Cabinet prompts Railways for major reforms & to merge RVNL & Ircon, Rail Tel & IRCTC

The Cabinet Secretariat has asked the Ministry of Railways to act upon a chain of recommendations along with a merger of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd into IRCON, of Rail Tel into IRCTC, and a takeover of Braithwaite & Co Ltd by RITES.

Recently, the Cabinet Secretariat has asked the Ministry of Railways to act upon a chain of recommendations along with a merger of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd into IRCON, of Rail Tel into IRCTC, and a takeover of Braithwaite & Co Ltd by RITES.

These proposals are a part of a document on rationalization of government bodies organized via way of means of Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, after studying the structure and distribution of Railways ministry.

The proposals are extensive, ranging, and now no longer restricted to PSUs: bringing 94 schools run by Railways under the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan (KVS), upgrading 125 Railway Hospitals — most of them under-invested — through an institutional mechanism and opening those to the general public at large. Wherever appropriate, it indicates a PPP (public-private partnership) version for schools and hospitals run via way of means of the Railways.

This will assist the company consciousness on its core competence of running and preserving the railway service. In a recent note sent to the Railways, the Cabinet Secretariat has asked Suneet Sharma, Chairman, and CEO, Railway Board, to update it on the actions taken at the recommendations withinside the first week of every month.

On consolidation of PSUs, Sanyal’s report said that each IRCON – a specialized infrastructure construction company, and RVNL which implements initiatives to create and increase rail infrastructure capacity on a fast-track basis, have comparable business functions. Hence, it has been stated RVNL can be merged into IRCON.

Highlighting the overlaps between Rail Tel, a big telecom infra company through optic fibre networks alongside railway tracks, IRCTC, a mini ratna, whose centre interest is internet ticketing, and CRIS, an independent society to develop software program for passenger ticketing, freight invoicing, passenger train operations, etc, the report encouraged that CRIS be wound up after handing over its work to IRCTC, and then Rail Tel be merged into IRCTC.

The report called for setting up a brand new public zone enterprise to maintain the 3 coach factories in Chennai, Kapurthala and Rae-Bareli, locomotive units in Chittaranjan, Varanasi, and Patiala, and rail wheel units in Yelahanka (Bengaluru) and Bela in Bihar. All the property can be transferred to this CPSE, and employees deployed to the proposed enterprise in a phased manner.

Between Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), a statutory company with whole powers of station development, land monetization and contract management, and Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd, a joint mission among RLDA and IRCON, the Sanyal report stated one should be recognized as a sole functioning entity and given complete responsibility.

The document additionally recommends that the Railways Board and the Ministry of Railways pull out of direct involvement in Indian Railway Welfare Organisation, a society set to offer to the house to serving and retired employees. IRWO be handled as a privately run body. Both the board and the ministry need to work at an arm’s period from IRWO, it stated.

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