SR: Clarification Regarding RRB Recruitments And Employability Of Apprentices In Railways

In recent times, there have been protests by Railway apprentices in front of Ponmalai workshop seeking permanent jobs in Railways.  It was also alleged that there is discrimination against Tamil Nadu candidates from being recruited for job vacancies existing in Southern Railway.   In light of the issue, the following clarification is issued with a request to print and Electronic media to publish the same in order to clear the misconception in the minds of the public.

Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) function under the Ministry of Railways. There are 21 Railway recruitment Boards situated in different parts of India, Viz., Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Allahabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Bilaspur, Chandigarh, Chennai, Gorakhpur, Guwahati, Jammu & Kashmir, Kolkota, Malda, Mumbai, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Ranchi, Secunderabad, Siliguri and Thiruvananthapuram. The primary responsibility of RRB is to recruit the technical and non-technical working and supervisory staff (Group ‘C’) required for their allotted jurisdictional divisions of the given Railway zone. Applications will be called for by RRBs from the eligible candidates through centralized employment notifications published in the RRB websites and in Employment News.

All the RRBs call for applications for various posts through a common centralized employment notification taking into account all the vacancies that are existing in various zonal Railways and Production Units. At the time of applying for any post, a candidate has the option to choose any of the 21 Railway Recruitment Boards listed above. A candidate is allotted to particular zonal Railway based on the RRB to which he has opted. For example, where a candidate opts for RRB/Chennai at the time of application he is allotted to Railway Divisions of Chennai, Trichy and Salem and Southern Railway Headquarters and ICF to which RRB/Chennai caters to. Once a particular RRB is selected he will not to be able to opt for any other RRB.

On 3-2-2018, Notification CEN No.01/2018 was published by Railway Recruitment Board for the post of Asst Loco Pilot (ALP) and Technicians. This was a common notification that was published by all 21 RRBs for filling the vacancies across various Zonal Railways and Production Units. For the post of Asst.Loco Pilot, candidates with minimum ITI or Diploma or Engineering Degree are eligible and three stages of Computer-based tests were conducted. For the post of Technicians, only ITI certificate holders in the relevant field are eligible and two stages of computer-based tests were conducted. Candidates with Engineering or diploma degree are not eligible for the post of Technicians.

With respect to Notification, CEN No.01/2018 stated above and through which the vacancies of Southern Railway and ICF including GOC workshop is filled up, RRB Chennai has confirmed that of the total candidates applied 51% are from Tamil Nadu. A total of 3218 candidates were selected for the post of ALP and technicians. Of the total selection, 17% are from Tamil Nadu. This is largely due to the fact that most of the candidates are not eligible for the post of technicians as the majority of them are diploma holders or Engineer graduates. Whereas the only qualification required for technicians is ITI. But for the post of ALP, 53% of the candidates selected are from Tamil Nadu

Of the total selected candidates, 541 candidates for Technicians posts were allotted to Ponmalai workshop at Trichy after due process done at Personnel department of Southern Railway Headquarters.

Document Verification:

At Ponmalai Workshop the allotted Candidates were called for Certificate verification from 4.8.2020 onwards. Scrutiny of documents was carried out duly adhering to laid down Safety protocols of social distancing. This procedure of Certificate Verification was scheduled only after the Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines on Unlock-3 effective up to 31.08.2020, according to which there shall be no relaxation for inter-state movement of persons.

The notified candidates arrived at Trichy by flight well ahead of the date scheduled for scrutiny of documents and underwent 14 days mandatory quarantine.  SWAB tests were also taken as per the State’s Safety protocols.  The results of the tests were verified by Railway authorities from Trichy District’s portal https://cv19.microkapv.in/.  The candidates who appeared for Certificate Verification were permitted only if they produced relevant documents in connection with Quarantine, SWAB test results and adherence to all Protocols laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Sample of e pass of two candidates has been submitted to the Collector of Trichy for perusal.

The above points are highlighted to dispel various doubts raised from some sources that Railway administration and candidates who have appeared for document verification have flouted the lockdown norms.

Claims made by Apprentices:

At Ponmalai workshop, while the process of document verification was in progress protest were made by Ex- Act Apprentices who had undertaken apprenticeship training at Railway workshop demanding employment in Railways. It may be noted that Railways engage apprentices in workshops and Production units and impart them technical training with the objective of developing skilled manpower.   Employment in Railways is not guaranteed on completion of Apprenticeship.  However, in 2016 it was decided by Railway Board that 20% of the vacancies in case of direct recruitment to posts in Level-1 shall be filled by giving preference to Course completed Act Apprentices. In pursuant to this new rule, 597 vacancies were earmarked for Apprentices and notified through employment notification no: CEN No: 02/2018. A total of 3627 applications were received from apprentices and 2839 appeared for the Exam. Of the candidates appeared, 272 were shortlisted for Physical Efficiency Test (PET). At the end of the PET, only 54 candidates who had met the minimum qualifying marks were selected against the notified vacancies of 597.

Procedure adopted by RRB:

RRB conducts all their exams in a fair and transparent manner without any bias. There is no manual intervention at any stage starting from the online application stage to conducting computer-based test and evaluation. It is totally a computer-based test and centralized employment notifications are issued on pan India basis and candidates from across the country have the right to choose any specific RRB, amongst the 21 locations, of his choice. RRB carries out the whole process and selects candidates purely based on the merit of the candidates and their eligibility criteria. The computer-based tests are conducted in 15 languages which include Tamil also.

It may be also be pointed out that there are no reservations in any RRB based on the origin of state or state of residence. The candidates belonging to Tamilnadu have not only opted for RRB/Chennai but also to various RRBs. For example, in the notifications issued during the last few years about 2.2 lakh candidates from Tamilnadu opted for and applied for RRB/Bengaluru which caters to South Western Railway.

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