Indian Railway Stores Service
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The Indian Railways Stores Service (IRSS) is a cadre of the Government of India. The officers of this service are the procurement and logistics specialists, contract managers on the IR, providers of logistics for the transportation of material from and within various railways as well as the planners and maintainers of the intelligent warehousing with automated storage and retrieval systems on the Indian Railways.
- 1 Recruitment & Job responsibility of IRSS
- 2 Role and Function of Stores Department In Indian Railways
- 3 Evolution of purchase function in Indian Railways
- 4 Organization
- 5 Objectives of the Department for the Coming Years
- 6 References
Recruitment & Job responsibility of IRSS
The officers of IRSS man the senior posts of stores department and also general administrative posts of Indian Railways. The members of this group A service are recruited through Engineering Service Examination conducted annually by the Union Public Service Commission. The basic qualification for appearing in this examination is a degree in Engineering and all the members belonging to this service are Engineers. Department of Personnel and Training DOPT defines it as a Technical Service. The total sanctioned strength of cadre is 656.IRSS cadre not only caters to stores departments but contribute significantly to general administration of Indian Railways in Particular and Government of India in General. The Various Ex-Cadre posts held by officers of service are, General Manager, Divisional Railway Manager, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Chairman Railway Recruitment Board. Many officers are also working on Deputation to Government Of India.
Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS) is one of the nine organized service of Indian Railways. The IRSS cadre is responsible for Forecasting, Planning, Procurement of material, Logistics management, Warehousing of very expensive and sophisticated assets meant for the national lifeline i.e. Indian Railways. It is responsible for giving material support to production of Railway coach, Locomotive and Railway wagon. Realization of Revenue by selling of Scrap is another major function of Stores Department. This is done by means of Auction, Tender Sale or Staff sale.
Role and Function of Stores Department In Indian Railways
The Stores discipline performs a significant and major role in all the activities of Indian Railways. These activities are directly connected with train operations and thus contribute for productivity and earnings. These activities also have interface with customers which reflect the image of Indian railways. The major functions of stores department are-
- Procurement & distribution of Spare parts, Lube oil, Grease (lubricant) & other related general items to consignees spread over 7300 stations over all Indian Railways for day to day operation, maintenance of trains, rolling stock, etc.
- Procurement & Supply of Components to major Mechanical, Electrical & Signaling Workshops for maintenance of Coaches, Wagons and for in-house manufacture of items.
- Procurement and supply of sub assemblies and components to the production units for manufacture of new Diesel locomotive, Electric locomotive, Coaches and Wagons.
- Supply of spare parts to major Diesel Loco & Electric Loco Sheds for maintenance of Diesel locomotive, Electric locomotive & Electric multiple unit.
- Procurement and supply of Fittings and components for maintenance of AC coaches, General Coaches and Wagons over Indian Railways.
- Procurement of Modern Machines for upgrading the old workshops of Indian Railway, through COFMOW
- Procurement of complete units of rolling stocks
Stocking & warehousing
- Stocking approximately one lakh different type of item in approximately 200 stores depots spread throughout the country.
- Arranging inspection of these stocked items.
- Distribution of these stocked items by multi-modal logistics to various consumption centers.
- Inventory control of the stocked items
- Scientific recoupment of the stocked items
- Arrange the Non-Stock Item when required urgently to avoid critical position for smooth functions
1.Procurement planning of spares and sub assemblies 2.Inventory planning and budgetary forecasts 3.Planning and Formulation of Logistics for supply for items to users over all the Stations 4.Development of vendors 5.Market survey & source selection for introducing latest available items.
- Identification and inspection of scrap lying at various points of Indian Railway system
- Collection Scrap wherever feasible, segregation and making of lots from the point of view of selling.
- Arranging public auctions and selling.
- Selling through tenders for certain items
- Delivery of scrap including specialized weighments.
Supply of uniforms
- Procurement of cloth
- Cloth cutting in Railways own cloth cutting factories
- Stitching of uniforms by different means, which includes handicraft, centers.
- Manufacture of Printed Card tickets & their distribution at various stations all over the Indian Railways. Purchase of computer Pre-printed tickets for all the Computer Reservation centers of Indian Railways.
- Printing and supply of Time Tables & money valued books & other stationery items.
Evolution of purchase function in Indian Railways
At the time of independence, Indian Railways was running primarily on Steam Locomotives. Most of the components required for steam locomotives were made in workshops and the components, which were to be purchased, were very few. The stores requirements for track, signaling, C&W and other general items were also less. As, at that time, the industrialization of country had just started, a substantial number of stores were to be imported mainly through India Supply Mission. The function of stores department, at that time, was limited and mainly centered on store keeping.
However with the start of dieselisation in 50’s and speeding up of electrification from 60’s the face of railways started changing.electric locomotives, compared to steam locomotives, required more number of items which were sophisticated and had to be purchased. It is mainly with dieselisation and electrification, the purchase function of railways started evolving though other changing areas of railways e.g. signaling, production of coaches, track laying and maintenance activity etc. also significantly contributed to purchase of more and more items. Apart from more number of purchase items, the issues like quality and reliability of items and the firms who were supplying them also became relevant as Diesel and Electric locomotives, required sophisticated items for which credentials and capabilities of vendors needed to be pre assessed. Activity of approval and registration of firms thus started. As the Railway system was expanding, the funds became scarce and need was felt to keep inventories at optimum level so that capital can be used elsewhere and activity of inventory control thus gained prominence. Similarly the scrap sales function also became more and more important over the years.
Purchasing and its allied activities became complex as the traffic and train services increased in number and size. Purchase activity, which was clerical in nature in earlier days, had to respond to the needs of time and had to become professional. The 80’s and 90’s saw more type of rolling stocks and improved maintenance practices. As practically the railway network in terms of track km remained more or less the same, the increase in traffic and customer expectation has put severe constraints on all the resources like track, rolling stock sheds and workshops. Less and less time became available for the maintenance of system. From mid 90’s safe running of trains has emerged as a very important issue and compared to olden days more number of items have become essential for safe operation of trains. All these issues have put severe strain on railways purchasing system.
Over the years, as the Indian Railways were evolving, its purchases have gone manifold both in terms of value and number of items. The technical, industrial and commercial scenario of the country has also changed significantly. There are now more number of standards, specifications, accrediting bodies and also more central, state and local laws. Purchasing in today's world is done in a complex environment.
The members of the IRSS on the Indian Railways are the procurement and logistics specialist of the Indian Railways responsible for procurement of various goods and services for the Indian Railways to the tune of Rs.25000 Crores per annum as well as the disposal of scrap to the tune of Rs. 3000 Crores per annum which is in the form of auction and sale of electric and diesel locomotives, old coaches and wagons as well as old bridge structures along with the Rails released from the gauge conversion activities. (above figures are as per latest IR-Yearbook)
They also manage huge warehouses attached with the major coaching and wagon workshops as well as the electric and diesel locomotive sheds.
They are the logistics managers as far as the transportation of material through the road is concerned.
The department is organized in three tiers. The top tier is at the Railway Board level, the second tier at the Zonal Railway level and the third tier at the divisional or the district level.
At the apex level, this department is headed by Member Mechanical who represents the department at the Railway Board level.
Additional Member, Railway stores is the functional head of the department at the Railway Board level.Stores Directorate functions under him. He is intern is assisted by various Executive Directors and Directors. At the zonal levels, the principal head of the department is COS( Controller of Stores). The COS is assisted by 2 to 3 CMM's( Chief Materials Managers). Theses CMM's in turn have various Dy.CMM (Dy. Chief Materials Managers). They in turn are assisted by the SMM's( Senior Materials Manager) & the AMM's( Assistant Materials Managers) .Also the Stores department manages warehouses which feed to the Repair Workshops and Maintenance Sheds. There are about 200 such warehouses. The Warehouse are called as Depots headed by Depot Officer . Depots attached to Workshops are headed by Dy.CMM and Electric and Diesel Loco Sheds headed by SMM. These depots directly reports to COS . Division is headed by Sr.DMM.who reports to Divisional Railway Manager(DRM). Sr.DMM is responsible for material management at divisional level by catering needs to others branches of divisions. They are responsible for coordination of scrap arising out of division in closed association with Engineering Department. Sr.DMM also do uniform management for various grades of running staff such as guards, TTE, Station Masters.
Objectives of the Department for the Coming Years
In recent past policy decisions have been taken by Ministry of Railways for expanding and improving the conditions of Railway infrastructure, amenities on trains and the railway stations and other railway premises for passengers and other railway users. As a result of these policy initiatives phenomenal growth has taken place in all the activities of Railway working which includes the Stores department. Since economic liberalization started in early 90’s the pace of growth has increased substantially and Railways has set ambitious targets for the Eleventh Five-Year Plan.
Scientific Materials and supply Chain Management has emerged in recent years as an important managerial function in its own right. A systematic application of the tools and techniques of materials management can achieve considerable saving in costs and increase in productivity. No management today can afford to ignore these concepts and techniques in an environment marked by liberalization, globalization, enhanced competition and rapid progress in technology, particularly in the areas of automation and computerization.
The objective is to increasingly apply the modern concepts related to integrated materials management, strategic and operational aspects of outsourcing and procurement, the interface of materials management and supply chain management. The objective is also to adopt the latest techniques of cost control and optimization by leveraging information technology tools for development and implementation of an efficient materials management system in the organization. It is needless to say that all is to be done in public procurement platforms in most economic manner.
The technical, industrial and commercial scenario of the country has also changed significantly. There are now more number of standards, specifications, accrediting bodies and also more central, state and local laws. Even organizations much smaller in size and scope than Railways appoint persons expert in techno-commercial areas like taxation, port clearance, law and accountancy. The officers manning the cadre will be encouraged to take special interest and become specialist in one of the areas of scientific materials management, some of which are given below-
- Strategic Procurement Management
- International Purchasing
- Inventory management – Designing & Implementing an Inventory System
- Logistics management
- Management information system
- Financial Aspects of Materials Management
- Sales and Auction management
- Value engineering
The market in India has also undergone tremendous change ever since the liberalization process was initiated in early 90’s. The boundaries between the domestic and global market have become very thin and transparent. Number of global players, multi-nationals have been entered the Indian market and are keen to join hands with Indian Railways. In order to avail advantage of improved market condition IR would have to make major changes in the rule/procedure/methodology of procurement and also methodology of procurement and also methodology of disposal of non performing assets and unserviceable materials. To mention a few concepts like green procurement, E-procurement, E-payments, Reverse auction, eco friendly disposal systems would have to be not only introduced early but implemented with speed and on a sustainable basis. E-Procurement : Recently since (yr 2009) Indian Railways Stores Service achieved the distinction of going 100 % digital on tendering and procurement through web based online process using PKI and Digital Signatures completing all 26 Railway Units (Both Zonal & P.U.s). This is the biggest web based procurement portal in entire Asia using single window function for all Procurements by Indian Railways crossing over 2 Lakh Online tenders through Fully Secured website www.ireps.gov.in . E-Auction: IRSS successfully achieved & adopted Online E-Auction process since May 2013, crossing E-Auction Revenue over 1000 CR using FULLY SECURED SINGLE WINDOW E-Auction Process Providing Online Net Banking & Payment Gateway Facility enabling Purchasers across India to participate Online.