NFIR Demands Scrapping of New Pension Scheme (NPS) and grant of “One Rank – One Pension” to Railway Employees.
Press Statement of Dr.M. Raghavaiah, General Secretary, NFIR
The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen while welcoming the Government’s announcement for introduction of “One Rank – One Pension” for ex-servicemen, urges upon the Hon’ble Prime Minister to take steps for granting similar pensionary benefits to the Railway employees also, The duties of Railway employees are hazardous, risky and complex. They work at over 8,000 Railway stations covering the Railway Tracks of over 65,000 kms. Over 85% of Railway employees perform duties at remote places, extremist infested areas and places where no township or medical or drinking water or schooling fbcilities exist. Like Army, Railway employee cannot leave their post till another employee takes over the charge. The Railway tracks are maintained by the employees facing inclement weather conditions and working under open sky akin to that of defence personnel. On an average 800 Railway employees get killed per year in the course of performing duties and nearly 3000 sustain injuries while on duty.
For ensuring uninterrupted services the Railway employees are required to be on high alertness at all times. The Railway employees maintain high degree of discipline and efficiency to ensure that the Rail Transport System functions without interruption. The Chairman of the Railway Safety Review Committee” Justice H.R. Khanna (Retired Supreme Court Judge) had observed in his report that the working of the Railway system is more like armed forces, thus historically the Indian Railways functions differently from other Government Institutions.
The uniqueness in duties being performed by Railway employees is unmatched as these employees are involved in safe and efficient train operations more particularly the statf like Train Controllers, Station Masters, Electric Signal Maintainer. Technical Staff, Loco pilot. Guards.
Technical Supervisors whose duties and responsibilities are similar to that of defence personnel.
Indian Railways plays crucial role not only for the economic development of the country but also for ensuring rapid movement of Army, Military Hardware to the Borders and rises to the occasions when the security of the country is at stake. Railway employees face war like situation in their day-to-day working i.e. breaches, bandhs. civil disobedience movements. accidents etc.. and ensure maintaining the supply line all throughout.
It is unfortunate that the Railway employees have been subjected to injustice by governing them under New Pension Scheme with effect from January, 2004, Railwaymen’s demand for abolition of New Pension Scheme is unresolved even though Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge had recommended for exemption of Railways from New Pension Scheme.
I therefore, appeal to the Prime Minister of India to scrap New Pension Scheme in Railways and grant “One Rank – One Pension” Scheme to the Railway employees as has been agreed to in the case of retiring defence personnel.