Joshi faces uphill task of clearing projects amid uncertainty

Joshi faces uphill task of clearing projects amid uncertainty

It may not be an easy task for Transport Minister C P Joshi, who is expected to take charge of railway ministry on Monday, to handle the additional task as the CBI’s ongoing investigation into “cash-for-appointment” scam and the exit of Pawan Kumar Bansal has left an air of fear and suspicion in the ministry.

In an atmosphere where most of the officials are doubting the political leadership, Joshi may find it an uphill task to decide on fast-track projects. After the fall of a person like Bansal, who was perceived to be clean, officials are not ready to rely on anyone. 

“It is difficult to know who is clean and who is not. We never imagined Bansal would turn out be such a tainted person. Even Mahesh Kumar was held in high esteem, he was considered efficient and upright,”  All India Railwaymen’s Federation General Secretary Shuv Gopal Mihsra told Deccan Herald. However, the Railway Ministry has many new projects which require immediate intervention and Joshi has certainly been given its reins to take decisions and implement them without further delay.

Selected carefully

It is clear that Prime Minster Manmohan Singh has taken utmost care in selecting a minister for holding additional charge. He has picked a pro-liberalisation politician to execute the job.

Joshi has proved his adherence to reform policies in transport ministry and has been picked from among some strong Sonia Gandhi loyalists, including Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge both of whom are known for their reservations about reform policies.

Joshi’s allegiance to liberal policies had also earned him support of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who had sought a radical change in railways to make it commercially successful.

Bansal had recently got approved from the Cabinet new guidelines for Public Private Partnership and was able to make headway in starting some long-pending projects. Joshi has to expedite some projects.

It is certain that the policy of appointing Railway Board members and general managers will see a radical change and decision making at all levels will have new elements to ensure transparency.

However, Joshi’s primary task would be to restore faith in political leadership.
Railways is yet to decide on Railway Tariff Authority which will take decisions on passenger and freight fare.

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