New Delhi, March 31 (Times of India): Over 2.8 crore (28 million) people will take the online examination for nearly 90,000 jobs offered by the railways in what is being touted as as the world’s largest recruitment exercise. In fact, the number of applicants for the scarce government jobs may rise further before the deadline comes to an end today. Around 20,000 more positions are likely to be offered by the railways next month, taking the total number of jobs to 1.1 lakh.
Indian Railways, the country’s biggest public sector employer with around 13 lakh staff, has invited applications for 26,502 posts of assistant loco pilots (train divers), technicians, carpenters and crane drivers among others in Level 2 of the 7th Pay Commission. The transporter also advertised 62,907 vacancies for gangmen, switchmen, trackmen, cabinmen, welders, helpers and porters in Level 1 of the 7th pay panel.
The move to provide jobs to around one lakh youths – high school graduates or those having an Industrial Training Institute (ITI)) or equivalent certificate – was necessitated because the railways could not swiftly fill up vacancies, which arose in the last couple of years due to its focus on cost cutting and a sharp jump in wage bill because of the 7th Pay Commission.
Railway minister Piyus Goyal’s plan to strengthen safety, in the light of a series of derailments, is also a factor. The minister, who has trimmed the railway board by half, is said to have backed massive hiring as part of his plan to “right-size” the railways, which has been dubbed “top-heavy.”
The offer of jobs on such a large scale has also been seen as part of a political plan to blunt the opposition’s criticism that enough jobs were not being created by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sources in the ministry justify the hirings by citing “sheer need.”
(The featured image at the top shows a jam-packed Indian suburban train)