About IRPS
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Dear NetSurfer,

IRPS stands for 'Indian Railway Personnel Service'. It is an organised Group 'A' service of the 'Government of India'. It is considered to be a unique service in view of the fact that it is the only service amongst the Group 'A' and All-India Services catering exclusively to the discipline of the Personnel Management in the 'Government of India'.
It may be noted that, in India, Group 'A' services form part of the highest of the public services - corps d'elite responsible for higher branches of administration.

Railway Personnel,in India, are civil servants(unlike other countries, where Railway Servants are private employees) in view of the fact that Railways are run by the Ministry of Railways(Railway Board) under the Government of India. Click here to view the Indian Railway structure.

IRPS came into existence w.e.f 01.01.1976 pursuant to promulgation of the 'IRPS(Recruitment) Rules,1975' by the President of India on 20.12.1975.

The developments, spanning over more than a century, that led to its creation in 1975 are recapitulated below.
We would start from the very beginning in order to understand the circumstances which made Railways a state enterprise and ,ultimately, necessitated creation of the IRPS.

The beginning
Indian Railways have been described as:
British in origin, British in model,financed by British share-holders, built by British engineers, managed by British railwaymen, the right arm of the British army, the life line of the British Indian Empire.

The idea of using railways to traverse the vast expanse of the Indian subcontinent and connect its populations was first mooted in 1843. It may be recalled that Rail travel was still in its infancy in England, but it was already clear that a reliable and extensive rail network would bring benefits to the Indian territory under British rulers.

The British East India Company, having recognised the value of the railways in England, commissioned the development of a rail network in India. The company could not afford to finance the whole venture itself. Moreover, British capitalists were less than keen on sole investment. Hence, the Court of Directors of the British 'East India Company' decided upon a 'System of Guarantees' whereby ownership, control, and risk were spread across both the private sector and the quasi-public (represented by the East India Company).

Resultantly, the first train ran from Mumbai (formerly Bombay) to Thane, on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, in April 16, 1853 - the culmination of ten years of planning and construction.
Just to digress a little, IRFCA provides an answer to the poser "When did the first train run in India?"

The customary answer to this question is 3:35pm on April 16th, 1853, when a train with 14 railway carriages and 400 guests left Bombay's Bori Bunder for Thane, with a 21-gun salute. It was hauled by three locomotives: Sindh, Sultan, and Sahib. The journey took an hour and fifteen minutes.

That, however, was just the first commercial passenger service in India. In fact, a steam loco, Thomason, had been used for hauling construction material in Roorkee for the Solani viaduct in 1851 (it began working there on 22nd December 1851, to be exact). The Solani viaduct construction was a part of the Ganges Canal project, started in 1845. The viaduct had 15 arches and spanned the 4km-wide Solani valley (about 145km north-east of New Delhi). Earth for the approach embankments was transported along light rail lines about 5 to 10 km long from Piran Kaliyar to Roorkee. Standard gauge wagons were used, built from parts brought over from England, and hauled by men and later horses. In late 1851, the locomotive Thomason (named for the engineer on the project) was assembled on the spot from parts transported from Calcutta. It hauled two wagons at a time, at a speed of about 6km/h. It did not last very long, and after about 9 months India's first steam locomotive died a spectacular death with a boiler explosion, reportedly to the delight of the construction workers who had viewed it more as a hindrance than help. Hughes' book states that this was a six-wheeled tank engine, probably a 2-2-2WT built by E. B. Wilson, and of standard gauge. Some details of the wagons and the use of the locomotive are in Sir Proby T Cautley's "Report on the Ganges Canal Works" (3 volumes, 1860).

The Guarantee System
The guarantee system ensured that neither the private nor the public sector took on the entire financial risk of establishing the rail network in India. English companies were invited to carry the construction costs and to own the undertaking. In return, the 'East India Company' guaranteed the railway shareholders a 5% return on their capital investment, afforded railway companies free use of land and offered a 99-year operating contract. The East India Company would reserve the right to exercise an option to purchase the undertaking, for proper consideration, at specifically appointed break points.

Two companies, involved from the outset, were instrumental in formulating the guarantee arrangement. The 'East Indian Railway Company' was proposed by Rowland Stephenson in the mid-1840s. After much negotiation with the 'East India Company' about the guarantees available, the railway company was established as a joint stock company in May 1845. Its first rail service, between Howrah and Hooghly, started in August 1854.

The 'Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company' was incorporated in Britain in 1849 and began construction work shortly thereafter. Its first rail service ran from May 1854 between Mumbai and Thane. The success of the 'East Indian Railway' and the 'Great Indian Peninsula Railway' encouraged British investment in the Indian railway project. By 1868, 70 million had been invested in the development of Indian railways, and 4000 miles of line had been opened to traffic.

As the East India Company had anticipated, early development of the Indian railway network encountered a number of logistical difficulties, particularly that of distance. The need to import most of the construction materials from Britain gave rise to delays. Engineers had to create their own fabrication works alongside the railway construction because the local products - such as bricks - were of inferior quality. Long distance supervision, and the disparate nature of the participants, made for bureaucracy and communication complexity.

There were politicians and members of boards of directors of private companies in Britain,administrators in India and Britain, supervising engineers, contractors and their agents, and engineers on the line of works all playing a part in the supervision of works, plus a myriad of individual worksites where Indians physically built the railways of the Raj. Lack of complete British control over the whole of the subcontinent compounded the problem further. Protracted negotiations with the French when lines were due to cross their territory lengthened the construction programme.

The 1857 revolt(Great War of Independence) caused enormous disruption. For the East Indian and other railways, the uprisings served to increase construction costs considerably. But, by the same token, the unrest and security consequences served to balance out the costs by demonstrating the benefit of a comprehensive railway system which could expedite deployment of the military across the British Raj. By 1859, a further 3000 miles of lines in India were being planned or were under construction.

Beginning of State railways and the revised Guarantee System
In April 1868, the Calcutta and South-eastern Railway was surrendered to the Indian government under the terms of its guarantee. This was the beginning of state enterprise in railway development. From 1869, the state (now a Secretary of State representing the British Crown) undertook directly the construction of all proposed lines, and implemented a policy of acquiring railways as soon as the opportunity arose.

The policy change - from providing guarantees to carrying out construction direct - was a reaction to the cost burden imposed by the original guarantee system. It significantly reduced the net cost to the state. Although capital expenditure remained even over the decade,but by 1878, income generated from the railways was approximately 57% higher than in 1868.

In 1879, the government exercised its option to buy the 'East Indian Railway', but left the railway company to run and manage the line. In the case of the Bombay, Baroda and Central India, the Great Indian Peninsula and the Madras railways, the government waived its right to purchase the lines, but insisted on modification of the contracts. Outstanding debts were cancelled, with the proviso that all surplus profits for the duration of the lease periods were to be shared equally between company and government.

Only a year later it became clear that these arrangements were misjudged, and that the state would carry a disproportionate financial burden, because:
(a) the companies no longer accrued all the profits, giving rise to the need for higher state subsidies; and
(b) new state lines could not compete on equal terms with the old guaranteed lines (which were established, lucrative, and had secured optimum fuel, labour and maintenance contracts).

The government set about creating a new model which would encourage private enterprise, but which would differ markedly from the outmoded guarantee system. In essence, the new assisted companies were to be guaranteed a 4% return on their capital, limited to a five-year period. The government retained an option to purchase the lines after 30 years. The burden was offset by incentives to new companies and new investors. These incentives were the offer of free land, free use of roads and cash injections.

The first company established under the new scheme was the 'Bengal Central Railway', which opened with the support of the banks of Rothschilds and Barings. Whilst the new terms were not nearly as favourable to the companies as the original guarantee system, the involvement of two major financial institutions from the outset stimulated others to invest.

The extent to which the state should be actively involved in the construction and maintenance of individual lines turned on whether the lines were categorised as productive or protective. Lines classed as productive were those with commercial potential. They were capable of being built by private enterprise using moneys borrowed from investors. Protective lines were those which lacked commercial potential - and the ability to support loans - but which were important to the country's overall infrastructure. Partly because early public investment might obviate later expenditure, the state took on responsibility for these lines.

Thirty Three Railway Administrations
At the dawn of the 20th Century, nearly fifty years after the first Railway train steamed out of Bori Bunder, there were thirty three separate Railway Administration in India, operating over 41,000 route kilometres of Railway lines. Of these, four were worked by Government, five by the erstwhile Indian States, and the remaining 24 by private Railway Companies. The Non-Government Railways- i. e., other than the four owned and directly worked by the Government operated under varying degrees of Government supervision. Their regulation and control vested in the Railway Branch of the Public Works Department of the Government of India.

The Department was headed by an officer of the Indian Civil Service who was a member of the Viceroy and Governor General's Executive Council. He was assisted in the Railway Branch, by one Secretary, three Deputy Secretaries (one each for Traffic, Accounts and Construction), 4 Under Secretaries and 4 Assistant Secretaries. The entire Railway system was divided into seven circles, and a team of one Consulting Engineer, and one Government Examiner of Accounts was posted to each of these seven circles. The accounting and auditing functions for the whole Department, including the Railway Branch, were combined in the Accountant General, Public Works Department.

Birth of the Railway Board,1905
As may be observed from the foregoing, by the close of the 19th century, management of the various Indian railway undertakings had become very complex.

In some instances, company managers were responsible to their boards in London, to the British Government in Whitehall and to the British Government of India.

Following a formal review(detailed in the succeeding paragraph) of the Indian railway system, it was recommended that the myriad of management arrangements be simplified to provide a single point of control under a unified Railway Board (comprising a Commissioner of Railways, a Secretary to the Government of India, a Chief Inspector of Railways and a team of Government Inspectors, all with practical knowledge).

In October 1901, the Secretary of State for India in Council appointed Sir Thomas Robertson, C. V. O., as Special Commissioner for Indian Railways to enquire into and report on the administration and working of the Indian Railways. In his report (1903), Sir Thomas recommended setting up of a Railway Board consisting of a President or Chief Commissioner, and two other Commissioners all of whom should have a practical knowledge of Railway matters and should be 'men of high railway standing'. The Board should be assisted by a Secretary, a Chief Inspector of Railways, the necessary number of ordinary inspectors and the requisite number of Government Auditors. As a consequence of these recommendations, it was decided early in 1905 to abolish the Railway Branch of the Public Works Department and to transfer the control of the Railway systems to a Railway Board consisting of a Chairman and two Members.

The Railway Board came into existence with promulgation of Indian Railway Board Act,1905, on 22.03.1905. The Railway Board assumed office on 22nd March, 1905,directly responsible to the Government of India in the Department of Commerce and Industry.

Within a short time, however, the set up was re-organized on the recommendations of the Railway Finance Committee (1908) by constituting the Railway Board with its staff as the Railway Department distinct from and independent of the Department of Commerce and Industry under the same Member of the Viceroy and Governor General's Executive Council. The designation of the Chairman, Railway Board, was changed to that of the President of the Railway Board who was to have direct access to the Viceroy and Governor General.

Thus, the Railway Board, which came into being in 1905, has survived for more tha 100 years, despite several reorganisations.

By the early part of the 20th century, the Indian railway undertakings were no longer conventional private enterprises. Having relinquished their proprietary rights to the government (although still using their own names), the companies were now 'state-controlled managing agents', running the network on behalf of the Government. By 1920, the Government owned 73% of the total railway mileage in India. All the major lines in private hands had been purchased by 1910.

Sir William Mitchell Acworth(1850-1925)
A crucial turning point occurred in 1921. Secretary of State appointed an expert Committee headed by Sir William Acworth who was a world-renowned authority on Railways. The Acworth Committee consisted of ten members, all experts either in Railway matters or finance and administration. The Committee supported the case for State management of Indian Railways in their report published in September,1921.The report was accepted in 1924.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the Government accelerated its programme of purchasing railway companies and, by 1944, all the trunk lines were owned and managed by the Government. The 'new assisted lines' had belonged to the Government from their inception, as the lines had geen constructed by the the state itself. What emerged was nationalisation of the railway system by a protracted process of piecemeal acquisition and direct build.

Wall Street Crash
Railway construction and development continued apace until the Wall Street Crash, and the world-wide depression of the 1930s, when it was hit severely. Revenue was significantly reduced, and the reserve funds were used. When India emerged from its economic depression in 1937, a backlog of maintenance and construction works had to be addressed. The Second World War interrupted the process. Attention refocused on mobilisation of the military to assist in the war effort, and in this the Indian rail network played a key part (at the same time benefiting from increased traffic and greater investment).

1947 and after
India attained independence from Britain in August 1947 under the Indian Independence Act, which sliced the subcontinent into two countries - India and Pakistan.
In 1947, the single Indian railway system was divided overnight into two entirely separate systems. The North Western Railway and the Bengal Assam Railway were the most profoundly affected in that they straddled the new international boundary between India and Pakistan. The railway lines within the state of India, including 1855 miles of the North Western Railway and 1942 miles of the Bengal Assam Railway, formed the Indian Railway network. The railway lines within the state of Pakistan, including the remaining 5026 miles of the North Western Railway and 1613 miles of the Bengal Assam Railway, formed the Pakistan Railway network. There was a division of assets at the point of partition. Essentially, the assets that resided within the borders of the new state became the property of that state, according to the Inter-Dominion Financial Agreement. Both India and Pakistan were left to complete the partial administrative framework each had been left with.

Prior to independence and partition it had been recommended that the railways should be managed by group. The British government had been resistant to grouping because it would necessitate terminating contracts with British companies. Post-independence and partition, the Indian government formed the view that it was economically inefficient, and administratively inconvenient, to operate a single rail network with a large number of small semi-independent entities. A truly national undertaking was required.
Thus, in 1948, Indian Railways was reborn as a single administrative body. Starting in 1951 the network was grouped into following six zones.Each zone was managed as a group in itself, but a level of central management was retained, via Indian Railways, to ensure that the railways functioned as a single coherent network.


Southern Railway

  1. Madras Railway

  2. South Marhatta Railway

  3. South Indian Railway

  4. Mysore Railway


Central Railway

  1. GIPR

  2. Nizam

  3. Scindia

  4. Dholpur



Western Railway

  1. BB&CI (Bombay Baroda & Central Indian)

  2. Sourashtra

  3. Rajasthan

  4. Jaipur


Northern Railway

  1. Eastern Punjab

  2. Jodhpur

  3. Bikaner

  4. 3 Upper divisions of E.I.R.


North Eastern Railway

  1. Oudh

  2. Tirhut

  3. Assam


Eastern Railway

  1. Bengal Nagpur

  2. Remaining Divisions of E.I.R

The six original zones have since been split and reordered on a number of occasions. Today, the network covers 63,140 route kilometres, divided amongst 17 administrative zones(latest being Kolkata Metro, constituted as a Zone).

Personnel department-till 1924
Till 1924, there was no separate organization on the Railways to deal with the staff matters. Hence, Executive Officers had to deal with their own staff. However, the factors such as:-
(i) the construction of new lines ,
(ii) amalgamation of one or two Railway Administration, taken over from the Railway Companies,
(iii) the gradual increase in traffic, with its unending technical and operating problems and
(iv) the increase in the number of staff employed after 1924,
led to increase in the size of the state-managed Railways. Hence, a need felt for the re-organisation of the work. This need was met by the introduction of Divisional Organisation. The need to set up separate organisation for dealing exclusively with staff matters in Divisions, whereby freeing the executive officers to devote their full attention to operating and maintenance problems was also felt. Accordingly, a start, to have a separate organization for dealing with staff matters in the Headquarters Office, was made on the Government managed Railways after 1924.

Early in 1946, the Railway Board decided that, on account of great increase in the volume and complexity of labour and establishment work on the Indian Railways, a distinct Railway Service should be established, with its own cadre, to be known as 'Establishment Department' of the 'Superior Revenue Establishment' of the State Railways. It was also decided that direct recruitment to Class I Service to these Departments should be made by the competitive examination through the 'Federal Public Service Commission(i.e. predecessor of UPSC). A decision to create this new department was put in Railway Board's Resolution No. E.-45-RR-5 dated 30.4.1946. The rules, for recruitment to the Department, were put as Annexure to that Resolution. In pursuance of this decision, 17 candidates were recruited through Central Services Examination held in 1945 and 1947.
Mr. Ramaswamy Kannan of 1945 batch was the first officer to be recruited into the 'Establishment department'.

The question of direct recruitment to Establishment cadre was re-examined in 1949. Although the volume and complexities of work, which necessitated the formation of this Department, had not decreased, the Railway Board decided to do away with the direct recruitment of officers for this department.

The Railway Board -
(i) felt that a few persons who specialized only in the establishment rules, without having intimate knowledge of day to day working of various Departments or active contact with the staff are less suitable to deal with the work than the officers who are directly and intimately in touch with the working conditions of the staff.
(ii)felt that some of these establishment officers with no executive responsibility were getting too detached from the actual conditions of working on Railways.
(iii) apprehended that by confirming these officers solely in the Establishment Department, their avenues of promotion might be rather restricted as compared to other officers recruited on the basis of the same examination and appointed in other Departments on the Railways and this might lead to a certain amount of frustration.
In view of these considerations, the Railway Board decided that direct recruitment to the "Establishment Department" should be stopped and the 'Union Public Service Commission' were advised accordingly in August, 1949.

The recommendations made by the Indian Railway Inquiry Committee that "where the personnel work had not been centralized, no attempt should be made to do so", had also probably influenced the abandonment of the scheme to have a separate Establishment Service.
Item 141 of the conclusion and recommendation of the Indian Railway Enquiry Committee reads as under :
Where personnel work has not been centralized, no attempt need be made to do so. We recommend that on Railways run on a departmental system, each Head of Department may have a small office, dealing with personnel matters. On Districts it is not necessary to have a Personnel officer, except on the longer ones, where an Assistant Officer might be provided to work under Divisional Officer. On Railways, run on a Divisional system, the concentration on personnel work in headquarters office will be needed. On Divisions, it will be advantageous to have a small unit advising the Divisional Superintendents in personnel matters, and in dealing with appeals which lie to him. Apart from that, the Personnel work should be done by the various Divisional Officers.

The Committee discussed the reasons for and against the separate Personnel Branch. They stated as follows :-

In the course of evidence tendered before us it has been suggested that owing to the growing complication of the Establishment Code and the increase in the number of references arising form greater consciousness on the part of the staff, Personnel work has increased to such an extent as to make it desirable to create a separate Personnel Branch which will involve a greater degree of centralized control. The advantages claimed in favour of such an arrangement are that it would relieve the executive officers of the burden of attending to the routine part of personnel work, such as, leave applications, issue of passes, etc., and at the same time create a small body of specialists who would be thoroughly conversant with personnel work and would be able to deal with all such matters more expeditiously than an overworked and harassed executive officers.
There is, however, also a different point of view represented before us, which was probably in many ways stronger. Evidence showed that such centralization of personnel work would take away from the officers a valuable opportunity of helping their man and keeping in touch with them. It is these small matters, such as the sanction of leave, issue of passes, etc., that bring the executive officer into normal human contact with his men. It has also been suggested that the work connected with the Personnel Branch is after all no quite as technical or difficult as has been represented at times. District officers have in the past been able to cope with such matters and could do so in the future as well.

This recommendation was under consideration of the Government. It finally recorded in October, 1950, that the recommendation had been noted and that the view of the Committee would be taken into account while deciding the question of internal organisaiton of each railway unit as a result of regrouping of Railways.
Therefore, aforementioned developments led to the retrogressive step of disbanding the newly born Establishment service.

The Diaspora
Sixteen direct recruit Establishment Department officers of 1945 and 1947 batch and three other officers(two 1946 batch war service officers plus one officer who was inducted directly into the Establishment Service)-total 19 Establishment officers- were given an option, in 1956, to get absorbed into other departments viz Accounts, Traffic,Mechanical Engg. etc. Except two, everybody opted to get absorbed.
One of the most illustrious officer was Sardar Avtar Singh Rikhi (of famous Rikhi Commission on Education) of 1945 batch. He, subsequently, switched over to the newly formed Indian Parliamentary Cadre and retired as Secretary General to the Indian Parliament.
Another illustrious officer, of 1947 batch, was Shri A.V. Subramanian. He opted,in 1956, to join IRAS. After the formation of IRPS in 1970s, he was the first officer to join the IRPS. He finally retired, in 1982,as AGM of Southern Railway. He is now a noted author and has written many books. He developed an original theory of aesthetics based on neurology.The prime interest and guiding force of his life has been the pursuit of Sanskrit and Tamil literature. He has written over forty books which have established him as a highly original writer, commanding an unusually bright and interesting style of presentation. He has been invited to deliver endowment lectures by Indian Universities and scholarly bodies.His short bio-data can be read here.
One of the officers of 1947 batch, Shri TV Madhav refused to give any option or join any service. Like a typical Tamilian intellectual, he questioned the wisdom of the Board's prerogative to change the cadre midway,on option basis. He said that since he was appointed to IRSES by the President of India, hence his service condition and cadre cannot be changed without his consent. The Board had no option but to continue him as an Establishment department Officer.However, for promotion and seniority etc. he was tagged with the IRSME cadre.On the formation of the IRPS in 1970s, he was inducted into the new service, and he served as ACPO/CPO of NE Rly. He is credited with codification of the selection procedure in Railway. He finally retired as Adviser/IR in early 1980s.
Another noted officer was Shri Inder Sahai, who joined IRTS and retired as Principal of RSC/BRC, under whom the first batch IRPS officer had taken training in 1981. He was so disillusioned with Railway Board's attitude towards Establishment service that in his opening address to probationers, he advised them to leave the IRPS, as soon as possible, as there was no 'future' in IRPS.

Era of 'Seconded Personnel Officers' dawns
The question whether a separate Service for Personnel work should be formed or not was still continued to be considered, in detail, for a long time from 1956 to 1960. The views of the General Managers of the respective Railways were obtained. The argument, for and against seconding of officers from other Departments to Establishment Cadre are as follows :-
(a) In favour of the seconded officer :
(i) A seconded officer has an intimate knowledge of working conditions of staff in at least one Branch of Railway activity and familiarity with conditions in others. (ii) He would have acquired a capacity to keep in touch with men in their day-to-day work and acquires experience in handling them. This would enable him to bear on Personnel matters a sympathetic and realistic outlook. (iii) A spell of personnel work might help him, on promotion to administrative posts like Divisions Superintendents, and (iv) A wider field for choosing personnel officers becomes available.
(b) Against the seconded officers :
(i) The officer lacks detailed knowledge of rules and regulations, labour legislation, etc. (ii) The technical Branch is always reluctant to spare a really good officer. It might also happen that the officer himself might be unwilling to be drafted into personnel branch as he might lose touch with this technical work. (iii) It is not possible to draft a technical officer except in Senior Scale as it has been the experience that younger officers prefer to learn work in their own Departments. This would result in a Divisional Personnel Officer being posted without the requisite knowledge or experience, and (iv) By the time the officer becomes will conversant with his work, he has to be transferred back lest he should be out of touch with his technical work.

The matter was discussed at the full Board meeting on 8.11.60 and it was finally decided that the officers of the Personnel Department may continue to be seconded from other cadre and not to be recruited directly through the Union Public Service Commission as Personnel Officers.
Hence, the result was there was no regularly constituted Service for the Personnel Department. The Class I posts in the Personnel Department were being allocated to the cadre of the Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers, Indian Railway Traffic Service and Indian Railway Accounts Service for purposes of cadre check. Since there was no separate Service, there was also no direct recruitment of Personnel Officers. Posts in the Personnel Department were being manned by officers drawn from the four Railway Services referred to above.

Recommendation of the First Administrative Reforms Commission,1966
The first Administrative Reforms Commission, under Chairmanship of Shri K Hanumanthaiya, in its Report on the machinery of the Government of India and its Procedure of Work made the following recommendations : -
17(i)- A separate Department of Personnel should be set up with a full Secretary-in-Charge who should work under the general guidance of Cabinet Secretary.
17(v)- The new Department of Personnel should be placed directly under the Prime Minister.

These recommendations were accepted and implemented and a separate Personnel Department under the Cabinet Secretariat was formed.(i.e. prdecessor of the present Ministry of Personnel & Training)

Sh. HN Kunzru's 'Team on Railways', 26.11.1968
There was, however, no such recommendation of the 'Administrative Reform Commission' so far as the Personnel Department on the Railways are concerned.However, the Study Team on Railways made the following recommendations,on 26.11.1968:-
Special care should be taken in respect of recruitment and training of personnel officers. The personnel branch on railways should be placed on a footing similar to other major Departments of the Railways. Personnel Officers should not be changed frequently.

The study team consisted of Dr.H.N. Kunzru as Chairman, and Shri P.C.Bhattacharya,Shri G.Pande, Shri K.B.Mathur,Shri P.L.Tandon and Shri G.P.Warrier as Members.

Sh. K Hanumanthaiya, Minister of Railways and Sh. A.P Sharma,MP,20.03.1972
During the Budget debates in the Lok Sabha on 20th March, 1972, the Minister for Railways(Shri K Hanumanthaiya, who was earlier chairman of the first ARC) conceded to the suggestions made that there must be a separate cadre for Personnel Department and he mentioned as under -
Some Hon. Members made a suggestion that in order to cope with the modern management techniques, there must by a separate cadre for Personnel management. My Hon'ble Friend, the labour leader, Shri A.P. Sharma, made that point. I propose to concede that point and begin the implementation of the idea he has sponsored.

These were the words which,ultimately, led to the creation of the IRPS.
Shri A.P. Sharma, the labour leader, was the MP from Buxar, Bihar. He was a Ticket Collector, who, later on, rose to become the Minister of Railway.

Railway Board falls in line
By mid-1970s,the total staff strength on the Indian Railways had already increased significantly and the strength was around 14 lakhs. The total strength of staff in different Divisions ranged from 15,000 to 40,000 and in Workshops from 1,000 to 14,000. Personnel work had increased, both in volume and in complexity. Personnel administration and Management had already become a specialized discipline, necessitating new skills and techniques of administration. This was particularly so in the Railways, where there are numerous problems in dealing with labour. The Ministry of Railways , therefore, found it necessary to reconsider the earlier decision. It was of the view that a separate Class I Service should be established to deal with Personnel matters. The officers of this new Service was to remain in the Service permanently and handle establishment work throughout their career. They were to be given specialized training in labour and management. The new Class I Service, which was to be known as the 'Indian Railway Personnel Service', was to include all the Class I posts existing at that time for personnel work. There was no changes in the hierarchical set-up or scales of pay, except to the extent decided upon by Government as a result of the recommendations of the Third Pay Commission. Some adjustments was, however, to be made in the total number of posts as a result of proposals, under consideration for restructuring of gazetted cadres.
At the initial constitution of the Service, it was proposed to fill the posts by officers drawn from other Services. For the future maintenance of the Service, it was proposed to provide for induction of a proportion of experienced officers from various Departments of Railways as well as from direct recruitment and promotion.

The Creation
Initially, it was formed by inducting (a) Officers (of 1945 and 1947 Batch ,recruited by Federal Public Service Commission) of erstwhile Establishment Department of the "Superior Revenue Establishment" of the State Railways / Indian Railways,(b) Promotee Group 'A' officers of the Personnel Department, (c) Officers from other Departments, found suitable for service in Personnel Department,and (d) Officers of other Group 'A' service/Temporary Assistant Officers (unclassified) opting to come over to the newly constituted Service.

Later on, the 'Union Public Service Commission' started conducting direct recruitment(as an Allied Service) of the IRPS officers w.e.f. 1980 Civil Services exam. At present, IRPS is staffed by Direct Recruit Officers(through Civil Services Competitive Exam. held by UPSC), as well as by officers who are promoted to Group 'A', from the feeder rank of Group 'B' Personnel Officers of the Indian Railways.

The Mandate

IRPS is a small cadre with around 400 officers on roll, but is responsible for (a) Establishment & Personnel Management,(b)looking after the Industrial Relations,(c) administration of Labour Laws,(d) administration of Welfare Schemes,(e) legal matters & (f) Human Resource development of around 1.33 million of Indian Railway Personnel. Furthermore, they are also looking after the pensionary matters of more than a million of retired Railway Personnel.In these onerous jobs, they are assisted by a bunch of competent Group 'B' Personnel Officers and an army of Clerks, Office Superintendants and Inspectors, posted all over India. As the railways is run as a Government Department, the focus is more on the running of the huge Railway Establishment, in accordance with Government orders etc. and less on the HRM.

IRPS Officers have been entrusted,particularly, with the responsibility of administration of Laws, Rules, Regulations, Procedures and Railway Board Orders. The gamut of these rules govern every facet of the conditions of service of the Railway Servants. The President of India lays down these conditions of service, as a part of his constitutional duties, conferred on him under the proviso to the Article 309 of the Constitution of India. He has promulgated various statutory Rules, in exercise of his power. These statutory rules comprise, inter alia, of rules, such as:- (i) Indian Railway Establishment Codes Vol I & II, (ii) Railway Services(Liberalised Leave) Rules, 1949,(iii) State Railway Provident Fund Rules, (iv) Railway Services(Conduct) Rules 1966, (v) Railway Servants(Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968, (vi) Railway Servants(Pass) Rules, 1986,(vii) Railway Services(Pension) Rules,1993, (viii)Railway Services(Commutation of Pension) Rules, 1993, and (ix) Railway Services(Extraordinary Pension) Rules, 1993. Moreover, rules framed under Railways Act, 1989 (eg under Chapter XIV) such as 'Railway Servants (Hours of Work & Period of Rest) Rules, 2005' also govern the Railway Servants.
Apart from these rules, framed under the Statutory powers, the Railway servants are also governed by the provisions(non-statutory) of various manuals and departmental Codes eg 'Indian Railway Establishment Manuals','Indian Railway Medical Manual', RRB Manual, Training Manual, Vigilance Manual,Finance Code, Accounts Code,Engineering Code,Traffic Code,Workshop code and so on.To top it all,Railway Board issues orders and clarifications,approx 300 per annum, compiled into Master Circulars and RBO(privately published).

Our service owes its existence to these Service rules,as they form raison d'etre of the IRPS. These statutory Rules have chequered history.In the beginning,in 1870s, civil servants were governed by separate Financial Codes on different subjects. The 'Pay and Acting Allowance Code' had been first published on August 1, 1871, the 'Civil Pension Code' on January 10, 1872, the 'Civil Leave Code' on March 14, 1872 and the 'Civil Travelling Allowance Code' on April 1, 1883.Thereafter, on May 1,1889, the 'Civil Service Regulations'(CSR) were published by the Government of India, as a comprehensive code - defining the conditions under which salaries, leave, pension and other allowances were to be earned by service in the civil departments and the manner, in which they were to be calculated.
After the enforcement of the Government of India Act, 1919, the 'Secretary of State-in-Council', in 1922, in pursuance of the powers conferred by section 96-B of the GOI Act 1919, framed an independent set of 'Fundamental Rules', for dealing with the matters relating to pay and allowances and leave etc. The said Fundamental Rules(FR) conferred powers on the 'Governor General-in-Council' and on Local Governments to issue 'Subsidiary rules'(SR) thereunder, and, accordingly, certain Subsidiary Rules were also framed.
These FR and SR are still applicable to all the Civil Servants(including Railway Servants,mutatis mutandis) of the Government of India.

The Pecking Order

As far as designations of the IRPS officers are concerned, they are designated, if posted in Divisions, as 'Assistant Personnel Officer(APO)', 'Divisional Personnel Officer(DPO)' and 'Senior Divisional Personnel Officer(Sr DPO)'.
If posted in the Zonal Headquarters or in the Units other than a Division, the officers are designated as 'Assistant Personnel Officer(APO)','Senior Personnel Officer(SPO)' and 'Deputy Chief Personnel Officer(Dy CPO)'.
Head of the Personnel Department, in a Zonal HQ/equivalent units, is designated as Chief Personnel Officer(CPO). The seniormost SAG/HAG CPO, in a Zonal Railway/equivalent unit, is posted as the Principal HOD. The IRPS officers are also selected to man ex-cadre General posts such as posts of Addl. DRM(SAG rank), DRM(SAG rank), Chairman of RRBs(SAG rank) and General Manager(HAG+ rank).The following table would help you in understanding the designations.

. Rly. Staff College Division Zonal/Prod.Unit
Workshop/ Other Units Railway Board GOI
(Under Central Staffing Scheme)
Jr Scale
(PB3+ Rs 5400)
IRPS(Probationer)/ APO/ Asst. Professor APO APO APO -- --
Sr Scale
(PB3+ Rs 6600)
Professor DPO SPO WPO/SPO Under Secretary Under Secretary
Junior Administrative Grade(JAG)
(PB3+ Rs 7600)
Professor Sr DPO Dy CPO Dy CPO Dy Secretary Dy Secretary
Non Functional Selection Grade(NFSG)
(PB4+ Rs 8700)
Professor Sr DPO Dy CPO Dy CPO Director Director
Senior Administrative Grade(SAG)
(PB4+ Rs 10,000)
Sr Professor -- CPO CPO Executive Director Joint Secretary
Higher Administrative Grade(HAG)
-- -- CPO CPO Adviser Addl. Secy.

Apart from serving in the Ministry of Railways, the officers are also liable to serve,if deputed,either under the 'Central Staffing Scheme, 1996' or otherwise, in any other Ministry or Department of the 'Government of India' or Corporations or Industrial Undertakings of the 'Government of India'.

The Web Site

This website is an attempt to provide a forum to the IRPS officers, who are posted far and wide & across the length and breadth of India, to come together and to share their experiences.

Hope you will enjoy visiting this site. Please do let us know about your views,comments and valuable suggestions, by expressing these in the forum.

If you happen to be a Railway Officer, then, I would like to take this opportunity to request you to tell your colleagues, about this website.

Please do help me in updating the IRPS Officers' list, by providing,on the IRPS forum, info about their latest postings etc.

Thank you and have fun

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