New Delhi: The innovation council of the railways, headed by industrialist Ratan Tata, met for the first time on Wednesday. Close cooperation and incremental improvements across various aspects of railways will mark the working of the council, said Tata who chaired the meeting.

The council, called Kaya Kalp, was formed by Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu to help the national carrier innovate and reinvent its practices.

“The council would work in close cooperation with everybody concerned and be on the same page for the betterment of Indian Railway and would not be in conflict with anybody as there is shared objective of making railway better," said Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Sons Ltd, according to a press statement issued by the railways ministry.

Tata said it will be useful to showcase improvements, even in small increments, in various aspects such as equipment, processes, procedures and consumer acceptance.

The council discussed ways to identify global benchmarks for operations and maintenance of railways, instituting a reward for providing technical solution to problems peculiar to the railways and terms of reference of the council, said the statement.

The other members of the council are S.G. Mishra, general secretary, All India Railway Federation (AIRF), M. Raghaviah, general secretary, National Federation of Indian Railways (NFIR), Ragni Yechury, executive director (industrial relations), Railway Board, and Dr. Madukar Sinha, executive director (Innovation), Railway Board. AIRF and NFIR are railway unions recognized by the government.

The railway minister, speaking at the meeting, said the challenge for the Indian Railways was to strike a balance between fulfilling its social obligation of providing affordable travel facilities to the public on one hand and working as a commercial organization earning profit on the other.

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