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Govt to break 150-yr tradition, gives nod to Railway board restructuring

By Shine Jacob
December 25, 2019 15:33 IST

The new board will have a leaner structure on functional lines headed by the chairman and four members - covering infrastructure, operations and business development, rolling stock, and finance.

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday gave approval to restructuring of the Railway board through merger of its existing eight Group A services into a central service called the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS).

The new board will have a leaner structure on functional lines headed by the chairman and four members - covering infrastructure, operations and business development, rolling stock, and finance.

 

In addition, the board will also include sectoral experts from industry, finance, economics, and management fields.

Moving in corporate lines, the chairman will now be called as chief executive officer.

The government is seeing this as a reform, breaking a 150-year-old tradition of ‘working in silos’ that can remove departmental tussles, seen as a roadblock in fast decision making.

“Unification of services will end ‘departmentalism’ and promote smooth working of Railways, expedite decision making, create a coherent vision for organisation and promote rational decision making,” Piyush Goyal, minister of Railways, told the media.

This is also considered as the removal of another colonial tradition, after the decision to merge the Railway Budget with the Union Budget in September 2016.

However, experts indicate that the merger of the services may not be a wise move, as compared to the Budget merger.

“The concept by the government is to have one organisational goal, rather than having agendas set by departments.

"However, the Railways has a lot of specialised areas.

"For example, a mechanical or civil engineer cannot be in charge of finance department and vice versa.

"Hence, there may be technical difficulty for its implementation,” said V N Mathur, former member (traffic) of the Railway Board.

The government has lined up a massive infrastructure development plan of Rs 50 trillion to modernise the national transporter in the next 12 years - improving safety, speed, and services.

This requires speedy decision making by various departments.

Photograph: PTI Photo

Shine Jacob in New Delhi
Source: source
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