Manpower planning is a strategy for the acquisition, utilization, improvement and presentation of manpower of an enterprise. Its objective is to ensure  optimum use of manpower currently employed and to provide for the future manpower needs of enterprise in terms of skills, number and age i.e. to provide the right number of employees, with right level of talents and skills, in the right jobs, at the right time performing the right activities to achieve the right objectives to fulfill the corporate enterprises.

Railway is a Government concern having commercial value, run on commercial basis as it sells transport and earn profit. For the efficient and effective management of a gigantic organization like Railways in a smooth
efficient and economic way, one of the prime requirements is large number of personnel with requisite qualifications and training in various disciplines.

The cost of staff on railways amounts to approximately 60-% of the total working expenses. Therefore, it would be necessary to plan its manpower in such a way that adequate staffs are made available for the new assets without incurring any additional expenditure. This is being achieved by locating the excess manpower in the existing system and making available for additional assets after giving necessary training.

Recently, in this huge organization, due to rapid increase in traffic and also change in system, in introducing essential mechanization, modernization and computerization, it has become essential on the part of Railways to plan its manpower suitably, in order to coupe up with the increased volume of workload competently, efficiently and economically. More so, a large section of Railways has been electrified and is under progress, requiring skilled staff has also added/contributed for the assessment of qualified and skilled staff to manage the operation of railways efficiently, so as to satisfy its accountability to the public for whose comfort the management has to ensure.

Manpower planning means establishment of job specifications or the qualitative requirements of jobs to determine the number of people required and to find supply source.

Manpower recruitment is related to matching the personal qualities of employees with the job requirements.

Job analysis and Job description

Job analysis means analyzing the corporate plans, objectives, finance, investments, products, marketing etc. with the trend of turnover, promotion patterns, transfers, qualifications, training, experience, performance
standards and performance actual.
Job description includes job design, job specifications, job enlargement, job enrichment, job responsibilities etc. When these elements are co-related, the job demand is known. Job analysis, job specification and job design are the important factors involved in human resource development and manpower planning.

Assessment of Manpower in Railways

In open line, factors like normal wastage, death, deputation, dismissal, creation of assets and posts, leave reserve, rest givers, yardsticks etc., influences the assessment of manpower.

In construction projects, performance evaluation and review technique, phasing of work etc., are used to assess the manpower.

There have been dynamic change in the technology and modernisation, electrification, computerisation, mechanisation of track maintenance etc. are taking place at fast rate to meet the challenges of traffic requirements in Indian Railways. To meet the challenges of the changing environment, systematic manpower planning is essential. Therefore a category-wise analysis of staff should be carried out, to identify surplus and to arrange manpower in the areas of need. This adjusts the surplus in one category to other categories, where there is demand. Manpower planning ensures that the existing manpower is utilised
to the maximum possible extent.

Manpower planning emphasis on training to different categories of staff to improve the skill and to increase productivity. This step reduces the availability of unskilled staff, increase productivity and maximise manpower utilisation. Regular conversion training programmes reduce the wastage of manpower due to changeover. The staffs are also deputed for refresher course, conversion course, promotional course etc. with the aim to develop organisationally effective personnel with pride in their work and faith in management.

The primary objective of the manpower planning is to ensure the availability of the required skill and to reduce wastage. When the manpower availability is clearly known arrangements can be easily made to cater to the additional needs of manpower as indicated in the forecasts. Normally, the field officers responsible for executing the job are responsible for the manpower planning.

In order to achieve these objectives, to arrest the bottlenecks and to ensure smooth working of Railways, the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) have planned its manpower suitably as under:

a) Recruitment of staff with proper and suitable educational and technical qualification by upgrading the limit of educational and technical qualifications for most of the categories;

b) Arranging training, frequent refresher courses, promotional courses, technical courses and catering orientation courses in Government and Non-Government institutions.

c) Plan filling of vacancies, advance indents to RRBs, Ordering departmental selections, Absorption of surplus staff, Screening of CLs in advance. Manpower also helps to reduce the problems associated with sudden surpluses and over sight surrenders.

In regard to (a) above, technology and modernization of Railways, has warranted improvements in manpower with the changing needs of operations in field for various categories of staff. Likewise Financial Planning, it also requires long term planning manpower resulting in up-gradation of educational and technical qualifications for recruitment. Thus, the educational qualification of even Group D staff have been upgraded, as they have to operate their working with changed modern technology specifically in S&T Workshops, Loco Sheds, Diesel/Electric, Engineering and Mechanical Workshops. For recruitment of such staff, the minimum educational qualification is matric or equivalent with IIT or completion course under Apprentice Act. Railway Board have considered the upgradation of qualification for recruitment of casual labour, who have to be absorbed under the rules, in the time scale, in the near future. Similarly such changes have been made in the most of the categories.

In regard to (b) above, initial and management training to gazetted officers is catered in the following institutions-

1.    Railway staff College, Vadodara.
2.    Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering, Pune.
3.    Institute of Signal & Telecommunication, Secunderabad.
4.    Institute of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering, Jamalpur.
5.    Institute of Electrical Engineering, Nasik Road.
6.    Workshop & Technical School, Kharagpur.

In order to develop quality and quantity, refresher courses on management and technical subjects, are being catered in these institutions as well as in other private institutions.

Training of non-gazetted staff is arranged for initial courses, refresher courses, and promotional courses in Zonal Training Schools/Basic Training Schools, System of Technical Institutes, as well as in other private institutions in order to gain sufficient knowledge of technical capability on personnel subjects and on financial matters.