Now, tech-savvy railways to keep tab on staff through web-based system

Written by Ashutosh Kumar | New Delhi, Aug 14 | Updated: Aug 15 2008, 06:04am hrs
Aiming at a cost-effective manpower management, the Indian Railways would be launching a crew management system (CMS) across India by October. The pilot run of the system, developed by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) with an investment of Rs 17 crore, was completed in December 2007, while CMS installation began in January.

The system has been designed to monitor the staff involved in movement of trains locally or from one destination to another.

Crew management system, a round -the-clock web-based application, will monitor drivers, guards and other staff, and assign them duties, thereby ensuring transparency in crew scheduling and optimisation of the human resource.

Approximately 1 lakh staffers handle train movement in the country. Taking care of appointments, assigning duties and ensuring transparency is beyond human limits. Apart from underutilisation of resources, it involves enormous cost, which the new system will help contain, said Deepak Ganju, general manager, CRIS.

At present, 35 divisions of the Indian Railways, spanning around 150 lobbies are CMS-enabled. The formalities regarding duty assignment, exchanging shifts and keeping account of the overtime done by a staffer are completed at a lobby.

During the pilot phase, each CMS-enabled lobby has recorded a saving of approximately Rs 4 lakh every month. With around 300 lobbies in the country, once the system is rolled out nationally, the railways will be able cut costs to the tune of Rs 12 crore, Ganju said. In a fortnight, if the total working hours of a staffer goes beyond 104 hours, he is entitled to get double pay. CMS is designed to track availability of both, duty and staff, assigning duty on the spot and cutting down the overtime expenses. The system monitors 26,000 employees at one time. We have a database for a staff strength of around 42000, Ganju added.

Speaking about the system, Abhishek Kumar, software design architect said, As per the train plan, which involves deciding the number of crew members on the train, CMS suggests suitable crew members from its database considering all the aspects of eligibility, health update etc, of the crew. It then sends an SMS to the person assigning him a duty.

Kumar added, If the staffer does not acknowledge receipt of the duty order within 15 minutes, an SMS is sent to him again. If he is unable to take up the task, the duty is assigned to another staffer.

The crew interacts with the system through a touch screen kiosk. The system is also being provided with a biometric reader to eradicate any chances of proxy reporting. Apart from tracking crew and assigning them duties, CMS also constantly updates the information regarding health, training and eligibility of the crew.