Railways to prune board by 25% to up efficiency

Image used for representation. PTI Photo

The Indian Railways has decided to prune its board by 25%, cutting down its strength from 200 to 150 by transferring senior officials to zonal railways in a long-pending move to enhance efficiency, sources said on Sunday.

"Currently, there are 200 director-level and above officials in the Railway Board, of which 50 will be transferred to zonal railways. This was long overdue as it was felt that too many people were doing similar jobs and senior officials were needed in zones to increase efficiency," said a source.

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 restructuring of the Railway Board was also recommended by the Bibek Debroy Committee in 2015. The panel had said that the Railways' centralised structure and departmentalisation were adversely affecting its work culture and narrowing its approach to department-specific goals.

Goyal, in his recent meeting with top Railways officials, discussed the issue of excess employees in the organisation.

"There is overstaffing in the Railways. All senior officers should review the same and the surplus staff should be used only for operational work," said the minutes of the meeting.

The minister directed the officials to review the strength and deployment of peons/multi-tasking staff. "Only bare minimum staff should be used," Goyal said.

The Railways is struggling to increase revenue and cut down expenditure on workforce. The national transporter, which has over 13 lakh employees, is spending 70% of its operating expenses on staff salaries and pensions. The expenditure on salaries has been gradually increasing with a significant jump every few years due to pay commission revisions.

Despite aggressive computerisation and automation in a number of sectors, the Railways last year hired over one lakh employees, mostly in operational and safety sectors. It plans to hire around 2 lakh people this year too.

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