Amid COVID-19 pandemic Railways mulling massive job cut; to abolish over 13000 posts, CPI(M) objects to it
According to sources, the lay-off process is based on the job census that was carried out by the Ministry. The Railways wants to introduce new technology which old employees aren't capable of handling
At a time when the country is facing the most devastating pandemic of the century, the Indian Railways – which is the largest job provider – is planning to abolish over 13000 posts, NH has learnt.
Sources in the ministry told NH that the lay-off process is based on the job census that was carried out by the Ministry. The rationale behind lay-off, as per the source, is that the Railways wants to introduce new technology which old employees are not capable of handling.
According to sources, the Ministry has asked each Railway Zone to surrender a certain number of posts so that new vacancies could be generated. It is learned that though some Unions which are in the know of the development, have opposed the idea, the department has already started identifying the posts.
“Some of them were planning to stage protests but due to the lockdown or curfew as the government likes to call it, and due to rising cases of COVID 19, they (unions) had to withdraw the plan for the agitation,” said the source.
It is worth mentioning here that as per the data obtained from the Annual Report (Salaries and Allowances) released by the Central Government on 01-03-2019 itself, there were about 2,85,258 vacancies in the Railways. As per an estimate, currently there are about 400000 vacant posts in the Railways. However, there seems to be no plan in place to fill the vacant posts, despite unemployment in India reaching 7.11 percent which is the highest in the last 30 years.
Opposing the plan to abolish over 13000 posts, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Elamaram Kareem has urged the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to stop the “labour census and abolition of posts”.
Urging the minister to “fill all existing vacancies on a wartime basis and also to ensure smooth and safe operation of Railways” Kareem in a strong-worded letter to the Minister Goyal said, “This would certainly affect the smooth functioning of Railways and can lead to the complete destruction of its robust network in the near future”.
Asking the Central government to learn from the Kerala government which is mulling to start a recruitment drive, Kareem advised, “Government of India and Railways should consider this policy of the Kerala Government as a role model and start working on that line to address the issue of unemployment which has increased due to COVID.”
According to official records, as many as 2,500 Railways workers have died of COVID-19 so far, and nearly 1,000 railway workers are being affected with COVID every day. However, an unofficial estimate suggests that the number of those who succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic is far higher than claimed by the Ministry.