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Railways to have 'relook' at move to scrap exam at Jamalpur institute

Railways to have 'relook' at move to scrap exam at Jamalpur institute
Apparently wary of adverse implications in the upcoming Bihar polls, government on Thursday decided to have a "relook" at its move to scrap a system of holding examinations for an under graduate technical programme in the railways in Jamalpur in the state.

Railways had decided to scrap the Special Class Railway Apprentice (SCRA) examination for admission to the under graduate programme in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (IRIMEE) at Jamalpur.

The move followed a communication from the UPSC that it was not inclined to hold the SCRA examination as similar examinations are held by the UPSC.

The decision of the Railways had triggered an uproar and threatened to mar BJP's electoral prospects in the poll-bound state as it had already become an issue.

Apparently keeping this in view, the Railways today issued a statement saying, "Taking note of the representations received on the decision of the Ministry on recruitment of Mechanical Engineers through SCRA conducted by UPSC, it has been decided by the Ministry to have a relook at the issue.

"The review exercise is expected to be completed in a month's time." Started in 1927, the SCRA, one of the oldest programme in India involved selection of about 30 candidates by the UPSC to the undergraduate programme in IRIMEE at Jamalpur.

UPSC had told the Railways that it is now finding the process of separate examination for a handful of candidates as "disproportionate effort" as the Commission is also conducting annual engineering services examination for selection to IRSME.

"The Commission may not be inclined to continue with the examination unless full and proper justification is forthcoming from the Railway Ministry for such continuance," UPSC Secretary Ashim Khurana had said in a letter to Railway Board Member (Staff) Pradeep Kumar in July this year.

After examining the various aspects of the issue, the Railways had decided in favour of discontinuation of the SCRA and communicated the same to UPSC.

"The matter has been carefully reviewed by Ministry of Railway in its entirety and it has been decided that recruitment of candidates for induction into Indian Railway Services in Mechanical Engineering (IRSME) officers will now be met through the engineering services examination (ESE)," Railway Board Member Pradeep Kumar had written to UPSC.

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While the decision had raised questions over the fate of the Jamalpur institute itself, Railways had clarified that "there is no decision to close" the IRIMEE there and it "shall continue as a Centralised Training Institute of the Ministry devoted to training Mechanical Engineers and other officers of the Indian Railways."

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