All Senior Railway Officials asked to relieve Staff working as Domestic Help in their Homes

Railway Board ends 36-year-old protocol to do away with VIP culture in ministry. Move as per the new Guidelines issued by the Railway Ministry

NEW DELHI: The Railway Ministry has issued new guidelines for senior officials to end “excessive protocol” and ‘VIP culture’ in India’s national transportation system. The Railway Board has announced to do away with a 36-year-old protocol that encourages VIP culture in the ministry, PTI reported on Sunday. As part of a massive overhaul of the culture in the ministry, the board has said it was no longer mandatory for general managers to be present on arrival and departure of the Railway Board chairperson and other senior members during their zonal visits.

Instructions under a 1981 circular that mandated such a protocol has been withdrawn with immediate effect, the Railways Ministry said in an order passed on September 28. Railway Board Chairperson Ashwani Lohani said officials should also no longer be presented with bouquets and gifts.

The order further states that senior officials of the ministry have to relieve junior staff who work as domestic help at their homes. Around 30,000 employees trackmen are engaged as domestic help in households of senior officials, PTI reported quoting unidentified officials.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has also instructed senior officials to refrain from travelling in executive class compartments, and rather travel in sleeper and AC 3-tier classes. This will help them mingle with other passengers, according to Goyal.

“Guidelines have been established to end the excessive protocol, where the unauthorised workers have been asked to resume their duties,” a railway official told.

All senior officials have been asked to relieve all the railway staff who have been working as domestic help in their homes.

On asking about the reports of about 30,000 trackmen working at the homes of senior officials, the Railway Official rejected the reports saying, “Many unauthorized workers have been thrown out, and about 3000-4000 such people were involved. There are no specific numbers but it is definitely not 30,000.”

The official also said that Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani’s indication to end the offering of bouquets and gifts have been implemented as well.

“Ashwani Lohani had said that giving of gifts and bouquets should be stopped. Any kind of excessive protocol, gifts, excessive celebration will end and officials have been asked to focus solely be on their work,” the Railway official added.

Speaking on reports that senior officials have been asked to restrain from luxurious or executive traveling, and instead traverse through sleeper class or third tier, the official said that no rule of this kind has been effectuate.

“The senior officials can use saloons, or travel however they want, for official purpose or inspection, and there is no stoppage on that,” the official insisted.

The official, however, added that a guideline has been issued where the officials have been asked to visit and travel in the lower class to understand the ground situation.

“The senior officials have been asked to travel by lower class once in a quarter to understand the ground situation,” the railway official said.

The railway official added that senior officials’ guideline had nothing to do with travel purpose, but to work to access the ground situation and talk to the staffers to understand the situation.

Lohani, in a letter dated August 28, said to employees that the Indian Railways had suffered a “serious dent” in the recent past.

“I personally believe in avoiding any frills in the form of bouquets, gifts, lavish celebrations, excessive protocol etc. These divert our attention from our primary responsibilities, hard core work and severely damage the organization also. Our focus needs to be on deliverance and deliverance alone,” he said.

It is no longer mandatory for general managers to be present on arrival and departure of the Railway Board members during their zonal visits.