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Owing to its considerable massivity, the organizational structure of the Indian Railways has been divided into 17 zones, ie. Central Railway, Northern Railway, South Eastern Railway, and such, for ease of administration and thereby recruitment. Each zone is headed by a General Manager (GM), reporting to the Railway Board, which in turn is supervised by the Ministry of Railways.

Every zone has 10 Functional Branches, or departments, that take care of the major functional categories of the railways – its personnel, maintenance, safety, traffic, telecommunication, etc.

There are also 6 Production Units, Central Organization for Railway Electrification Allahabad, the Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO Lucknow), Railway Staff College, workshops, and other public-sector undertakings like the IRCTC, that are also part of the Indian Railways organizational umbrella.

As one can imagine, railway employees can range from non-specialized, or non-technical, positions like helpers, porters, to highly administrative, or specialized engineering, roles as officers in one of the functional areas of the railway system.

The recruitment process, therefore, is divided into personnel selection responsibilities between the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) that is responsible for hiring the lower grade staff (also known as Class III or IV) and the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which conducts exams to control the hiring into the higher grades (Class I).