An RTI response has revealed an alarming 2.74 lakh vacant positions within the Indian Railways as of June 2023, with over 1.7 lakh falling under the safety category. The information, provided in reply to RTI activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur from Madhya Pradesh, specifies that the safety category alone constitutes 1,77,924 unfilled positions.
In response to Gaur’s query, the Ministry stated, “The total number of non-gazetted vacant posts, i.e., Group-C (including Level-1) on Indian Railways, as available in this office, as of 01.06.2023 (provisional) is: 2,74,580.”
Additional details from the RTI response disclosed, “The total number of sanctioned, on-roll, and vacant posts in the safety category of Group-C (including Level-1) on Indian Railways, as available in this office, as of 01.06.2023 (provisional), are: 982037, 804113 & 177924 respectively.”
Notably, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had informed Parliament in December 2022 that 3.12 lakh non-gazetted posts were vacant in the Railways. Despite the substantial number of vacancies, the Modi government notified only 5600 positions in January 2024, after six years, leading to widespread dissatisfaction.
In a recent development, hundreds of railway job aspirants staged protests, demanding an increase in the number of loco pilot vacancies. Their discontent stems from the official notification by the Indian Railway Recruitment Board for 5696 assistant loco pilot positions.
Protestors express frustration, arguing that after a six-year gap, the notification falls short of expectations. They anticipated a more significant number of vacancies, given the prolonged wait and the urgent need to address the substantial workforce gap.
Protests in Patna escalated as clashes broke out between police and over 10,000 railway job aspirants participating in the demonstrations. Protestors criticized the government’s decision to release only 5696 assistant loco pilot positions, emphasizing their hope for a more substantial recruitment drive.
Railway job aspirants are indicating their intent to expand protests across Bihar to pressure the BJP-led central government to address their concerns and increase the number of recruitment posts.
This development in the context of job vacancies adds complexity to the ongoing political landscape in Bihar, where the ruling BJP and JD-U are engaged in discussions about cabinet expansion. The discontent among job aspirants highlights broader issues surrounding employment and recruitment policies, potentially impacting the political climate in the region.