American consultancy firm Deloitte has begun assessing the staff strength of Indian Railways to understand whether the national transporter requires any reduction in its work force.
The United States-based company is currently reviewing number of people required in gazetted level services. The Railways has over 13 lakh employees in various departments.
About 18,000 gazetted officers are serving in categories ‘A’ and ‘B’ jobs. The scope of the assessment being carried out by the consultancy points to the possibility of reduction in the strength because the firm has been asked to study such factors which impact the workload. These areas include technological advancements and outsourcing.
According to high-level sources, the consultancy has been given the task of “studying” technological inputs and advancements made in each department. Likewise, it would be “studying reduction of workload on account of each department”. In recent years, the Railways have outsourced many of its activities.
The task which is aimed at rationalisation of manpower includes suggesting policies to determine “optimum intake” in various jobs. The company will be submitting its report by March 31, 2016.
“The ministry has hired the company through competitive bidding, and reputed companies including PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Ernst and Young,” Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena.
The exercise gained momentum after the recommendations of Bibek Debroy Committee on Restructuring of Railways. The panel had recommended rationalisation of workforce, regrouping of cadres and disbandment of wings which are involved in non-core activities. It also recommended disbandment of Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the health services.
Debroy Committee has also recommended large scale outsourcing in non-core activities.
Both officers and the trade unions are opposed to recommendations the panel. Trade union leaders Raghaviah (NFIR) and Shivgopal Mishra have declared war against them. However, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has been maintaining that Railways is not considering any reduction in the number of employees.