1. Railways takes big step under Piyush Goyal to shut printing presses; redeployment of staff in offing

Railways takes big step under Piyush Goyal to shut printing presses; redeployment of staff in offing

The Indian Railways has decided to close down all the printing presses it owns and redeploy the staff employed in these units to other departments.

By: | New Delhi | Published: October 11, 2017 5:47 AM
Piyush Goyal, Indian Railways The decision was taken during a meeting of railway minister Piyush Goyal with top railway officials.

The Indian Railways has decided to close down all the printing presses it owns and redeploy the staff employed in these units to other departments.

The move is part of the railways’ strategy to exit activities which are no longer integral to its functioning. “All printing presses owned by the railways will be closed and staff will be redeployed. The railways runs 14 printing presses,” said a ministry of railway official requesting not to be named.

The decision was taken during the marathon meeting called by railway minister Piyush Goyal of Railway Board members and general managers of all 17 railway zones.

These printing units are mostly very old and have outdated machinery, and with increasingly less requirement of paper-based communication they have ran out of favour.
“Traditionally, a lot of paper such as forms were used by the railways. But now these are getting automated and the quality of these presses are also very poor, given their vintage-era machines. These are moribund 19th century units which are not required any more,” said a former railway employee requesting not to be named.

According to the railway official quoted above, after the closure of of the units, all printing work will be done through tenders.

The railways has been taking various steps to decide the future of these units for long. In 2009, the railways had decided phased closure or merger of smaller general printing presses. Towards the end of 2016, the transporter was contemplating to open up excess capacity of at least five presses which were being modernised to cater to entities — including non-railway ones — other than the zonal railway they operated under.

These printing units were mostly used for printing books, forms and tickets. The Budget documents of the railways were being printed at security press not operated by railways. However, things have changed over the years with processes moving to paperless methods. A majority of the reserved ticketing has moved online after IRCTC started operations. Also, the railway Budget has now been merged with the general Budget. The tender process of the railways has also moved to electronic form.

According to a former finance commissioner of the railway, a lot of printing units have been scrapped earlier too as internal requirement of the railways has been going down. “Earlier, these units were used to print tickets which were then supplied to stations. Now, they have been computerised. Most of the units have become non-operational and have very few staff. The real estate of these units can be put to more productive use,” the financial commissioner added.

The staff working at these units will be retrained and redeployed. “The railways wants to weed out people from the system. For instance, some officers have far too many peons. They will be drawn out, trained and put on field,” the railway official said.

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  1. K
    Oct 19, 2017 at 2:47 pm
    V bad, we need paper tickets sometimes in most digital set ups .with tenders opening up for printing job in railway management will become even more corrupt in issuing of these tenders to personal favorites my opinion we are moving towards greater corruption in the name of digitalism .
    1. G
      Oct 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm
      So also the Medical,Personnel and Accounts Departments of the Rlys can be outsourced.Railways is mainly run by Eng,Mech,S T, Elec,Operating,Comm and Stores Departments.All others are service and secondary.Such Dpts be closed and outsourced By this probably Rlys may come out of red
      1. P
        Prof. Neeraj
        Oct 12, 2017 at 9:55 am
        Please focus on basic and primary issue of Railways providing safe and reliable transport service to the passengers rather than trivial issues. Train derailment, accidents, theft and loot in journey, and above all - each and every train being late by hours is what needs to be dealt with.
        1. R
          Rathod surendra
          Oct 11, 2017 at 6:47 pm
          Great step taken by piyush goyel... real Indian wants this type of minister in all cabinet ministers take fast and beneficial step which affect all people of india... i m confident railway improve... and serve better than before..by any minister..
          1. Krishnamurthy Rajasekaran
            Oct 11, 2017 at 1:43 pm
            A welcome step. We always hear that on the operational side there is shortage of manpower. . Few days ago there was was news about the protocol accorded to railway board members and its chairman and also withdrawing the staff deployed to the homes of officers. Such kind of initiatives are always welcome.
            1. A
              Oct 11, 2017 at 9:22 am
              1. In 2014 for the first time in the history of Indian Railways (IR) it was headed by a minister who was a professional (Mr. Suresh Prabhu). Now his successor Mr. Piyush Goyal is continuing policies of Mr. Prabhu to run IR as a public sector commercial undertaking and not like a govt. department. 2. For almost a century IR was being run by bureaucrats in the Railway ministry as a government department, rather than as a commercial undertaking. There was a need to change to professionalize management of IR and both Mr. Prabhu and now Mr. Goyal need to be complimented for doing that. 3. I feel that time has come to convert IR into a government company and run it as Indian Rail Corporation (IRC). Board of Directors of IRC will have to be given autonomy to run the undertaking on commercial lines, albeit with social obligations. 4. IRC may have to take decisions relating to passenger fare and commercial tariff in consultation with Rail ministry but on the whole IRC should be run as a company
              1. K
                Oct 11, 2017 at 8:36 am
                High time such non core activities are done away with. Railways should stick to Technical /engineering activities and should divest colleges/water treatment plants(started by Mamata) etc. they are just vote bank politics. Catering should also be auctioned to private sector.
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