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AIRF Meeting with Minister of State for Railways and other Higher Officials

AIRF Meeting with Minister of State for Railways and other Higher Officials – Demanded for scrapping New Pension Scheme

All India Railwaymen’s Federation
4 STATE ENTRY ROAD.
NEW DELHI-110055
INDIA

POINTS RAISED BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY AIRF IN THE MEETING OF HON’BLE Minister of Railways WITH THE GENERAL MANAGERS AND DRMS OF THE INDIAN RAILWAYS ON 19.06.2014 IN RAIL MUSEUM, NEW DELHI

At the outset, while thanking Hon’ble Minister of Railways, Minister of State for Railways, CRB, other Railway Board Members, General Managers, General Secretary AIRF, Shri Shiva Gopal Mishra, raised the issue of digitalisation of records and making all the offices paperless. He also requested Hon’ble Minister of Railways for introduction of such software which can provide all the information pertaining to employees on their mobile phones, particularly balance of leaves, Basic Pay, Dearness Allowance, Travelling Allowance, House Rent Allowance etc. and deduction being made from the salaries of the employees.
He also emphasised the demand for scrapping New Pension Scheme that came into effect from 01.01.2004 with restoration of Old Pension Scheme for all the Railway employees and liberalization of SPAD Clause to minimise stress and strain in the staff in the interest of safety.

1. IMPROVEMENT OF SAFETY ON THE RAILWAYS

(i) Thousands of Railwaymen lay their lives while working round-the-clock 24x7x365 days in all weathers, need a better treatment from the Railways and Government of India. Grievance Handling Machinery, particularly Permanent Negotiating Machinery, has been paralysed. Any grievance raised by a particular staff or union must be resolved within 60 days of raising of the grievance to remove stress of the staff, which is major danger for the safety.
(ii) Special attention to be paid for timely filling up of vacancies in Safety Categories. On account of shortage of manpower, the existing staff are compelled to adopt short-cuts, which is a potential threat to safety.
(iii) Adequate and proper training facilities be made available for skill development and to acquaint the manpower with latest technological development.
(iv) Proper infrastructure for maintenance, both preventive and routine, should be made available with adequate facilities.
(v) The New Pension Scheme, i.e. National Pension Scheme, introduced w.e.f. 01.01.2004, has totally eroded the Social Security, and the staff appointed on or after this crucial date is always afraid about their future, which also diverts their proper attention from their duty.
(vi) The system of induction to erstwhile Group ‘D’ Safety Categories, now in Grade Pay Rs.1800 and classified as Group ‘C’, needs to be de-centralized, and the old system of engagement in the form of Substitutes at the Divisional/Workshop level be restored with the process of sponsoring the names of the candidates by local Employment Exchange etc. with weightage of at least 5% marks to the wards of Railwaymen.
(vii) Modernised Tools and Equipments be made available to the technical staff engaged in maintenance of rolling stock, track, signalling gear etc.
(viii) Operating Staff, assigned the work of train passing duty, particularly on intensively utilised section should not be given additional work like commercial duties etc.
(ix) In the category of Running Staff, both Loco & Traffic, no vacancies should be allowed to continue for a longer period of time.
(x) There should be proper resting facilities at out stations in Running Rooms, including cooking facilities and at home, so that they are not subjected to work without proper rest, which is a potential to endangering the safety.
(xi) Running Staff and the staff engaged in train operations should not be compelled to work longer duty hours, for which adequate manpower be made available.
(xii) There should be no compromise in the standard of the material and components, for which strict quality check be ensured through internal assessment, creating necessary paraphernalia for this purpose. Responsibility must be fixed on any breach to life cycle of the instrument or material.
(xiii) Outsourcing of perennial nature maintenance works in all kinds of rolling stock, track and signalling gears as also the infrastructure should not be resorted to in the larger interest of safe rail operation.
(xiv) Increasing trend of outsourcing is also endangering the safety of rail operation because the contractor not only engages untrained manpower, but also violates the Statutory Rules for contractual labours, viz. not paying legitimate wages, not providing even basic facilities in gross violation of Contract Labour(Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970.
(xv) Low paid contractual labour, engaged in perennial nature of departmental works, is found indulged in theft of railway materials. It was accepted by the them CRB, Shri Vivek Sahai, in PREM Group Meeting at the apex level, that, after the introduction of CST, theft incidents have increased and condition has been deteriorated.
(xvi) Inadequacy of funds for replacement of outdated assets, including rolling stocks, track and signalling gears, is also a major hurdle in safety of rail operation.
(xvii) In the recent days, some of the incidents of fire have caused lots of casualties and given bad name to IR. Previously, there was a separate department of RPF Fire, which used to train the staff and checking fire equipments, had been abolished, leaving Railway System in the hand of private parties, responsible for such incidents. Fire Department in the Railways needs to be restored.
(xviii) Track maintenance and problems in keeping block.
(xix) Scope of the LARSGESS needs to be widened, so that the staff working in Safety Categories, who are unwilling or incapable of working, can seek Voluntary Retirement with simultaneous appointment to their qualified and capable wards with a view to induct the young bloods in the system for better productivity and efficiency.
(xx) Safety Organisation in the Railways is working on ad-hoc basis and those who are rejected in the system are posted there. Safety Counsellors, instead of counselling, do policing and punishing the staff. This mentality needs a change.

2. IMPROVING CLEANLINESS IN THE TRAINS AS WELL AS AT STATIONS

In our opinion, two types of action plan are required to be framed
(A) EFFORTS TO BE MADE BY THE RAILWAYS
(i) Latest Mechanised Cleaning System needs to be introduced departmentally with adequate material, tools and plants and imparting proper training to the staff for their effective use.
(ii) Toilets in the trains be modernised and converted to bio-toilets to make them eco-friendly.
(iii) Cleaning of toilets and fioors of train compartment be done at regular interval on some identified stations, for which sufficient manpower with materials, equipment etc. be made available.
(iv) In case of outsourcing of cleaning system, both trains and stations, the contractor, when allotted the works, complies with the terms and conditions of the contract for a short duration of time and subsequently withdraws manpower as provided for in the agreement, and the quality gradually gets deteriorated on this account. The contractual manpower engaged by the contractor, on account of being untrained, low paid and inconsistent, are incapable of maintaining quality of cleaning on, both at the stations and the trains.
(v) Paucity of funds is another major factor in non-maintaining of proper cleanliness.
(vi) Rail users are also required to be trained through display of pamphlets, posters, documentaries, exhibitions, play/drama/Nukkad Nataks etc., not to spread garbage/wastage etc. everywhere, viz. in the compartment, on railway platform, trains, tracks etc. to maintain cleanliness and for its proper monitoring CCTVs/Cameras may be installed in train compartments and on railway stations.
(vii) Rail users should also be counselled for using the toilets etc. in proper manner.
B. (i) Some Statutory Provisions be made to impose some fine on misuse of toilets, spreading garbage/wastage in the train compartments, rail platform and railway tracks etc. on the pattern of Metro Rail.
(ii) Proper system for monitoring violation of the above-mentioned Statutory Rules be introduced and ensured.
3. IMPROVING CATERING SERVICES ON INDIAN RAILWAYS
(i) Owing to Railways’ accountability for serving proper quality of meals, only Departmentally- run Catering System needs to be restored.
(ii) To provide proper quality meals, snacks, breakfast etc. onboard, fully equipped and modernised Departmental Base Kitchens need to be established at major stations with sufficient manpower and proper infrastructure.
(iii) Strict quality check, right from raw-material to finished product, needs to be ensured.
(iv) Onboard service of edible items be assigned to departmental workforce only.
(v) Staff hygiene and their upkeep with proper uniform also need to be ensured.
(vi) Staff should be provided with adequate and proper quality equipments and utensils for hassle- free onboard service.
(vii) No outsourcing should be resorted to in the interest of quality and standard of catering services.

4. IMPROVING THE PUNCTUALITY OF THE TRAINS

The factors affecting punctuality can be broadly divided into two major groups
(A) REASONS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE RAILWAYS
(i) inadequacy of trained manpower in Running, Operational and Maintenance Categories.
(ii) lmproper quality of materials, leading to in-service failure.
(iii) Compelled short-cuts in working owing to shortage of manpower etc.
(iv) Over-utilization of rolling stock and tracks beyond optimum capacity.
(v) Non-provision of proper maintenance corridor, resulting in line failures.
(vi) Longer hours of duty of Running Staff and Operating Staff.
(vii) Dual System of Law Enforcement Machinery, i.e. GRP and RPF.
(viii) Old aged signalling system needs to be replaced by modernised latest signalling.
(ix) Single traction system, i.e. either diesel or electric sometimes also leads to loss of punctuality on account of line failure, as such introduction of dual traction system may be introduced.
(B) REASONS ATTRIBUTABLE TO RAIL USERS
(i) Frequent Alarm Chain Pulling(ACP) without any valid reason, resulting in remarkable loss in
running time of trains.
(ii) Non-provision of strict Statutory Rules against misuse of ACP System etc. and non
enforcement of existing rules.
(iii) Unauthorised trespassing of tracks and level crossing gates.
(iv) Overloading by the contractors, in case of leased brake-van etc.
(v) En-route violence by the unsocial elements travelling in the trains.
(vi) Dislocation of train services in terrorist affected areas.

5. IMPROVEMENT IN SERVICES RELATED TO RESERVATIONS, TICKETING ETC.

(i) Departmental PRS need to be streamlined and strengthened by providing adequate and modern equipments with trained manpower.
(ii) Timely replacement of outdated and condemned equipments etc. be ensured.
(iii) Mis-utilization of manpower in other than the assigned duties of the Reservation and Booking Staff needs to be curbed.
(iv) UTS needs to be augmented so as to create this facility on all the railway station for smooth issuing of tickets to the travelling public.
(v) Check and balance to be maintained on e-ticketing system to prevent misappropriation etc.
(vi) Smart Card System be introduced to avoid long queues on booking windows.
(vii) Credit/Debit Card System may be thought of for issue of Reserved and Unreserved ticket.
(viii) Token System with Display Board be introduced in the PRS on all important and major stations to avoid longer queues and stress on the ticket issuing staff.
6. CAPACITY ENHANCEMENT ON INDIAN RAILWAYS
(i) In the present resource constraints, double-decker passenger trains with Light Weight Bogie need to be introduced in all Mail, Express, Superfast, Passenger Trains.
(ii) For day-service trains, coaches having larger sitting capacity be utilised in place of conventional passenger coaches, for which, coaches of Jan Shatabadi Trains and Double Decker Trains would be most suitable.
(iii) For enhancement of freight loading capacity, new designs of wagons, having larger loading capacity need to be introduced.
(iv) Automatic Signalling System be introduced on all major routes to facilitate operation of more and more number of trains on the existing tracks.
(v) The length of the Mail, Express, Superfast trains may be further augmented with additional coaches.
(vi) Adequate number of Unreserved Express Trains, with newly designed coaches with sitting arrangement, be run on all major routes to cater the requirement of the poor people of the country.
(vii) Rather than providing Luggage Van in all passenger train services, separate Parcel Trains be introduced and the Luggage Van be replaced with Passenger Coaches for ordinary unreserved passengers.
7. PRIORITIZATION OF PROJECTS AND RATIONALISATION OF FUNDING
(i) Allocation of funds should be given priority for those projects which are near completion so that the money already invested in the projects can be made effective use of on early completion of the same.
(ii) Projects of national interest still need to be given emphasis in view of national integrity and fulfilment of the aspirations of the people of the isolated areas.
(iii) Keeping in view the large-number of accidents occurring on manned-unmanned level crossings, ROBs and RUBs be given priority, which would not only help averting accidents but also save remarkable amount of revenue.

8. INNOVATIVE METHODS FOR ENHANCING THE EARNING AND FUNDING OF NEW PROJECTS

(i) Improper ticket checking system, due to shortage of checking staff, causes heavy financial loss to the Railways in the form of ticketless/irregular travelling.
(ii) Upgradation system of reserved accommodation is also not working well insofar as improvement in the railway earning is concerned.
(iii) Rationalisation of passenger fare with realistic approach is of utmost importance.
(iv) Useless wastage of money on the works executed without perspective and foresightness needs to be checked and accountability be ensured.
(v) Unwarranted for procurement also needs to be checked.
(vi) Timely disposal of surplus and condemned materials needs to be ensured.
(vii) Uncalled for intensive use of government vehicle needs to be checked.
(viii) Excessive misuse of manpower needs to be affectively curbed.
(ix) Freight Booking System needs to be modernised and upgraded to make it user-friendly.
(x) Undesired works in the name of beautification at the cost of safety need to be stopped.

9. REDUCTION IN EXPENDITURE ON INDIAN RAILWAYS

(i) Unnecessary movement of managerial staff with the Saloon/RA should be minimised.
(ii) Foreign tours in the name of training to those staff and officers, particularly on the on the verge of retirement need to be stopped.
(iii) Musical Chair System on the posts of JAG and above be stopped.
(iv) Bungalow Peon System needs to be abolished.
(v) Proper utilization of surplus railway land be ensured.
(vi) Railways’ buildings need to be utilised for advertisement panels of reputed enterprises.

10. SPEEDING UP OF DECISION MAKING ON INDIAN RAILWAYS

(i) As already announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, there is urgent need of speeding the decision making, for which paperless system, e-governance would be effective tools.
(ii) The authority to take decision in a particular matter should be widely known and on the pattern of Single Window System.
(iii) Decision in the particular case be ensured in maximum three layers.
(iv) There should not be diversified responsibility in decision making.
(v) Decentralisation of powers in case of decision making.

Source : AIRF

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