Indian Railways

Is India's largest employer Indian Railways planning a massive job cut? In a letter to all the zonal managers, the Ministry of Railways has asked them to review the performance of every employee in respective zones. Moreover, the ministry has asked zonal managers to identify employees above the age of 55 years and those who have completed 30 years in service in the first quarter of 2020. The communication was sent on July 27 and the ministry has given time to all the zone to revert by August 9.

Four factors will become the basis of the performance review of railway employee including physical fitness, mental fitness, attendance, and discipline. According to the railways' provision, if the performance of employees is not found satisfactory, they could be given premature retirement. The development took a controversial turn with the report of massive job cuts making rounds in media.

Indian railways
Secunderabad-Mumbai Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Terminus AC Duronto Inagural Spacial Express.Wikimedia Commons

Later on Tuesday evening, the Ministry of Railways clarified that the exercise is just a routine performance review of its employees under the Railway Establishment Code. The railways further asserted that a performance review by the administration is necessary for "public interest". In a statement, railways said, "Letters have been issued to railway zones/production units merely by way of reiteration to conduct the routine review of the performance of the railway employees in pursuance of service conditions."

"It is a routine exercise which is required to be conducted by the administration in public interest and the same has been conducted in previous years as well. Any reference regarding the number of employees being retired under such rules is thus without any substance," the statement further added. During the period of 2014-2019, the Railways recruited around 1,84,262 employees in various categories. Additionally, the recruitment for another 2,83,637 staffers is under process and examinations have already been conducted for 1,41,060 posts. The entire process is expected to over within two months. In this year's Union budget, Railways was allotted Rs 65,837 crore and the highest ever outlay for capital expenditure amounting to Rs 1.60 lakh crore. The amount is higher in comparison to last years' allocation where it received Rs 55,088 crore and outlay was Rs 1.48 lakh.