No plan to cut jobs: Railways

Picture used for representation. Photo credit: PTI

Amid speculation that the Indian Railways will announce compulsory retirement to reduce its staff strength, the national transporter on Tuesday clarified that there were no such plans on the anvil.

The Railways added that letters sent to zonal offices to identify employees above the age of 55 years and those who have completed 30 years in service were for a "routine" performance review.

The clarification came amid speculation that the national transporter was in the midst of compulsorily retiring a large number of its employees.

"Letters have been issued to railway zones/production units merely by way of reiteration to conduct the routine review of the performance of the railway employees in pursuance of service conditions," the Railways said in a statement.

The department clarified that this was an exercise carried out by the administration every year. "Any reference regarding the number of employees being retired under such rules is thus without any substance," it added.

Earlier, the Railway Board in its letter sent to zonal railways on July 27, sought to identify and list the "inefficient" staff, and send it to the headquarters by August 9.

The national transporter has been suffering from poor operating efficiency for the past several years. During the last three years of the previous Modi government, the operating ratio remained above 95%, reaching 98.4% during 2017-18.

Though revenue of the Railways increased for the past several years, the staff expenses and allocation to the pension fund were the biggest head under Railways' expenditures, amounting to 66% of its estimated expenditure.

The Railways has a staff strength of around 13 lakh, and is in the process of recruiting 2.83 lakh personnel in safety and security-related jobs. Between 2014 and 2019, it has recruited 1.84 lakh employees in various categories. Several studies have called for cutting down of the staff strength and adopting technology to improve efficiency.

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