Special Class Railway Apprentices or (SCRA) is a 4 year Mechanical Engineering Degree provided the Railways Department to the candidates selected from the SCRA, UPSC entrance examination. This program is conducted at the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Jamalpur. This program started in 1927 ans is considered one of the oldest engineering programs in India.
Every year the SCRA examination is conducted by the UPSC in the month of January for which the students in class 12th can apply to. The notification normally comes out in the month of October and the last dates for application is normally November. This examination has three sections of 2 hours each (Total 6 hours), the sections are General Ability Test ((English, General Knowledge and Psychological Test), Physical Sciences (Physics & Chemistry) & Mathematics. The entire examination is multiple choice based (Objective Type).
Once selected in the examination, students undergo their training in Mechanical Engineering for four years. The training is conducted by IRIMEE at the BIT Mesra campus. During the training process the students stay at Jamalpur Gymkhana. Special Class Railway Apprentice must pass within this period the Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra (Ranchi). The apprentices will be granted a stipend of Rs. 91OO/- per month during the 1st and 2nd years and Rs 9400/- per month during the 3rd year and first six months of 4th year and Rs 9700 for last six months of 4th year During the apprenticeship, the candidates will be required to undergo both theoretical and practical training.
After the completion of B.Tech, the students who pass out successfully are absorbed into the highest level leadership program in the Railway organization (also called Group A Officers). This cadre of officers are attached to the IRSME. The students undergo a probation period initially, after completion of the probation in SCRA, one is posted as an officer in the junior scale. Promotion to the senior scale takes place after about two years of service in working post. After six to seven years of service, the officer is promoted to the Junior Administrative Grade, which has two levels. One can be serving in various assignments at the Junior Administrative Grade for 8-10 years. This is followed by the Selection Grade.
The next in seniority is the Senior Administrative Grade, equivalent to the Joint Secretary, Government of India which is obtained after 16-18 years of service. Officers of this grade may be posted as heads of various workshops in the field, as heads of a department functioning at the Headquarters office, as Addition Divisional Railway Manager or as the Executive Director in the Railway Board. After six to eight years, while remaining in the same pay scale officers are selected to be appointed as Divisional Railway Managers (DRM).
The Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) heads the organization at the division level. There are currently 67 divisions on the system nationwide. The divisions are primarily involved with train running but may have loco sheds (repair shops for locomotives), coaching depots (repair home bases for passenger trains) and wagon depots (repair and maintenance points for freight stock). Each division has all the functional (both line and staff) organizations. The heads of these functional groups report to the DRM for administrative purposes but rely on guidance from the railway board and the zonal headquarters for policy guidelines.
The SCRA applications for the year 2013 is already out, click here for details.