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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Railway fever

The multiplicity of cadres in the railways never ceases to amuse me. If the entire country can be governed by a single three letter service, why cant the railways be run by a single "Indian Railway Service"? Why do we need nine central services to (mis)handle a single organization? This has resulted in a scenario where the railways does not have a single railway officer, what it has are only departmental officers with myopic vision. The departmental officers are therefore unable to grow into a true railway officer, ie one who has an overall vision. And therefore we continue to have decisions with departmental bias, that unfortunately are, with few exceptions of-course, detrimental to the overall well being of the railway system.

Another question that has haunted me ever since I joined this great organization is whether we are a pure sarkari department or a commercial organization. The lack of clarity on this subject is perhaps as damaging to the system as is the multiplicity of the services. Either way, we should have been doing much better.

There is absolutely no doubt that the railways is today, perhaps the most visible symbol of dynamic delivery in a nation where almost all other sarkari organizations have failed to deliver to expectations. It is still a great organization, the economic lifeline of the nation and on a relative basis, is doing fairly well. But looking at the overall scenario in absolute terms makes me lament at our gross inability to capitalize on the tremendous potential for growth and development that this great organization possesses.

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