Railway Protection Force(RPF)

RPF is one of the security forces of India. It is tasked with protecting property and passengers of the Indian Railways. The full form of RPF is the Railway Protection Force. It is the only Central Armed Police Force(CAPF) with powers similar to regular state police forces. The superior officers of this force are recruited through the Civil Services Examination. Railway Protection Force recruitment for subordinate officers is conducted through examinations conducted by the force itself. In this article, we will read more about the force, its functions, posts and history.

Functions and Powers of the RPF

The RPF, along with the Government Railway Police(GRP) ensure the security of passengers and property of the Indian Railways. The following are the functions of the force:

  • Arrest and prosecute people who steal, damage or unlawfully possess railway property.
  • Providing security cover to passenger trains in vulnerable areas.
  • Providing services such as control of access to railway premises, general security and regulation of premises used by passengers.
  • To ensure smooth movement of railway traffic by removing obstructions to train and passenger movement.
  • Maintenance and enhancement of the RPF Security Management System.
  • Preventing trafficking of women and children and help in rehabilitation of destitute people who are found inside railway premises.

The following powers are conferred upon the force to enable them to smoothly discharge their duties:

  • Power to investigate, prosecute and arrest persons engaged in activities which violate the Railways Act, 1890.
  • Power to remove obstructions such as illegal constructions and encroachments which obstruct rail transport or passengers.
  • Discretionary power to use non-lethal and lethal force based on the situation while discharging their duties.

RPF Recruitment

Out of 9000 vacancies this year, 50% will be filled by the women candidates(constables). The recent data shows a very lesser percentage of women in the Railways.

RPF Posts

The Railway Protection Force is headed by an IPS officer of the rank of Director General. The DG is assisted by various officers selected through the UPSC exam. RPF pay scale and seniority list are as follows:

Rank Designation Pay Level (Basic Pay)
Director General Director General Rs.225000
Additional Director General Additional Director General Rs.205400
Inspector General Principal Chief Security Commissioner Rs.144200
Deputy Inspector General Director RPF Academy/Chief Security Commissioner Rs.131100
Senior Commandant Deputy Chief Security Commissioner/Senior Divisional Security Commissioner/Divisional Security Commissioner Rs. 78800
Commandant Commanding Officer/Staff Officer/Security Commissioner Rs. 67700
Assistant Commandant Assistant Security Commissioner Rs. 56100

The salary structure of RPF posts have recently been updated as per the recommendations of the 7th pay commission. Apart from the pay, officers also get various facilities as per their rank such as:

  • Government Accommodation
  • Free Railway Passes in First Class for self and family up to 6 times a year
  • Security Guard
  • Concessional railway tickets for all classes of travel.

The type of accommodation and other perks depend on the position of the incumbent in the RPF officers seniority list. The officers who go on deputation to other departments get facilities as per the guidelines of the respective organisations.

History of The RPF

The RPF officially came into being after the Railway Protection Force Act was passed in the Parliament on 29 August 1957. The predecessor of this force was called the Railway Security Force which existed from 1954 to 1956. Prior to this, the force was known as the Watch and Ward Department of the Railways which operated under the state police in their respective areas.

IAS aspirants should note that information on organisations like the Railway Protection Force are part of the General Studies syllabus. As one of the paramilitary forces of India, it is covered in GS Paper III.

The RPF is a lucrative career option for UPSC 2019 aspirants. The facilities, pay structure and career progression is similar to IPS and officers of the force have the option to be deputed to other organisations during their service. Apart from this, as Class A Gazetted officers of the Union of India, they are also entitled to various facilities such as fully paid study leave and free medical treatment etc.

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