Noted economist Bibek Debroy – chairman of the newly constituted committee on rail restructuring – indicated on Saturday that the public transporter’s organisational revamp exercise will begin in the next few months.
“Issues and problems are well known and elaborately documented. Without revisiting all aspects all over again, this committee will focus on a specific and an implementable model of organisational reforms to modernise the Indian Railways,” Debroy said in his first interview after assuming charge as head of the railways panel.
While ruling out possibilities of the “privatisation” of rail operations, Debroy hinted that committee would work in the direction of providing the framework for a bigger engagement for private players including foreign investors and other stakeholders in the policy making and working of the Indian Railways.
“It is likely that the committee will come out with multiple reports on different themes. Before the next railway budget, the committee’s first interim report should be submitted. If the government desires, these recommendations can be implemented in a phase-wise manner”, Debroy told HT in a telephonic interview.
Recommendations of several experts committees including the Prakash Tandon Committee of 1994 and the Rakesh Mohan Committee of 2001 have been gathering dust in past years.
“The reform programme of the Railways is high on the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and railways minister DV Sadananda Gowda. No question of the committee recommendations not being implemented”, Debroy asserted.
After the committee’s first meeting being scheduled in early October, the expert’s panel will invite suggestions of customers engaged in freight and passenger business and other stake-holders on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.