New Delhi: Ten lakh trees have been spared the axe. Thanks to the Indian Railways for taking its recruitment process online. The move has saved at least 7.5 crore sheets of paper, or the equivalent of 10 lakh trees needed to make paper, a senior railway ministry officer said. Some 2.37 crore people had applied against 88,000 railway posts.
The railways have replaced bulky, multi-lingual question booklets with online tests for various positions -- ranging from assistant loco pilot to technician, trackman, gateman and pointsman.
"There are 62,000 posts involving track inspection crews and others related to improving safety, while more than 26,000 posts relate to engine drivers and technicians; for these, more than two crore people have applied," said the officer who is involved in the recruitment process.
The online examination will be held at 300 centres for which the railways are working out the finer details. One of the reasons why the Indian Railways have switched to online tests is due to alleged question paper leaks.
"One applicant generally needs three-four paper sheets of A4 size to write the examination. So with the whole exercise going online, the railways have saved a significant quantity of paper sheets," the officer said.
The officer claimed the railways test is the "largest online recruitment drive in the world". "It is not only providing thousands of jobs, the whole process has also resulted in saving about 7.5 lakh paper sheets and 10 lakh trees approximately."
The exam fee has been kept at Rs 500 for general category applicants and Rs 250 for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to keep out non-serious applicants who apply but do not usually turn up for the test.
The general candidates will get a refund of Rs 400 after the exam, while SC/ST candidates, women, people with special needs, ex-servicemen and those from economically weaker sections, will get the full refund.
"We are expecting a maximum number of applicants to appear and only about 5-10 per cent absent at various centres this time," the officer said.
The Indian Railways employs 1.3 million people. It has strengthened its online infrastructure to ensure the website does not crash during the high-volume exam. The website did see some glitches in accepting the huge traffic during the application phase, which ended on March 31.
On the last date of registration, some candidates, however, felt the brunt of technical glitches on the registration portal. As reported by The Hindu, candidates applying to RRB Chennai were not able to register successfully as they could not receive the OTP (one-time password) on time. For some candidates it was difficult to upload the application on the website as it did not move beyond the registration stage.