After lecturing management students from the Harvard and Wharton business schools on his successful turnaround strategy for pulling Indian Railways out of the red, ‘management guru’ Lalu Prasad is now all set to deliver a talk on the same subject to a group of senior civil servants , diplomats and armed forces officials from the US.
The group of 14 people, who are participating in a course for senior officials at the National Defence University of Washington,led by two proferssors from the institution,will meet the Railway Minister on May 1 during their visit to India, according to sources.
“This is not just about running the railways.We are establishing a new paradigm of government,” said a top official at the Railway Ministry.The senior bureaucrats and service officials are keen to study how the Indian Railways has become a growth model suiting the socio-economic conditions of a vast developing country like India, he added.
The Americans are intrigued by this model which is vastly different from theirs where downsizing and retrenchments are commonly resorted to for making companies profitable, according to the official.Lalu prides himself on having achieved a profit of Rs 20,000 crore for Railways without having to hike passenger fares or retrench employees.
Meanwhile, mandarins at the Ministry are jubilant over the fact that the Indian Railways has managed to achieve a higher credit rating than even the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in the international markets from where it has raised a loan of $ 125 million or Rs 500 crore for investing in its rolling stock.
"In the international market, the best borrowing rate has always been given to Reliance Industries.The Railways has now borrowed at a rate of 5.94 per cent which is 36 basis points less than Reliance Industries,”said an official.
This is an excellent image-boosting for Indian Railways in the international markets from where it would have to raise funds to the tune of $ 30 billion in the next two years for building its ambitious Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project.