Union Minister Piyush Goyal has proposed a higher rank and pay scale for Railway general managers, making them equivalent to secretaries in the Central government and at par with the state chief secretaries, a source in the ministry said.
This is a second time in three years that a railway minister has made such a proposal for zonal GMs, the last being a letter from the then minister Suresh Prabhu who had suggested the same in a letter to the pay commission in 2015.
As a part of a major restructuring in railways, Goyal has readied a proposal in which he has suggested a string of administrative changes one of which is the introduction of a post in the Railway Board to exclusively focus on safety issues of the national transporter, along with the upgradation of the post of the zonal GMs, sources said.
Goyal has proposed that GMs, who are each responsible for one of the 16 zones of the Indian Railways, should now have the rank of state chief secretaries and director general of police.
Currently, they are ex-officio special secretary rank officers.
“This would ensure better coordination between departments — states and zonal railways as the top officials in state (the Chief Secretary) and the Zonal Railways (the GMs) would be of the same rank as the rank of secretaries to the Union government.
“Often the GMs whose jurisdiction spreads across states have to deal with the chief secretaries and we believe that they should be at par for them to work out issues,” said the source, explaining the need for the change in rank.
The source also pointed out that currently with the GMs at a lower rank than the chief secretaries, a lot of issues which should have been resolved at the zonal level gets bumped to the Board level for resolution. With the GMs at par with the states’ topmost bureaucrat, he said, operational issues would be resolved in the field itself.
The proposal as of now is ready for inter-ministerial consultations and once that is completed will be sent to Cabinet for the approval, the source said.
Such a demand for a bump in rank and salary for GM as well as the Chairman Railway Board had been made earlier as well by the Board, but with back-to-back endorsement from two union ministers, the bureaucracy is hopeful of some good news.