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- Indian economist
Based on recommendations of Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal, Indian Railways is undertaking a major restructuring plan that could lead to the closure of major establishments, merger of decades-old organisations and private participation in running of its schools and hospitals.
Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) is the second organisation under the Railway Ministry to be shut down after the closure of Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuel (IROAF) on September 7, 2021.
Continuing with the downsizing exercise, the Railways has ordered closure of Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC), which was set up for redevelopment of stations across the country in March 2012.
IRSDC became the second organisation under the Railway Ministry to be shut down after the closure of Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuel (IROAF) on September 7, 2021.
Accepting the recommendation of the Finance Ministry for rationalisation of the government bodies with closing down or merging multiple organisations under different ministries, the Railways has undertaken an elaborate exercise for integration and structural reforms in various organisations under the Ministry.
In a communication to all General Managers, the Railway Board said the stations managed by the IRSDC will now be handed over to the respective zonal railways and the corporation will pass on all project related documents to them, who will be responsible for further development. It has asked the IRSDC to initiate the formalities for closure of the corporation.
Among several other projects, IRSDC was involved in the bidding process for the redevelopment of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai.
The Board’s decision has come as a surprise considering that the IRSDC recently invited bids for setting up of “Rail Arcade '' at Chandigarh and KSR Bengaluru Railway Stations. Moreover, it had announced plans to undertake facility management of 90 railway stations across South India.
The report prepared by Principal Economic Advisor, Sanjeev Sanyal, has also recommended major changes in the vigilance units of the Railways.
Sanyal in his report to the Finance Ministry has sought winding up the Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), the Central Organisation for Modernisation Of Workshops (COFMOW), Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuel.
Among other recommendations were the merger of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), which implements projects relating to creation and augmentation of railway infrastructure, with the Indian Railway Construction Limited (IRCON), a specialised infrastructure construction organisation.
Sanyal also recommended unification of passenger ticketing, freight invoicing, passenger train operations, management of train crew and management of fixed/rolling assets under the ambit of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
Another key recommendation was the merger of RailTel with IRCTC.
The report has recommended that various directorates of Indian Railways be merged with each other and bring down the strength of the Board from over 250 to under 100 with the post of Director and above.
Sanyal also recommended merger of railway schools with Kendriya Vidyalayas or handing them over to the respective State Governments so that the railway management can focus on its "core competence is in running and maintaining the railway service”.