Railway Board Current Affairs - 2020

New Name for Mumbai Central Station: Nana Shankarseth

On March 12, 2020, the Maharashtra Cabinet approved the proposal to rename Mumbai Central Station to Nana Shankarseth. The approved proposal is to be sent to Ministry of Railways. It is the Central Railways operating under Ministry of Railways that has the final say in the name change.

Procedure and Authority of name change

It is the state Government that usually initiates the process of name change of Railway Station. This is usually done to change the British name of the station to the local pronunciations. It is also done to honour a local leader. There are no rules or procedure by law or in constitution for the name change of the station.

After State Governments initiation with a valid reason, the railway board at the centre submits the memorandum to the Railway minister who authorizes it.

The name change of cities, town or villages should be sent by the State Government to the Home Ministry. Again, it is the Home Ministry that has final say in the name change.

Jagannath Shankarseth

He was a philanthropist and educationalist who lived between 1803 and 1865. He had high credit among Afghans and Arabs that they chose to place their treasure with him rather than the banks. He acquired great fortune from them and donated all to the public.

Along with Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, he launched Indian Railway Association. It was because of his efforts that Railway construction began in India. He initiated proposals and the benefits of Railway construction in the country with the Britishers.

He founded Bombay Association that was the first political organization in Bombay Presidency.

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.