Railways Internal Exams: Here’s Why DMK Leader Stalin Is Wrong In Alleging Discrimination Against Tamil Nadu Candidates

Railways Internal Exams: Here’s Why DMK Leader Stalin Is Wrong In Alleging Discrimination Against Tamil Nadu CandidatesDMK President M K Stalin. (Facebook)
  • Neither has Southern Railways indulged in any injustice to Tamils, and nor has it violated any norm of social justice.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M K Stalin has been one of the opposition leaders in the country who has been trying to attack or criticise the ruling governments at the Centre and in the state.

In doing so, particularly to garner public attention during the novel coronavirus situation, Stalin has been slipping up and not realising how he is being misled by his team of advisers.

The latest episode of the DMK president cutting a sorry figure is his tweet expressing shock that only five Tamil Nadu candidates had qualified for the post of Goods Guards exam conducted by Southern Railways.

“This is further evidence of systematic discrimination against Tamils,” Stalin said in his tweet, urging Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to review the department’s recruitment and “ensure social justice”.

Southern Railways had conducted internal exams (General Departmental Competitive Exams or GDCE) during February-March to promote its lower grade staff, some of who are even engineering graduates, as guards in goods trains.

These staffs were to be posted in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Online tests were conducted among existing lower Railway Department staff to fill 96 such vacancies in Southern Railways.

Media reports said that about 5,000 candidates wrote the exam with at least 3,000 of them being lower staff members hailing from Tamil Nadu. Of the 3,000 only five candidates got selected with the rest being filled by candidates from the north.

This is the fact of the case and Stalin is wrong in tweeting “injustice to Tamils” and seeking “social justice” on two counts.

One, if the DMK leader says that “social justice” has been denied to Tamils because only five people had been selected from among the 3,000 who wrote, then he is wrong.

He should have seen how many of the 96 chosen were from socially backward communities and whether Southern Railways has followed the general reservation norm in filling up the vacancies.

That Stalin has no complaint on this ground is proof that Southern Railways has stuck to the reservation norms.

Employees unions in Southern Railways are very strong and they would have raised a hue and cry in case “social justice” had been denied.

Thus, Stalin is way off the target as regards his complaint of “social justice” being denied to the candidates who took the internal Railway exam.

Two, the DMK leader should know why only five out of the 3,000 who took the online tests qualified.

Insiders, who are in the know of things, say that if 2,995 candidates from Tamil Nadu had not qualified, then it only shows that their preparation has been poor.

Candidates from northern India, especially Bihar and Rajasthan, prepare very hard for such examinations. This includes all railways, banks and public sector recruitment examinations.

These candidates follow a simple policy. All of them take to group study for these exams.

For example, if six people from a particular region in Bihar apply for such a recruitment examination, they form a group among themselves.

Each one of them studies a book or examination guide that helps them prepare for the exam. During the group study, one person who would have studied, say B R Sharma’s guide, would ask questions from it to other candidates.

This helps the other five candidates in the group to learn what they don’t know or could have missed in their guide. The cycle repeats until all the six finish questioning the others on the book the candidate concerned had studied.

Once this exercise is through, one among the six takes the responsibility to pool important questions from all the six books the candidates would have studied and examine them.

Thus, each in the six-member group helps the rest to be well prepared for the recruitment examination.

Basically, the selection boils down to the preparation of the candidates and not how smart a person is.

Insiders say though candidates from the south could be smart, those from the north come well prepared. In the end, this makes the difference between getting selected and missing out.

Such group studies are seldom witnessed in the south, particularly Tamil Nadu. Railway employees say that the selection is based entirely on merit.

If the DMK leader was really interested in the welfare of Tamils, then he should begin an initiative for such group studies, probably starting the process for families of his party members.

That Stalin's tweet has gone almost unnoticed indicates that he has taken up an issue without understanding its nuances properly.

When contacted, Southern Railways chief public relations officer declined to comment on the DMK leader's tweet.

The DMK has been often raising issues with regard to railways recruitment.

In September last year, the party demanded that GDCE exams be held in regional languages too rather than only in English and Hindi.

Then, the controversy broke out after the Southern Central Railways raised a query with the Railways Ministry on the language in which questions for GDCE exams should be set.

The Railways Ministry, then, clarified that “all departmental promotion examinations for serving employees are set in Hindi and English only”.

It said there was no need for “a vested right for GDCE question papers to be set in languages other than Hindi and English”.

Following a hue and cry raised over the clarification, the ministry decided to conduct GDCE exams in regional languages, too.

At that time, the DMK claimed “big victory” over its policy and stand on the language issue.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani


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