Indian Railways Current Affairs - 2020

All new Railway recruits to be inducted through UPSC civil services exams

The Railway board has now decided that all new recruits in railways will be inducted through UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) Civil Services Exams under five specialities. The decision comes days after the Union Cabinet approved big ticket reforms in the railways by merging its eight cadres and departments services into one single entity- the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS). This decision to merge services was to ensure that officers put railways first instead of their service which had become the case under present system.

Key Highlights of Changes

Now just like UPC aspirants, the candidates aspiring to get into Indian Railways will have to appear for their UPSC prelims after which they will indicate their preference for IRMS under 5 specialties– four of them will be engineering specialities (including that of stores (department)) for ‘technical’ operations comprising of civil, mechanical, electrical and telecom, and one ‘non-technical’ speciality (or non-engineering) that will be recruiting officers for personnel, traffic and accounts. For non-engineering specialisations, anyone can come from humanities side will be utilised for manning accounts, traffic and personnel service. All of them will be promoted at the same time.

Moreover, the Chairman of Railway Board, who will also be CEO of national transporter, will be an officer of Indian Railway Service and not from any other service. Also, officers from Indian Railways who have experience of 35 yrs will only be posted as Chairman/CEO. The Chairman shall be cadre controlling officer responsible for Human Resources (HR) with assistance from DG (HR).

Railway Board Composition: With new changes, the Chairman along with 4 members responsible for infrastructure, operations & business development, finance and rolling stock respectively will form Railway Board. The Board will also have some independent non-executive members. They will be highly distinguished professionals with 30 years of experience including at top levels in finance, economics, management and industry fields and thus will help Railway Board in setting a strategic direction. These independent members will be available during Board meetings but not involved with day to day running of railways.

Three apex level posts shall be surrendered from Railway Board and all its remaining posts shall be open to all officers regardless of service to which they belonged. The railways assured that it will try to ‘pull up’ those officers who are lagging behind instead of ‘pulling down’ those who are ahead in their careers.

Oxygen Parlour opened at Nashik Railway Station to combat Air Pollution

In a unique initiative to battle rising air pollution in cities, Indian Railways has opened an ‘Oxygen Parlour’ at Nashik railway station in Maharashtra. The initiative seeks to provide an experience of breathing clean air to the commuters.

About ‘Oxygen Parlour’

It has been set up by Indian Railways in collaboration with Airo Guard, a one of the leading consultancies in field of plant nurseries based in Nashik. The objective behind setting up Parloue is to expand this initiative to every railway station as well as every home.

There are nearly 1500 plants in Oxygen Parlour, so, these plants can directly and effectively bring down the pollution in the air at the railway station and allow the people to breathe cleaner air.

Concept: The concept of Oxygen Parlour is based on recommendation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1989, NASA had conducted a study in which they identified some plants that better absorb the 5 most harmful pollutants from air. It is these plants which have been mostly planted in the Parlour as they can clean the air in an area of 10X10 feet around them.