Rail men move ministry to cut graft
NEW DELHI: Corruption in the Indian Railways has emerged as a major issue troubling railwaymen, who have suggested measures to curb it. The suggestions will become part of the three-day Rail Vikas Shivir from November 18 to 20, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will talk to over 20,000 railway employees on how to transform the national transporter.
The Railways has crowd-sourced ideas of reform from its 13 lakh employees, and has received 1.5 lakh suggestions on issues ranging from cleanliness, improving passenger amenities, safety of employees, increasing earnings from freight and how to make journeys a pleasant experience for its 23 million passengers every day.
Each zone will zero in on 15-20 ideas, which will be presented before the PM during the event.
A large number of suggestions show the sorry state of affairs in the Railways, including corruption in the tendering process and need for constituting a single authority to handle projects worth several crores of rupees.
The Railways has taken measures such as decentralising the tendering processes and giving powers to general managers for allocation of projects, but there seems to be more scope for improvement.
The Swachh Bharat Mission is also a concern for railway workers, who believe a lot needs to be done to improve cleanliness and sanitation on stations and in trains.
In the last two years, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu has announced several passenger-friendly measures, but many employees say facilities provided to passengers are poor.
“We are really excited by the response received and are hopeful that the brainstorming exercise will provide workable solutions to improve the Railways,” said a senior Ministry of Railways official.
The PM wants best global experts in the Railways should attend the Rail Vikas Shivir. The PMO has asked the Ministry of External Affairs to find the best international experts.
“Indian embassies across the world have been told to find the best experts in track-laying, signalling, freight management, semi- and high-speed trains, among others,” said a senior official.
NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant will chair a session during the Rail Vikas Shivir.