In a recent letter, Indian Railways' financial commissioner told all the zonal general managers that Indian Railways' traffic earnings dropped by 58% at the end of May, as compared to last year's corresponding period.
Indian Railways on an austerity drive! In view of the serious dent in Indian Railways earnings this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, the national transporter is gearing up to adopt a slew of austerity measures proposed by its financial commissioner. These measures include freeze in the creation of new posts, shifting outsourced work to CSR, cutting down on the use of stationary by 50%, rationalization of manpower at workshops, moving ceremonial functions to digital platforms, etc., according to a PTI report. In a recent letter, Indian Railways’ financial commissioner told all the zonal general managers that Indian Railways’ traffic earnings dropped by 58% at the end of May, as compared to last year’s corresponding period. Thus, to overcome this, new areas of expenditure control and enhancement of earnings should be explored, the letter by commissioner said.
It said that such measures were already announced by the then financial commissioner in the year 2017 as well as the Railway Board in 2019. The letter further stated that the government has mandated the national transporter to meet all of its revenue expenses, including pension, from its own receipts. However, the novel coronavirus pandemic and lockdown are likely to adversely impact the current year’s budgeted earnings target.
The zonal railways have been advised to control expenditure by reducing the cost of staff, rationalizing staff, and by making the staff perform multiple tasks. Also, it asked the zonal railways to reduce energy consumption, review contracts, cut cost in administrative as well as other areas. The zones have also been advised to explore the immediate review of re-engaged staff as well as the feasibility of curtailing the same to a bare minimum. Also, to freeze new post creation except for the posts that are related to safety. The posts that were created in the last two years should be reviewed and if there has been no recruitment against those posts, the same may be reviewed for surrendering, rationalization of manpower in workshops, the letter said.
The financial commissioner of Indian Railways also suggested that all file work be shifted to the digital sphere. He further advised the zonal railways that all correspondence must be done through secure e-mails. Moreover, the letter asked the zones to reduce the use of stationery articles, cartridges as well as other items by at least 50%. Moreover, it asked the zonal railways to review and close all uneconomic branches of the Railway Ministry.
The letter further mentioned that all outsourced activities like on-board housekeeping, station cleaning, elevator and escalator manning, linen management, station announcement should be reviewed and curtailed. Also, attempts should be made to get them done through CSR funds, the letter said. The letter by Indian Railways’ financial commissioner also recommended grounding of all diesel locomotives of over 31 years through export or sale.