No.AIRF/134                                                                                                         Dated: July 9, 2015
The Member Staff,
Railway Board,
New Delhi
Dear Sir,

Sub: System improvement regarding selection of Apprentices for training under the Apprentices Act, 1961
Ref.: Railway Board’s letter No.E(MPP}/2009/6/14 dated 30.06.2015
The proposal on the above subject matter, sent by the Railway Board vide letter under reference, has been studied at length, and views of our affiliates were also called for.
AIRF is not in an agreement with the said proposal owing to undernoted background:-
Before Apprentices Act, 1961 was enacted and came into force; there had been provision of engagement of Journeyman, Traineeman and Trade Apprentices etc. in the Workshops and other Sheds and Depots of the Railways. With the introduction of Apprentices Act, 1961, eligibility criteria, i.e. qualification, age, syllabus, duration of training, training modules etc., used to be decided by the RDAT, being Nodal Agency for this purpose, and a certificate on completion of training also was being given by the RDAT under Ministry of Labour.
It may, therefore, be appreciated that, the process of engagement of Apprentices in the Indian Railways is as old as around 100 years. After Apprentices Act, 1961 came into being, the Railways equally implemented this scheme in the Workshops, Open Line, Sheds, Depots and Production Units etc. The process of engagement of Act Apprentices has been quite simple as also foolproof and convenient both for the Railway administration and the candidates. Act Apprentices were being engaged locally by the Workshop In-charge or Divisional Authorities, as the case may be, by following prevalent procedure that facilitated engagement of candidates from the local area in and around the Workshops, Open Line, Sheds, Depots and Production Units etc. In most of the cases, applications of the wards of the Railway employees used to be taken directly, and the applications of the outsiders used to be taken from the local Employment Exchanges. So far mode of recruitment is concerned, in some places, they used to conduct written examinations, and in some others on merit basis.
It is also pertinent to mention here that, the wards of the Railway employees were being given priority while engaging Act Apprentices in the Workshops, Open Line, Sheds and Depots and Production Units etc. for imparting them training, under Apprentices Act, 1961, that has been mandatory under the Act, and on their successful training, RDAT used to issue certificates in respect of completion of training, which is a recognized certificate for recruitment on technical posts in the Railways and elsewhere.
It is a matter of utter surprise that, Railway Board vide their aforementioned proposal, received under Board’s letter dated 30.06.2015, intends to totally change the procedure, detrimental to the interest of the candidates and this would also complicate the procedure of engagement of Act Apprentices. In case, proposed procedure is adopted , this would jeopardize entire system of recruitment of the Act Apprentices and also will be disadvantageous for the local candidates and the wards of the Railwaymen.
AIRF, therefore, is not in favour of this type change and wants that the Railway Board should not change age old system of engagement of Apprentices under Apprentices Act, 1961.
I hope, Railway Board should not interfere in this matter and it should be left to the General Managers and local authorities, so that they could continue with the recruitment process as usual to avoid any confrontation.
If needs, this issue be discussed threadbare with the organized labour before taking any further view in the matter.