NEW DELHI :
The 114-year-old Railway Board’s strength will be cut from eight to five, while the eight railway-related wings will be merged into a single central service called the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) within a year, according to reforms approved by the Union cabinet on Tuesday.
“This will end the culture of working in ‘silos’ and mark the beginning of a new and unified railway with a coherent vision for the future," the government said in statement.
The Railway Board—the apex decision making body of the Indian Railways—will be headed by a chairman, who will be the chief executive officer (CEO). There will be four other members, in charge of infrastructure, rolling stock, finance and operations, and business development. Railway minister Piyush Goyal said there will be some “outside talent", independent members, comprising experts with over 30 years of experience, helping the Board to set a “strategic direction".
The chairman will be the cadre controlling officer responsible for human resources (HR) with assistance from a DG (HR). The Indian Railway Medical Service (IRMS) will be renamed the Indian Railway Health Service (IRHS).
The unification of services will end “departmentalism", promote smooth working of railways, expedite decisionmaking, create a coherent vision for organisation and promote rational decision making, Goyal told reporters, adding that the move will not have any impact on employee strength.
Departmentalism in Indian Railways has been marked by inefficiency and fighting over control of assets and resources, leading to delays in decisionmaking. Unification of services is expected to promote rational decisionmaking.
All the remaining posts of the Railway Board shall be open to all officers regardless of the service to which they belong, thus ensuring equal opportunity for all, Goyal added.
The creation of the IRMS will be done in consultation with the department of personnel and training and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to facilitate recruitment.
The modalities and unification of the services will be worked out by the ministry of railways in consultation with the department of personnel and training (DoPT) and approved by an alternative mechanism appointed by the cabinet. The process shall be completed within a year.
These measures were first recommended 25 years ago. Since then, various committees, including the Prakash Tandon Committee in 1994, Rakesh Mohan Committee (2001), Sam Pitroda Committee (2012) and Bibek Debroy Committee (2015), had been pushing for it but to no effect.