New Delhi, November 23
The Railways has weeded out one “non-performer or corrupt official” every three days in the past 16 months, officials said, with 139 officers being forced to take voluntary retirement while 38 were removed from service.
Two senior-grade officers were sacked on Wednesday, sources said.
One of them was caught by the CBI with a bribe of Rs 5 lakh in Hyderabad while the other was caught with Rs 3 lakh in Ranchi, they added.
“The (Railways) minister (Ashwini Vaishnaw) is very clear about his missive of ‘performance or perish’. Every three days, we have weeded out one corrupt official from the Railways since July 2021,” an official said.
The Railways invoked Rule 56(J) of the Department of Personnel and Training service rules that says a government employee can be forced to retire or be dismissed after being served a minimum of three months’ notice or pay for a similar period.
The move is part of the Centre’s efforts to weed out non-performers. Ashwini Vaishnaw, after he took office as Railways minister in July 2021, has repeatedly warned officials “to take VRS and sit at home” if they did not perform.
Those forced to take voluntary retirement or sacked include officials from the electrical and signalling, medical and civil services and personnel from stores, traffic and mechanical departments.
Under the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), an employee is paid a salary equivalent to two months’ pay for every year of service left.
But similar benefits are not available in compulsory retirement.
Under the provisions relating to premature retirement in the Fundamental Rules and the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, the appropriate authority has the absolute right to retire a government servant under FR 56(j), FR 56(l) or Rule 48 (1)(b) of the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, as the case may be, if it is necessary to do so in public interest.
However, among the 139 are several officials who put in their papers and decided to opt for VRS upon being denied promotion or sent on leave. There are also cases where circumstances were created to force them to opt for retirement, the officials said.