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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Constant Change

That it is possible to do things even in a complex organization like the "not so great" Indian Railways is a belief that got reinforced in me during my current stint with the delhi division. It is however a different matter that very often the effort required to move a molehill within the railway system may often be more than enough to move a mountain in the rest of the nation.

Yes it is true that the amount of effort I had to put in to make marginal improvements may have been more than adequate to turn around the national carrier, so be it.

A very interesting line that emerged during the new year celebration in the lawns of my office on the 2nd was that while the men on the field run the trains on the track, those sitting in offices at divisional, headquarters and Board levels run trains on paper and in the process remain sufficiently busy to believe themselves to be the movers and shakers of the railway system.

Often I get angry at the system and its constituents, but more often than that I pity them, especially the upper echelons. While the lower echelons are doing what they were ordained to do, ie run trains, the upper echelons are increasingly failing miserably in playing their assigned role. That the assigned role is not mere sycophancy or remaining busy in mundane bureaucratic chores is a fact that has not yet been appreciated by the officer community of the railways. Yes we have miserably failed, both in living up to the expectations of the organization and also completing our assigned responsibilities. And that leads to frustration, a symptom widely visible in the upper echelons of the organization.

The railway bureaucracy needs to radically change the way it works or else the organization shall ultimately collapse under its own weight and complexities. The existing processes need to be consigned to the flames and new ones evolved. Yes, it is an accepted fact that bringing about change in the highly complex world of railways is an extremely difficult task, yet it is not an impossibility and therein lies the beacon of hope.

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