India – Bihar – unemployed youth protest against Indian Railway recruitment board

Railway recruitment control board is a government recruitment agency for various posts in the Indian Railways under the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. It was set up in 1998 and presently there are 21 Railway Recruitment Boards functioning in India. There are 3 exams that they conduct at regular intervals – ALP & Technician posts, RRB NTPC for the Non-technician posts and RRB JR for junior engineers post. 

The board had organised the exam in 2021 through notifications for various posts from level 2 to level 6. More than 60 lakhs people appeared for the non-technician post’s exam. Due to this exam there were protests that were held in various railway stations in Bihar. The protestors claim that RRB had issued a notification of this particular exam of the year 2021 stating that there will be only one round of exam for the non-technician posts as usual. Later they realized that the board had organised the second round of exams for those who had cleared the first round and were unaware of it. But the railway department clearly says that the initial notification talks about both the exams. 

 The protest began with a small group of people on Monday afternoon in Rajendra Nagar Terminal in Patna and Ara Railway Station in Bhojpur. And slowly the number started rising which went up to 2,000 jobless youths standing together on the railway tracks to protest against the injustice that happened to lakhs of students who are aspiring for the railway jobs which resulted in disruptions to many train movements for five hours. The protest lasted for more than 9 hour and many trains had to be cancelled or change the course of journey which also discomforted the passengers travelling on that day through those lanes. 

On receiving the information about the protests and due to which the railway services were blocked, a group of police officers reached the place and tried to disperse the crowd in many ways but when everything started going out of control they started lathicharge on the protestors and also fired tear gas shell, this resulted in a clash between the protestors and the police and the crowd started throwing stones on the police as well on the trains halted there, one of the trains was also put on fire as the protestors claim that there was a peaceful protest that was going on and the police handled in a wrong manner. All this ended up with a few youngsters getting injured, cases filed against 500 unidentified protestors in connection with the incident and 4 protestors being arrested. Reports state that the protest was instigated by those running coaching classes for competitive exams and if they are found to be guilty of instigating the plan they will have to face the consequences.

 On Tuesday the protests were brought under control after the Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav gave a general notification stating that the exams will be suspended and a grievance committee will be formed and all the grievances will be taken from the job aspirants till 16th February, 2022. The committee will collect all the grievances from various railway departments across the country and will provide a solution to all the problems stated by the students. A separate email id has been formed so that students can easily send in their complaints. The railway ministry has promised to clear things as soon as possible so as to hold the exam for the same posts again.     

This is not the first time that the jobless protestors have conducted protests against the Central Government and the Railway Ministry in Bihar. It has happened in the past too – in 2018, 2019 and in 2020 too. 

 According to the data given by the Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) states that the unemployment rate has increased to 16% in Bihar in the previous month. The reports also state that the NDA government who was in power has not done much to solve the issue of unemployment in Bihar and the ruling party that is a coalition between JDU and BJP party has promised to provide 19 lakh jobs in the next five years.

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