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Press Release - Indian Railways
  • A country like India needs and deserves a modern and efficient Railway system.  Despite a serious attempt by the Government to create capacity and modernize Railways quickly, the results have been less than satisfactory, the main reason being current organizational structure of the Railways which is vertically divided from top to bottom in terms of eight departments, is not capable of taking and implementing decisions speedily.
  • It is common knowledge that departmentalism has been a bane of the Railways’ functioning. Adverse effect of departmentalism manifest through a lack of a coherent vision for achieving excellence in the delivery of essential service to the public.  More often than not, departmentalism results in delay and distortion in decision-making leading to sub-optimal outcomes for the public. Various committees in the past had recommended unification of the services but the inherent complexity of the task had deterred the Government from taking action.
  • The decision by the current Government to undertake the task exemplifies the resolve to take the big decision keeping the future of Railways in mind.  A decision was taken after extensive consultation with the officers in a 2-day conference called Parivartan Sangoshti held in Delhi on 7th & 8th December, 2019 in which all officers of the Zonal and Divisional Railways also took part through a video link.
  • The reform programme envisaged by the Government and approved by the Cabinet has the following three pillars:
Down-sizing and rationalizing the Railway Board from a 9 Member Board to a 5 Member Board with formal authority of a CEO to the Chairman, Railway Board and re-alignment of the Board Members’ functions on functional rather than departmental lines.

The Board Members would be designated as Member Infrastructure, Member Traction and Rolling Stock, Member Operations and Business Development and Member Finance.  All these posts will be open to all eligible officers rather than being encadered for and confined to officers of a single cadre. The important function of HR will directly be discharged by Chairman, Railway Board with the assistance of a DG/HR.

Recruitment of a single service through UPSC Civil Services in the future

Design of a rational formula to integrate and unify all the eight organized services into a common pool of executives.

  • Recruitment of a single service is under discussion which the Government and with UPSC, the contours will be finalized soon.
  • Let there be no doubt that the Government is fully alive to the need to balance the requirements of specializations needed and development of a common coherent goal for the organisation.  Neither requirement will be sacrificed. 
  • Recruitment to a single Civil Services would be made alongwith necessary organizational changes.  It will foster a culture of excellence in service delivery at all levels.
  • The Government is also fully aware that the last task namely integration of the existing eight services alongwith the integration of the promotion from Group B to Group A is by its nature a very difficult challenge. That is why the government has not taken any decision on it yet but has remitted the decision on the matter to a Group of Ministers (Alternate Mechanism).

Government has taken the first and significant step in the direction of implementing the reform exercise of restructuring of Indian Railways by constituting a Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary. It will include Chairman Railway Board, Secretary DOPT and Secretary Department of Expenditure.

This Committee will assist the Group of Ministers

  • It goes without saying that the final decision in the matter will be taken after consultation with all the officers and if need be by providing the default option to existing officers continuing in their existing services till they gain confidence to voluntarily opt for the unified service.
  • The Government is also aware that a section of the officers, especially those belonging to Civil Services, have made representations against the service reform proposal. Time and again, their concerns have been addressed and their fears assuaged by Chairman, Railway Board.
  • There is increasing realization now on everybody’s part that the reform proposal would not only safeguard and promote the interest of the Railway officers, it would also help build a vibrant Railway organisation which would be one of the best in the world.
  • The modalities for unification and assignment of inter se seniority and due weightage to specialisation and other related aspects are yet to be decided. It will be decided by an alternative mechanism. All the stakeholders including affected officers will be taken on board in finalising these modalities. It will be ensured that no one will be at disadvantage.
  • It is a bold and visionary move towards modernization of Indian Railways which was long pending till now and it would help in creating a world class Railways which would provide citizens with excellent service and safety and accelerate the economic development of the nation.