Group A RPF Officers Praise 7th CPC for Suggesting Parity of Their Operations with Railway Services
Seventh Pay Commission may be bringing happiness for almost every government employee, but it seems like the most desperately waiting officers for its implementation are Group A officers, thanks to a whole lot of “goodies” it’ll bring to them. A few days earlier we heard that government has told Cabinet Secretariat and DoPT to ensure empanelment of Group A officers for important posts in key departments, and now another good news has come out for them. This time news is for Group A officers of Railway Protection Force (RPF). Next commission may bring them something for which they’ve been fighting from a long time – parity with other “Group A” services in Railways. In short, their outsider status is about to come to an end.
While role of RPF in operations of Railways isn’t hidden from anyone, it should come as a surprise to many of you that they’re not considered a part of Indian Railways. Yes – despite their active involvement in day-to-day operations of Railways they’re considered outsiders, thanks to the choice of previous governments, who didn’t allow their services to be paired with the services of Railways. They’re treated as part of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) – not under Railway Board.
This unnecessary partition has almost always created challenges for operations of both departments. For example, a key challenge is frequency of transfers – while Group A officers of Railways aren’t transferred anywhere for initial 15 years, RPF officers of same cadre get transferred 8-10 times in same duration. This, and many other things too, make it tough for two departments to work together in a synergized manner.
Due to these reasons RPF officers have been demanding parity with other Railway services from a long time. However, it’s now that their hard work has paid off. In one of its recommendations to government 7th CPC has suggested that bracketing RPF with CAPFs seems erroneous and they should be treated as Railway officers under the control of Railway Board instead. And as expected, this recommendation has earned the praise of RPF Officers around the country. Hailing the recommendation, many of them recently said that once implemented, this new change will eliminate many unnecessary challenges that exist as of now, thus resulting in more streamlined and efficient operations of Railways.
It’s worth pointing out that not just operations but even recruitment of RPF officers was linked to the recruitment of other Railway officers – they’re recruited along with officers of other three Group A Railway services through a common Civil Services examination conducted by UPSC. The only unlinked part was their control, which had been given to CAPFs.