New Delhi: Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu has roped in noted industrialist Ratan Tata to head a new innovation council called “Kaya Kalp” he proposes to set up to turn around the ailing state-run rail network.
Sources said Tata had agreed to head the council announced in the rail budget, which will recommend ways to reform the creaking public service transporter that ferries some 23 million passengers a day.
“The committee’s terms of reference are being finalised and will be notified within the next few days,” sources said.
Former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai is likely to be a member of the innovation council, which will also include the general secretaries of the two major railway unions.
The general secretary of the All India Railway Men Federation, Shiva Gopal Mishra, confirmed he had received an offer letter and sources said an offer has also been sent to National Federation of Indian Railways General Secretary Marri Raghavaiah. But Rai told “he had not been approached so far”.
In 2009, then Aviation Minister Praful Patel had reportedly approached Tata to head an international advisory board to suggest ways to turn around Air India. Tata, who was then the chairman of Tata Group from 1991 to 2012, had not accepted the offer.
About Ratan Tata:
Ratan Naval Tata (born 28 December 1937) is an Indian businessman and Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons. He was the Chairman of Tata Group, a Mumbai-based conglomerate from 1991–2012. He stepped down as the Chairman of Tata Group, (their office is in Fort) on 28 December 2012 but continues as the Chairman of the Group’s charitable trusts.
Ratan did his schooling at the Campion School at Colaba in Mumbai and finished his secondary education at the Cathedral and John Connon School. He completed his B.S. in architecture with Structural Engineering from Cornell University in 1962, and the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School in 1975.
Tata began his career in the Tata group in 1961. He initially started on the shop floor of Tata Steel, shovelling limestone and handling the blast furnace. In 1991, J.R.D. Tata stepped down as Chairman of Tata Sons, naming Ratan as his successor.
Under his stewardship, Tata Tea acquired Tetley, Tata Motors acquired Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel acquired Corus, which have turned Tata from a largely India-centric company into a global business, with 65% revenues coming from abroad. He was instrumental in the development of Tata Nano, largely dubbed as the world’s cheapest passenger car.
Ratan Tata retired from all executive responsibility in the Tata group on 28 December 2012, his 75th birthday, and he was succeeded by Cyrus Mistry, the 44-year-old son of Pallonji Mistry and Managing Director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group.
Ratan Tata has retired but he is still seen working. Recently, he invested his personal savings in Snapdeal- one of India’s leading e-commerce website. Mr Tata is working closely with Jaguar Land Rover and some of the new models launched by the British marquee have several inputs from Mr Tata.
Board Memberships and Affiliations:
He is currently the Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons. He continues to serve as the Chairman of the main two Tata trusts Sir Darobji Tata Trust and Sir Ratan Tata Trust and their allied Trusts, which together hold 66% of shares in the group holding company Tata Sons.
Ratan Tata has served in various capacities in organisations in India and abroad. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry and the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council. He is on the jury panel of Pritzker Architecture Prize – considered to be one of the world’s premier architecture prizes.
Ratan Tata is a Director on the Boards of Alcoa Inc., Mondelez International and Board of Governors of the East-West Center. He is also a Member of the Board of Trustees of University of Southern California, Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors, X prize and Cornell University.
Ratan Tata is also a member of the Harvard Business School India Advisory Board (IAB) since 2006, and previously a member of the Harvard Business School Asia-Pacific Advisory Board (APAB) 2001-2006.
Honours and Awards:
Ratan Tata received the Padma Vibhushan in 2008 and Padma Bhushan in 2000, the second and third highest civilian honours awarded by the Government of India.
The other notable awards are: