New Delhi: More than 82 lakh candidates – either graduates or post graduates in engineering, science, arts, commerce and management, among others – have applied to become track-men, khalasi or helpers in the Indian Railways.
While nearly two crore applications were received by the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) for the 62,907 jobs in the Level-1 or Group D category in the Railways, 1,88,721 candidates were called for a physical efficiency test.
Level-1 jobs are typically on the lowest level of the employment ladder at the national transporter, which includes positions such as gateman, helper in sheds and offices, track-men or gang-men and points-men who maintain tracks.
The process of filling up vacancies started in mid-2018 and currently, the RRB is in the process of document verification and medical test for 75,485 selected candidates, among which many are engineers or graduates and post graduates from various disciplines.
These numbers, according to new Railways data, are the latest indication of the lack of quality jobs in India – an issue that has become more pressing in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
The prevailing job scenario in the state-run transporter is often also described as under-employment because there are no jobs available for certain qualifications, and well-qualified students tend to take a job not based on their qualification but on the basis of their need in the absence of other, better, employment opportunities.
Since the number of applications has been huge, it took time for the railways to scrutinise them all, and finally, the RRB is in a position to start the final call for filling up over 60,000 vacancies in the next two-to-three months.
Successful candidates are expected to receive appointment letters for Group D jobs by May-end this year as the RRB is in the process of finalising the massive recruitment drive, sources told The Wire.
The minimum qualification required for these vacancies is to be a Class 10 pass, have a certificate from the National Council on Vocational Training or Industrial Training Institutes, or have a National Apprenticeship Certificate. However, according to the collated data, 4,19,137 candidates with BTech degrees and 40,751 applicants with a master’s degree in engineering were applicants to become khalasi or helpers in the Railways.
There are also 16,952,957 candidates who have passed out from Class 10 only. Job applicant data shows that 19.1 lakh people who applied for Group D jobs are arts graduates, 3.83 lakh are post graduates in arts, 9.57 lakh are science graduates and 1,27,018 are post graduates in science.
Incidentally, since the entire process of examinations is online now, the public transporter also claims to have successfully managed to save 16.67 reams of copy papers or 8,333 sheets, in a move that it says will help tackle climate change.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.