“We are looking to wind up the process by November-December this year, so that the selected candidates can join by early next year,” said an official close to the development.
Already a team of 40 officials, monitored daily by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, are working day and night to sort out the applications.
However, officials say the Railways is facing frauds. “A video warning about the frauds is already out in visual media and we are also coming out with advertisements on print as well,” he said.
According to the Railways, only 254 complaints were received after the previous test.
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has said that the national transporter has reserved 20 per cent posts for “course completed act apprentices” along with an age relaxation. “Earlier, the entire exercise used to take more than three months and we want to conduct and complete the written test within a month, starting by the middle of July at around 500 centres. For various back-end operations to conduct this massive drive, we are taking the help of various service providers as well,” the official added.
The Railways is preparing questions for the 90-minute test. There will be 100 questions covering mathematics, general intelligence, reasoning, general science, and general awareness. The national transporter is adopting statistical normalisation of questions, so that the “standard of questions and toughness” are uniform.
Between 100,000 and 150,000 computers will be used across the 500-odd centres during this one month to conduct the tests in 15 languages. “We are taking all the technological measures to avoid any fraudulent activities,” the official added.
The Railway Recruitment Board has received about 4.75 million applications against 26,502 vacancies for the post of assistant loco pilot (ALPs) and technician (Level-2), and about 19 million applications against 62,907 vacancies for Level-1 (erstwhile Group D) posts.
Compared to previous tests, the railways will not be conducting interviews for group C posts, including written and psychology test, while Level-1 will have written and physical tests as well.
The Railways’ staff costs were Rs 720 billion in 2017-18, against Rs 697 billion in 2016-17. For Level I employees, the monthly salary will be Rs 18,000, besides allowances.
The Railways will refund the candidates Rs 400 of the Rs 500 exam fees they pay, after the exams.