Apprentices' demand not acceptable, Railways clarify
Apprentices demand for appointment in railways without undergoing due recruitment process
Vijayawada: The apprentices, who have undergone training in various railway establishments, are demanding appointment in the railways without undergoing the prescribed recruitment process, namely written test and physical efficiency test that all other candidates are required to undergo as per extant rules.
The Railways in a statement here on Sunday made it clear that this demand is not feasible for acceptance as it is violation of the Constitutional provisions and Apex Court judgment in matters of public employment whereby any employment cannot be provided except through a procedure involving fair selection.
The Indian Railways has been providing training to applicants in designated trades under the provisions of the Apprentices Act since August 1963. These applicants are taken as apprentices based on their academic qualification without any competition or selection. Though the railways were obligated to provide only training to such candidates, those, who completed their training, were being engaged as substitutes against level-1 posts since 2004.
Substitutes are temporary appointees, who can be engaged to meet any exigencies and operational requirements. While such appointees are given benefits due to temporary railway servants, they are not entitled to be absorbed in permanent employment without undergoing due process.
In view of the ongoing transformation of Indian Railways and with a view to bringing fairness, transparency and objectivity in all railway recruitments, the railways centralised the process for all recruitments to level 1 in 2017, which would henceforth be conducted through a common nationwide computer-based test (CBT).
The Apprentices Act was amended in 2014 whereby section 22 of the Act provided that an employer shall formulate a policy for recruiting apprentices trained in its establishment. Pursuant to such amendment, the Indian Railways made a provision to give preference to apprentices trained in railway establishments in open market recruitment to level 1 posts, to the extent of 20% of the posts advertised.
While these apprentices appear for written tests along with other candidates, they are given preference in appointment over others, subject to obtaining minimum qualifying marks and meeting medical standards.
Accordingly, 12,504 Level-1 posts out of 63,202 advertised were earmarked for such candidates in the first common recruitment held in 2018. Similarly, 20,734 Level-1 posts, out of 1,03,769 posts advertised under, have been earmarked for these apprentices. Recruitment for this notification is to be held.