Bibek Debroy heads panel on restructuring Railway Board

The government has set up a panel of experts headed by Bibek Debroy, economist with the Centre for Policy Research, to recommend ways of restructuring the Railway Board, the highest decision-making body of Indian Railways.

The committee has been asked to submit a report suggesting strategies on restructuring the Railway Board in a year's time.

Other members on the panel are Gurcharan Das, Ravi Narain (former CEO of National Stock Exchange), KM Chandrashekhar (former cabinet secretary), Partha Mukhopadhyay (Centre for Policy Research) and Rajendra Kashyap (former finance commissioner of the Railways).

The committee will also have an additional member nominated by the Department of Economic Affairs.

The restructuring of the Railway Board is intended to ensure faster decision-making besides ensuring objectivity in decision-making.

The panel will also look at ways of raising finances for development of railways. It will estimate the financial requirement of the railways and suggest ways to generate resources. The board will also examine ways to set up a Rail Tariff Authority.

Besides, the committee would suggest ways of ensuring migration of officials between railways and other departments.

The panel will work out ways to separate policy making and implementation in the Railway Board so that it does not work in isolation.

Railway minister Sadananda Gowda had said in the Rail Budget that the present set of the Board had become ''unwieldy''.

''…at the moment, the Railway Board, due to overlapping roles of policy formulation and implementation, has become unwieldy. Therefore, I propose to separate these two functions,'' Gowda had said in his speech.