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  • Government plans to change laws to make Aadhar voluntary to open a bank account or get a mobile connection
  • MP CM Kamal Nath says that incentives will be given only to those companies that hire a minimum of 70% of their manpower from local people of the state
  • Chhattisgarh CM says SIT will be set up to probe the Bastar massacre which killed top Congress leaders in the state in May 2013
  • Farm loan waiver spree: Both Kamal Nath, MP CM and Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh CM, waive loans given to farmers
  • Government expands Ujjwala scheme, in which free LPG connection was till now provided to BPL families, to include all poor families
  • Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar gets life imprisonment in the 1984 Sikh massacre case in Delhi
  • India will host the Maldives President Ibrahim Solih on a three-day state visit from today
  • Triple talaq bill to be placed in LS today
  • Trains suspended, highways closed as separatists plan stir at Army camp in J&K
  • M K Stalin proposes Rahul Gandhi as leader of united front of opposition parties
  • Bhupesh Baghel to be Chhattisgarh CM, to take oath on Monday
  • NGT orders reopening of Sterlite's Tuticorin plant. TN may challenge the order in SC
  • Bengal government denies permission to BJP to hold a rath yatra in the state, citing adverse intelligence reports about chances of communal disturbances
  • Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, chairman of PAC, says AG and CAG would be summoned before the committe over Rafale deal. Majority of other members refuse to toe the line
  • Congress high command still not able to decide on Chhattisgarh CM, may announce the name tomorrow
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Railway Board: Cutting the Flab

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The railways ministry has done well to trim the size of the Railway Board. There is no doubt that the board is bloated and heavily overstaffed. More than 500 officers have been stationed at the headquarters in Delhi, ostensibly to oversee the massive rail movement all over the country. But isn’t the Board the highest policy making body in the organization? Then, should it not have regional offices in all the railway zones where these officers will be able to better implement the policy and be in direct touch with field staff?

With a rise in number of accidents, with schedules going awry through late running of trains and with projects getting delayed, everything cannot be controlled from Delhi. Recognizing this, the Board has approved setting up of regional offices in all 17 zonal headquarters and shunting out more than half the officers from the cozy confines of Lutyen’s Delhi.

The ministry had already delegated substantial financial, administrative and operational powers to officers in the field. This was done to increase efficiency, cut down on costs and streamline operations. With the present decision, further powers will be delegated to the officers who will be posted in Board offices in the zones. After this, the ministry will just oversee the broader aspects of policy making.

While a majority of the officers seem to be unhappy at the turn of events, this is in line with best practices around the world that prescribe trimmer top body with delegation of power to the field officers. It helps in setting up a clear chain of command. It also helps in dealing with day to day affairs at the field level. It has become a racket for zonal officers to lobby for a plum posting in the Board at Delhi. The Railways would be better off if this is stopped and the officers are made to sweat it out in the zones.

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