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Monday, April 16, 2012

Railway blues!

That authority and accountability should never go hand in hand is a theory practiced to perfection in the great railway system of the country. With the field levels totally dis-empowered, the so called power vests only in the hands of those who are never answerable for day to day or even long term operations. Is it not strange that not even one executive in the entire railway system can boast of even minimal financial authority in his domain and all decision makers have to be at the mercy of the backroom boys?

I find it difficult to accept that a guy who is just not responsible, besides being less committed, less knowledgeable and maybe of integrity levels lower than the executive, almost always sits on judgement on issues related to execution. This system is just not acceptable and warrants a change, if a change has to be brought about in the organization.

Why such a major dichotomy is not even visible to the top echelons defies logic?

The ivory tower approach is failing the railways day in and day out. Being as far removed from ground realities as possible is what the railway bureaucracy has wisely learnt. For it is only when one is far removed from ground realities, that the art of sermonizing can be safely and conveniently practiced. And the sermons are varied and plenty for it costs nothing to create and dispense them far and wide.

Evaluations, not based on results, but on attributes is another deadly trait adopted and regularly practiced by the upper bureaucratic crust of this monolith. This ensures that the emphasis remains confined only to processes with the objectives conveniently fading away till they are hardly remembered. The counter productive proliferation of inspection notes being issued by all and sundry and senseless counselling sessions of the field level staff are the most visible offshoots of the deadliness of this widely practiced trait. This one trait has successfully brought amazing levels of distortions in the system that is now almost at a standstill, but for the sincerity and loyalty of the supervisory cadre of the railways.

Too many of us in the upper crust, busy ruining well established practices and the system, yet downsizing unfortunately remaining confined to the supervisory and lower levels that are already reeling under massive shortages.

Hats off to the railway bureaucracy for achieving perfection in the fine art of appearing busy without an iota of deliverance.



  1. It will be injustice to single out Rly.s, rather the true statement is that we have miserably failed all systems well run by the british to govern us.
    When the glorified babu's take all decisions sitting in their ac chambers, how can they be expected to deliver for change.
    they want change for their comfort. perhaps these days they must be praying for change of gaurd read u.

  2. This is called mental corruption, Mr Turnaround!You just turn around and see, its omnipotent..... The boses are corrupt!!! Agreed! Did you ever had interface with a peon or clerk of government department, in the capacity of common man? From the level of rudeness of these people you can understand that they think they are prime ministers.

    You know what is the problem.... its SECURITY. Take the 'SECURITY' out of government job and people shall start behaving and working properly. They think that nobody except their bosses can oust them. So they are busy pleasing the bosses and misbehaving with common people.

    Have you heard the story of Akbar-birbal and Brinjal? When Akbar said Brinjal is best vegetable, Birbal said it is the best and when Akbar said it the worst, he said it is the worst. When asked why he chewed his words, Birbal replied, i am your servant and not Brinjals'. Same is the story in government system, my dear.
    I appreciate your spirit, "but to do good, you must have power to do wrong also". Meaning, if you can influence the government and change the policies and system of working, by hook or crook, then i will really appreciate.

    All the best

  3. The idea in the comments on April 18 is negative viewing of the system. The change is possible. Every one has to change. Security means security of livelihood. Work has to be done. Peon or clerks are rude because, maybe, you are asking the wrong person for the favours he cannt give. He may have tackled similar situations a number of times before he encounter you. He is a human being. Have you ever closely watched a counter clerk dealing with public for any service. I am sure NOOOOOT. He serves a thousand people daily. Every person is not pleasant in words and tone. He thinks the counter person is his personal slave. How can you expect him to remain Un-irritated always & daily.
    My dear commenter- Akbar Birbal stories are there but just see them through a glass of reality and understand them from the others views. Just turn around the way you see the things. Most of the times others would say the same thing for you as you say for others.

    Keep smiling. If you can'nt change the world, change the way you see them.