The budget may well contain Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s signature, but the credit for producing the detailed, voluminous document in a short time also goes to her core team of bureaucrats.
Officials had already done the preparatory work before she sat down with them and went through the draft document — across continuous day and night sessions at Rail Bhavan last week — before giving it her final approval.
Banerjee has been railway minister for over a month. But her preoccupation with West Bengal politics has mostly kept her out of New Delhi during the period. Having been railway minister before, however, she has been able to work efficiently with the existing bureaucratic set-up.
Banerjee has also inducted officials she trusts into the ministry. For instance, Gautam Sanyal — a Central Secretariat Service (CSS) officer — was lately inducted as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD).
Sanyal was last posted as joint secretary in the Ministry of Food Processing. He was part of Banerjee’s core team when she was last railway minister in 2000.
No doubt, Banerjee herself provided the broad picture, but Sanyal is understood to have chipped in with useful tips.
Banerjee also requisitioned the services of J K Saha from Eastern Railways at Kolkata and attached him to her office as executive director (public greivances). Several suggestions on the “aam aadmi” thrust in the budget are understood to have come in from Saha.
Tapan Roy and Rattan Mukherjee are the other two individuals handpicked by Banerjee and posted as additional private secretaries in the ministry. Both are said to have chipped in with excellent inputs.
S S Khurana, chairman, Railways Board, and other members of the board burnt the midnight oil too.
Other executive directors to play key roles were Anjali Goel, Mukesh Nigam and Chandralekha Mukherjee.