Railway Board drawing up plan to restructure and rightsize Indian Railways

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is drawing up a plan to restructure and rightsize the mammoth organisation.

The restructuring exercise, beginning with the Railway Board, seeks to ensure better efficiency while avoiding cross-departmental frictions, said an official. “We want to put the right people in the right place to improve efficiencies of the Indian Railways. This will ensure better HR practices in the organisation,” the official said.

Rightsizing is among the priority areas of the 100-day action plan approved by railway minister Piyush Goyal. The ministry is looking at bringing in criterion such as strong delivery, performance and leadership qualities for positions such as DRMs, GMs and Board Members.

“This will reduce cross-departmental friction by doing away with silos and making people talk both horizontally and vertically across the organisation. That is the main aim,” said another official.

The restructuring would be followed largely on the recommendations made by the Bibek Debroy Committee on Indian Railways, said the official. “We will make a detailed report and follow the recommendations of the committee, but with some modifications. It is not sacrosanct,” the official said.

The committee had in its report presented in 2015 said the centralised structure and departmentalisation of the Indian Railways was adversely affecting the railways’ work culture and narrowing its approach to department-specific goals.

About ‘rightsizing’, one official said there are too many people doing the same job at present in the Railways. “We may look at reshuffling people to departments that need more workforce,” the official said. This assumes significance as the ministry charts a plan to ‘corporatise’ various verticals of the national transporter, essentially adopting best practices of the corporate sector for improving efficiency.

The ministry also has plans to undertake the technological revamp of the working of the Indian Railways.