Indian Railways ends decades-long practice of VIP culture, no privileged cosy travel for Railway officials

Indian Railways ends decades-long practice of VIP culture, no privileged cosy travel for Railway officials

New Delhi, October 14: In an unusual move, the Railway ministry has brought to an end a 36-year-old convention of where it was compulsory for general managers to show themselves on arrival and leaving of the Railway Board chairman and other board members during zonal visits.

As part of the years-long practice of privileges, common in the Railway ministry, the Railway Board has determined to do away with the guidance of 1981 notice that made such a protocol compulsory.

An order on September 28, the ministry said that the directions and guidelines assigned to the railways regarding the rules to be followed at flight as well as railway terminals during the visit of the Railway Board chairman and other board members stand removed with instant effect.

Ashwani Lohani, the Railway Board chairman said that no official will receive garlands and gifts at any time of their visit.

Nevertheless, it’s not just in the office that superior officials of the Railway Board have to exercise discipline, but also at houses. All superior officials have to release all the railway staff who have been engaged as domestic help in their homes.

Administrators say that around 30,000 labours work at the homes of superior officers. They have been asked to reassume their earlier assigned duties. Sources in the Railway ministry said that around 6,000-7,000 workers reported back to their work.

“No one will be exempted from the order to reassume their duties except under highly specific conditions. We are expecting that all the staff will join work quickly,” a senior official of the ministry said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has also asked superior administrators to give up moving in cosy saloons and administrative level journey privileges and to start moving in Sleeper and AC Three-tier classes, mingling with other travellers.

These comprise of members of the Railway Board, general managers of railway zones and divisional railway managers in each of the 50 divisions.

“I believe that when these protocols were in place, people drafting them would have seen some reasoning behind them. It is difficult for me to say what they were though. However, now, these have no logic.”

“Also, there is a tendency in public organisations to not review protocols which have become archaic, but remain part of the dos and don’ts for officials. They should be reviewed on a regular basis,” said a former railway board member who didn’t want to reveal the name.

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