Your first introduction to someone working in the Indian Railways is probably the Enquiry cum Reservation Clerk (ERC) sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned room, while you stand in a queue that moves at a snail’s pace, waiting to get your ticket. Besides issuing computerised reserved tickets to passengers, an ERC also responds to enquiries regarding issue of the same and helps passengers plan their travel. “I joined the Railways as an ERC in 2015. I was posted in Pune after a 6-month training period,” said an ERC from Pune. But is the job as easy on the inside as it seems when you’re standing in the queue on the outside? “The job looks very easy from the other side of the ticket counter, but I found it to be hectic. In most railway stations, the ERCs work in more than two shifts on alternate days. At stations where traffic is less, there is only one shift. The job pressure of an ERC, when posted in cities, is more when compared to many other railway jobs,” the ERC added.
Often described as ‘imperium in imperio’, an empire within an empire, the Indian Railways is gigantic in all aspects. It is the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRB) that shoulder the responsibility of recruiting candidates for various positions in the Indian Railways. The RRB Non-Technical Popular Categories (NTPC), which offers non-technical posts in the Indian Railway is by far the most famous Railways recruitment exam in India. Almost 96,00,000 aspirants registered for the RRB NTPC exam in 2016.
Besides interacting with passengers, the RRB NTPC offers other job profiles as well. “I am currently posted in Delhi as an Assistant Station Master (ASM) with the Indian Railways. I am in charge of ensuring the safe running of trains at my station. I also operate the signals, and confirm that everything goes as per the railway rules,” said an ASM.
Some of the job profiles offered by the RRB NTPC include:
- Commercial Apprentice
- Traffic Apprentice
- Assistant Station Master
- Traffic Assistant
- Senior Time Keeper
- Enquiry cum Reservation Clerk
- Goods Guards
- Junior Account Assistant
- Senior Clerk cum Typist
After joining, you’ll be allotted a department as per your merit, and will be trained for the allotted post. After the selection, comes the orientation cum training program.
“I joined the Indian Railways as a Commercial Apprentice in 2012. I trained for a period of 2 years in different categories of the commercial branch. After the training period, I was posted as a Chief Commercial clerk,” said Amey Mahante, who is currently posted in Mumbai. Apart from the above-mentioned postings, a CA can also be posted as a Parcel, Goods Clerk, or as Commercial Inspectors. This enables the employee to gain multiple exposure during their tenure.
Though the Railways have clearly laid down promotion scales for different posts, in practice, it is a bit slow when compared to other government organisations.
- Commercial Apprentice/ERC can go up to Senior Divisional Commercial Manager.
- Assistant Station Master can go up to the position of Divisional Operations Manager.
- Traffic Apprentice can go up to the position of Divisional Operations Manager.
- Junior Accounts Assistant can go up to Chief Account Officer.
- Goods Guard can go up to Chief Controller.
The RRB NTPC offers you a job in the pay band of Rs5,200-20,200 with an equal or more amount of allowances. The allowances vary from post to post and also on the location of the job. These include:
- Pension Scheme
- Dearness Allowance
- House Rent Allowance
- Transport Allowance
- Cash Medical Benefit
- Group Mediclaim
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