Seeking a "comprehensive change" in the national transporter's functioning, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda today said it "stands much behind in efficiency, punctuality, cleanliness and services", and warned senior officials to "perform or perish".
"Indian Railways carries the largest number of passengers and freight, but we stand much behind in our efficiency, punctuality, cleanliness and services.
"You all need to be innovative and find solutions to these issues. Conventional thinking and present style of functioning will not help us achieve anything," Gowda said at a conference of General Managers and Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs).
"Normally, the tendency is to come out with replies and excuses for non-performance which will not be tolerated by our government," he stressed.
Without mincing words, Gowda made it clear that the present government's mantra is performance and people want immediate results.
"Though we plan for five years, we need to start producing results as soon as possible. Our government's mantra is either perform or perish. This is applicable from the last employee of Railway up to the Board," Gowda said.
"As senior officers at cutting-edge level, you are leaders and leader always finds ways to go forward, otherwise leader cannot be a leader. People want immediate and visible changes in the performance of the Railways.
People had given clear mandate to this government headed by Narendra Modi and his team and they represent people's aspirations. "We have promised people and it's time for us to stand up to their expectations," he said.
Seeking a complete change in the working culture of Railways, he said, "What people want is not few changes here and there, but a comprehensive change which takes the Railways and this country to match the best in the world."
Referring to high-speed train as one of his priorities, Gowda said steps should be taken for introduce bullet trains in the country and average train speed should increase to 150-200 km per hour.
He said that railways should be more competitive than the road sector and also made a comparison with Chinese Railways which is "four times more efficient than ours both in terms of number of passengers carried per employee and freight carried per employee".
Gowda said he is being flooded with complaints against railway services whether it was food or cleanliness or the issue of ticket reservation and emphasised that people want immediate changes and it should be visible.
"Why are our trains