'Promotion scam' in railways

'Promotion scam' in railways

A major irregularity in promotions in two secretarial services in the Railway Board has come to light.

Some railway ministry officials have been found promoting officials in the two lesser-known services of the railways -- Railway Board Secretariat Service (RBSS) and Railway Board Secretariat Clerical Service (RBSCS) -- without following due procedures and bypassing Union Cabinet's jurisdiction, official sources said.

Officials were being promoted to Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) and Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) by bypassing Group 'A' Railway Services like Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineer (IRSME), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) and even the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) without their having put a minimum of about 16 years of service, they said.

HAG and SAG is given to an Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary level officer, respectively.

At present, an officer belonging to Central Secretariat Service (CSS) is being normally given SAG after completion of an average of 23 years of service, Group A railway service officer after 23 years and an IAS officer after putting in 20 years of service, the sources said.

A number of officials were being given SAG grade in RBSS, despite they being recruited in group 'B' service, without following necessary requirement, they said.

Terming it as a "serious lapse", the Finance Ministry has recently written to railways to "revoke" its decision for promoting these officials, orders for which were issued almost a year ago.

In a missive, the Department of Expenditure under the Finance Ministry noted that "while conducting the cadre restructuring of RBSS and RBSCS, the Ministry of Railways did not refer the matter to this department for approval and rather created five additional SAG level posts without the approval of the Cabinet".

"This is a serious lapse on the part of officers responsible to place the factual position and rules and regulations before the decision-making authorities," it said in a strongly-worded official memorandum to the railways.

As per rules, approval of the Finance Minister is required for creation of posts below SAG level and for creating Joint Secretary and other posts above the level, approval of the Union Cabinet is required.

"It may be pertinent to mention that there are financial implications in a cadre review for which it becomes necessary to seek concurrence of the Department of Expenditure (DoE). The Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) has been apprised earlier also about this," the communication said.

The DoE cited another instance where the Railway Board has sought its concurrence for conducting in-house exercise of cadre restructuring of Group 'C' and 'D' employees in the Ministry of Railways.

While conveying the approval then for in-house cadre restructuring of Group 'C' employees, "the Ministry of Railways was categorically informed that cadre reviews covering Group 'A' and 'B' services would continue to be referred to this ministry," the missive said.

It is pertinent to mention that these officers of RBSS and RBSCS are responsible for cadre management of Group 'A' officers in the railways.

RBSS and RBSCS employees, about 500 in number, act as general administration staff in the railways ministry which has about 13 lakh employees -- both gazetted and non-gazetted.

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