Two ST category candidates who flunked Railway exams were called for appointment under “best among failed candidates” policy.
Best among failed candidates policy is used for internal promotion in non-safety category, and not new hiring. Candidates are promoted on an ad hoc basis, and their performance is reviewed in six months.
In the wake of a recent major train accident in Balasore, Odisha, a document circulating on social media is being shared in false context. The document purportedly reveals the selection of two S.T. candidates as Assistant Commercial Managers in the Railway department, despite not achieving qualifying marks in the examination.
While the document has triggered criticism, it has been discovered that this policy is typically used for internal promotions on an ad hoc basis, rather than for hiring new candidates through open examinations.
Multiple twitter users shared concerns over this document.
Newschecker also received the image on our WhatsApp tipline (+91-9999499044) requesting to be fact checked
On analysing the viral document, we noticed that it was dated “29.9.2017” and was issued on the letterhead of “Western Railway.”
Taking a clue, we looked up keywords “Best among failed candidates,” “2017” and “Western Railway” on Google which yielded a report by Mumbai Mirror, dated October 7, 2017. The report elaborated on an internal test conducted by the Western Railway to fill the post of assistant commercial managers.
Adding that the 20 employees, from Group C category, who took the exam failed, and “officials identified two under the reservation scheme of ‘best among failed candidates’, and called them for interviews.”
The report further added, “Railway officials clarified that those selected under the scheme are not directly promoted. They are considered for an ad-hoc promotion during a six-month trial. Basically, employees are given an opportunity to get necessary knowledge and training.”
On October 5, 2017, Nav Bharat Times carried the image of the viral document and quoted the then- CPRO of Western Railway, Ravinder Bhaskar as saying, “It was not an open examination, but a departmental exam. Both the candidates were selected as per the Government’s rules.”
Further, using the details mentioned in the document, we dug out the Railway Board’s letter numbered 88-E(SCT)1/23/1. The letter, dated May 8, 1989, stated, “…it has been laid down that only those SC/ST candidates, who secure a minimum of 20% of total marks in the written test, viva-voce and record of service etc, should be considered for adhoc promotions, for in-service training on the basis of best amongst failed candidates.”
It added that the scheme will only be applied “in selections for promotions from Group D to C, within Group C and Group C to B in non-safety categories ( which are said to be non-vital for train operations) only.”
A letter, dated June 28, 1995, states that the policy is used during the selection process for promotion of Railway employees within Grade C and D, and from Grade C to Grade B in non-safety category. In case, the required number of SC/CT employees, depending upon seats reserved, do not meet the requisite criteria then the “best among failed” candidates are selected on ad hoc basis for six months.
It adds, “During the said six months period, the administration should give them all facilities for improving their knowledge and coming up to the requisite standard if necessary by organising special coaching classes.” After the six month time period, a review of the working of such employees is undertaken. “The continuance of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates in the higher grades would depend upon this review,” it adds.
A handbook on departmental selections uploaded on the official website of the South Western Railway also stated that if the required number of SC/ST candidates do not qualify, in case of non-safety category, the best among failed candidates should be selected against reversed vacancies and promoted on ad hoc basis for a period of six months. Adding, “At the end of the six month period, a decision has to be taken by the competent authority for inclusion of their names in the panel or otherwise.”
Newschecker has reached out to Railway officials for their comments on the matter. The article will be updated upon receiving the same.
We found that the “best among failed candidates policy” is indeed something which is followed in the railways. However, it is used for only internal promotion and that too in the “non-safety” category – which are said to be non-vital for train operations and not new hirings. Candidates are promoted on an ad hoc basis, and their performance is reviewed in six months. The viral image is being shared out of context.
Result: Missing Context
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