior scale in a maximum of one year”. Therefore total JTS cadre strength of 720 was divided into 3:1 ratio (540 DR and 180 PQ) between Direct Recruits and Promotees.
2. While enhancing JTS cadre strength from 180 to 255, Railway took 4 years (Exam year from 1997 to 2000) data for Direct Recruits quota along with one year (the Exam year 2000) data of promotee quota to prepare the final indent. That means the ratio between DR and PQ was changed to 4:1 instead of 3:1 wrongly.
To justify above ratio, Railway Board in office noting wrote-
“As direct recruits take 4 years to leave junior scale while in respect of group ‘B’ officers it can be taken as the maximum of one year.”
As per DOPT’s guidelines, the Probationary reserve posts have been separately allocated to Ministries/Departments and Railways is one of the ministries where probationary reserve posts have been provided separately.
3. Railway Board increases cadre strength data in name of the equitable tradeoff between DQ and PQ and used 4:1 ratio instead of 3:1 to get the DPC of promotee officers cleared from UPSC. Due to this calculation, the revised cadre strength 1273 is now divided into 5 parts, such that PQ gets 255 posts from it. (Para 4 and 4.1 of office note of advisor (staff) dated 10.03.2005).
4. As per remark of EDE/GC, indent for the vacancy year 2005-06 had already sent to UPSC. But advisor (staff) directed EDE/GC to prepare a fresh indent of the year 2005-06 based upon revised cadre strength. (Remark of EDE/GC and Advisor (staff) dated. 21.04.2005).
5. After this Indian Railway Promotee Officers' Federation (IRPOF) requested to divide the revised cadre strength 1273 along DQ and PQ on basis of 50:50 ratios and also demanded to increase the PQ to 635. For this, IRPOF requested Railway Board to use the ratio 3:1 in spite of 4:1, so that PQ gets raised from 255 to 318. (Para 4 of office note dated 20.02.2006).
6. On demand of IRPOF, AM(staff) changed the ratio from 4:1 to 3:1 by quoting the examples of Department of Telecom, CPWD and Indian Revenue Services in the remark. Thereafter PQ gets increased slot of 318.
7. AM(Budget) by the last para of office note dated 18/07.04.2006, also accepted the fast of ratio change.
8. Chairman Railway Board (CRB) supported the ratio change and approval it by giving a remark that it will improve the promotional opportunity of group ‘B’ officers. (P: 15).
9. In the same year, IRPOF again requested Railway Board to increase the Junior Scale cadre strength from 1273 to 1647. In light of this proposal, Railway Board combined the leave reserve (LR) vacancies to Junior Scale cadre strength such that revised cadre strength became 1647 in place of 1273.
Since leave reserve (LR) quota in Railways created for deputation, training and study leave. However, Railway Board added these LR vacancies to Junior Scale.
Fixation of ante-dating seniority on basis of wrong calculation of connotation of pay rules):
There is complete arbitrariness in calculating the weightage to be given for the years of service connoted by the initial payment to promotee officers on promotion to class 1 service. After implementation of the six pay commission, the pay would be basic pay plus grade pay.
Year wise basic pay drawn by a Group ‘A’ officer in pay band III (Rs. 15600-39100) after 6th pay commission is as follow-
As grade pay is part of pay, hence only these officers whose basic pay is more than Rs. 26,320 can be given 5 years seniority as per this rule. Whereas Railway Board has arbitrarily assigned 5 years anti-dating seniority to all promotee officers with basic pay exceeding Rs. 18,590.
This has resulted in all officers erroneously getting 5 years retrospective seniority as per Rule 334(2) (ii)(a) irrespective of the actual experience.
The page of calculation of Rs. 18,590 was not signed by any Railway authority and Rs. 18,590 nowhere mentioned in notice note.
Therefore it shows that this calculation of Rs. 18,590 was introduced secretly to give undue benefit to promotee officers while fixing inter-se seniority.