Railway Minister Lalu Prasad will be studied at the premier Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, (IIM-A) for his "street-smart attitude" and "corporate perspective" that helped in scripting the success story of Indian Railways.
Management students at Harvard University learnt last month of the changes in railway operations brought about by Lalu Prasad, resulting in greater profits for the ministry in the last one year.
IIM-A professor G Raghuraman, a keen researcher of the Indian rail network, made his presentation at Harvard. Now his case study is being given final touches before being introduced at IIM-A.
Raghuraman says Lalu Prasad has given a "pleasantly surprising" boost to enhancing the income and capacity of Indian Railways.
"Lalu has given a fresh air to the railway department. The minister and (his officer on special duty) have brought in a corporate perspective to the highly departmentalised set-up," Raghuraman said.
The expert is all praise for the fast-paced initiatives and innovative ideas of the minister and his aide to utilise optimally the assets of the railways.
"The increase in net profit was brought about by implementing changes in freight, which accounts for more than 70 percent of total business," he said.
Raghuraman, known as "Rail Raghu" among students, has been studying Indian Railways and transportation for three decades.
"The minister's street-smart attitude has resulted in this benefit," he said. "Nobody in the history of the department has initiated changes in such fast pace."
But what will the management trainees learn?
"Obviously this is not something new for them. But this study of mine is the first holistic one. I plan to present the case before them," said Raghuraman.
The students are expected to raise questions and seek answers regarding the plans implemented and changes initiated by the railway ministry.
While stressing that Indian Railways still needs several changes to become more efficient, Raghuraman is not very optimistic of the progress continuing once the duo of Lalu Prasad and aide Sudheer Kumar move out.
Why is Lalu Prasad, otherwise known for his 15-year mismanagement of Bihar, so keen to improve the railways?
"I think he must have taken the present task as an opportunity to prove his abilities and improve his image," mused the professor.