Railway Board Current Affairs - 2020

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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.

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Modernization of signaling systems in Indian Railways

On December 23, 2019, Ministry of Railways announced that Indian Railways is set to receive modern signaling systems. According to the ministry, it is one of the most ambitious projects of Indian Railways. This is because the project improves safety, line capacity allowing trains to run at higher speeds.

Highlights

The plan will be implemented after approval from NITI Aayog, CCEA (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs) and Extended Board of Railways. The cost of implementation of the programme is estimated to be Rs 77,912 crores and has been included in Works Programme.

The work includes Automatic Train Protection System, Electronic Interlocking System, Remote Diagnostic and Predictive Maintenance System, Centralized Traffic Control System and Train Management System.

The modernization work is to be implemented in 640 routes. RailTel will be the nodal agency to implement the project on behalf of Indian Railways.

Modernization

The Automatic Train Protection system includes systems that check speed of train, automatic stops, and activates emergency brakes. The Centralised Traffic Control System controls rail interlockings. In this system, all the signal locations are integrated at a single location. This increases the efficiency of operation of railway within an operating territory.

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