In a letter to all the general managers of the railways, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani today asked them to advise the officials to go beyond the policy to generate revenue for the railways. As a part of his efforts to change the bureaucratic nature of the railways’ operations, Lohani, in the letter said the national transporter was a commercial organisation and while it needed to operate within the policy parameters, which often restricted the delivery of performance and best results, it also needed to be flexible. “We should advise our officers down the line that in the overall interest of increasing the business of the railways, they can at times consider going beyond the stipulations laid down in our present policies,” the letter read. The policies of the railways had to be flexible and adaptable to the situation on the ground, besides generally being in the form of guidelines which were not cast in stone, Lohani said.
There were instances in the day-to-day operations of the railways, where going slightly beyond the stipulated policies could lead to “major gains” for the national transporter, but the “fear of being hauled up” held the officers back, he added. “This is not an acceptable scenario, especially in a commercial environment, where every likely future situation cannot be forecast or assessed in advance. “I have also noticed that our officers are generally averse to pursuing new thoughts or experiments that are not covered within the confines of any policy document issued by the railways. This again is out of fear and kills progressive thinking and innovation and should not continue,” Lohani said.
He added that new ideas, experiments and proposals should be encouraged and taken to a logical conclusion. Lohani also said during field visits, he had noticed several “impractical stipulations” in the policies of the railways and that there was a need to “recast” them. The Railway Board chairman asked the senior officials to protect those officers who came up with innovative ideas and not to view “every such deviation” with suspicion.