The dust is yet to settled on the debate about the scrapping of the railway budget, but tech-guru Sam Pitroda has opened up another front by pitching strongly for the complete “organizational transformation” of the “complex and monolithic” structure of the railways.
Convinced that the existing structure was leading to “severe operational, institutional and governance disabilities”, Pitroda has recommended the setting up of a “governance board of railways” as a super body comprising representatives from the government, civil society, users (freight and passengers), financers, suppliers, PPP partners and unions.
The management board of the railways — or the present all-powerful railway board — will be made accountable to the “governance board”, if Pitroda's plans are implemented.
These proposals are contained in a report by the Pitroda-headed “experts group for the modernization of Indian railways”, expected to be submitted to railways minister Dinesh Trivedi next week.
“If Pitroda's plans for bringing about an organizational transformation assists the goal of eliminating ministerial interference in the functioning of the railways, they are laudatory”, former railway board member RC Acharya said.
The Pitroda-committee has recommended a clear-cut separation of roles relating to policy, management and the regulation of the railways. “To bring about the transformation, a new legislation would need to be framed”, says the draft report.
Ahead of the last year's rail budget, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had opened up the Pandora's Box by floating the idea of clubbing the railway budget with the general budget.