Over 23 million people travel by the Indian Railways every day. On any given day, dangerously crowded bogies leave with passengers living life at the very edge, quite literally! Not only does it aid the largest number of commuters, it also is one of the largest employer in the world. The Indian Railways is often given credit to connecting the nation. There are around 1.4 million employees in or out of the public view to keep the wagons moving. The Assistant Station Master (ASM) is one such position in the Indian railways which acts as a lynchpin at many railway stations.
Recruited by the Railways Recruitment Board (RRB) through the Non-Technical Popular Categories (NTPC) exam, the ASM is one highly sought after post amongst the many others. Here is an account of the nature of the job that an ASM performs.
An ASM deals with numerous staff members, as well as passenger and freight trains daily. This may seem like routine work to many, but it takes ceaseless effort on the part of the railways to make the journey fast, comfortable and safe. “The job profile of an ASM is that of a Generalist. Our job is to ensure the safe running of trains, the safety of passengers, and of our staff. For this, an ASM must co-ordinate with anywhere between 5 to 13 departments of their respective railway station,” said an ASM, posted with the western railways in Mumbai.
Health issues can occur anytime and anywhere, but it’s not feasible for the railways to provide a medical team in every train. Fortunately, it provides free medical aid to the ailing passenger through the nearest railway station. It is, of course, the medical officer who treats the patient, however, it is an ASM’s responsibility to keep a check on such emergencies.
“Apart from the above-mentioned duties, an ASM also has to coordinate with the Station Manager and issue a caution order to every train that halts at the station. A caution order is a mandatory guideline about how the train should run and at which speed at a given section,” added the ASM.
Training and Posting
“I joined the Indian Railways as an ASM in 2012. I underwent a 5-month training course at Bhusawal, Maharashtra, after which I was posted with the Central Railways in Mumbai. Training and posting depend upon the Regional Railway Board you are recruited with. The training comprises of general and specialised course modules for the post. We were also given a brief introduction to the duties performed by other departments of the railways during the training. The general posting of an ASM is of 4 years,” said an ASM, from Mumbai.
An ASM can be promoted to the post of Station Master after a minimum service of 3 years. However, promotions are wholly based on vacancies, which makes it very untimely. “It takes anywhere around 3 to 7 years for an ASM to get promoted. I have also seen my seniors getting promoted only once in 18 years. However, if an employee is not promoted for more than 10 years, the Railways advances the grade pay of that employee with arrears up to the current date,” added the ASM.
Assistant Station Master
Assistant Operations Manager
Divisional Operations Manager
Pay Scale - 5200-20200
Grade Pay – 2800
Initial Pay – 8560
The 7th Pay Commission has recommended higher grade pay for ASMs after the upgradation of the post as Station Master. The new grade pay will be in the band of Rs 4200. <doesn’t seem like a lot>
- House Rent Allowance or a Railway Quarter
- Dearness Allowance
- Transport Allowance
- Cash Medical Benefit
- Group Mediclaim
- Provident Fund