Govt to trim Railway Board, transfer 25% officials to zones

The railway ministry has decided to trim the Railway Board by cutting down its strength from 200 to 150 and transfer 25 per cent of its officials, including those in the director-level and above posts, to zonal railways.

The plan, first mooted in 2000 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was intended to make the apex decision making body of the national transporter agile and efficient.
Reports citing sources said that with 200 officials, too many people in the Board were doing similar jobs while senior officials were needed in zones to increase efficiency. It was decided to reduce the Board’s strength to 150 with 50 officers of director and above level being transferred to the zonal railways.
The move was part of railway minister Piyush Goyal's 100-day agenda and a top priority for present Railway Board chairman V K Yadav. The plan is expected to be implemented shortly.
Restructuring of the Railway Board was also recommended by the Bibek Debroy Committee on Indian Railways in 2015. The panel said in its report that the Indian Railways' centralised structure and departmentalisation was adversely affecting the railways' work culture and narrowing its approach to department-specific goals.
The Railways, including the Railway Board, has always been seen as overstaffed with more people doing similar jobs. This has adversely affected the efficiency and work culture of the organisation.
However, there had been no serious attempts to review the exact number of staff actually required by the railways for efficient functioning vis a vis its financial viability.
This has more been due to a lack of political will in the past as Railways with its huge employee size was considered a vote bank.
Restructuring of the Railway Board is the beginning of an extended overhaul of the railway management structure. This will be followed by zonal review of staff and the surplus workforce on operational duty.
Railway minister Piyush Goya is learnt to have instructed Board members and general managers to review the staff strength and that only the bare minimum should be deployed.