Started in the year 1927, Special Class Railway Apprentice Examination (SCRA) has been decided to close down by the Indian railways. The SCRA was one of the oldest programme in India under which 30 candidates were selected by the UPSC for the undergraduate programme to be undergone in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (IRMEE) , situated at Jamalpur.
Earlier this year, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) had made it clear to the Railway Ministry that it would not further take up the SCRA Examination from the next academic year. They were told to justify holding the examination to the body. In July this year, the UPSC secretary Ashim Khurana wrote a letter to Railway Board Member (Staff) Pradeep Kumar saying, “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.” The commission has made it clear to the Railways that it is finding the prospect of conducting a separate examination for a very few candidates as “disproportionate effort” and there is no point in it to continue.
This is also an interesting fact to note that besides IRSME, the commission conducts selection examination for Indian Railway Services in Electrical Engineering, Indian Railways Services in Engineers, Indian Railways Services in Signal Engineering and Indian Railways Services in Stores. After much deliberation the Railways have decided to discontinue the examination and said the same to UPSC in an official communication.
According to the letter written to Railway Board member Pradeep Kumar to UPSC he wrote, “The matter has been carefully reviewed by Ministry of Railway in its entirety and it has been decided with the approval of Minister of Railways that recruitment of candidates for induction into Indian Railways Services in Mechanical Engineering (IRSME) officers will now be met through the engineering services examination (ESE).”
The Railways also clarified in a press release “there is no decision to close the IRIMEE at Jamalpur. IRMEE shall continue as a Centralized Training Institute of the Ministry devoted to training Mechanical Engineers and other officers of the Indian Railways.”