Last Page of Railders' Guardian January 2020 by Ramarao Annavarapu SignUp

Last Page of Railders' Guardian January 2020
Ramarao Annavarapu Bookmark and Share


Happy New Year to all readers and a happy Sankranti to follow. I wish you all a year in which onions will be cheaper, women will be safer, a year in which little children do not fall into open, unattended borewells, in which students are seen more in classrooms than on the streets and politicians are seen more often debating in legislatures than in  inflaming mobs to commit arson against public property.    

The last year of the decade left many memories, not all of them ennobling. In its last quarter it left the indelible mark of a rape that stirred a nation and an encounter that has left many questions unanswered. Another rape committed several years earlier had raised similar emotions and forced the government to enact a law. Continuance of such crimes across the country highlights, for the umpteenth time, that it is not enough to enact laws. They need to be implemented effectively.

It is distressing to watch videos of attacks on railway stations and of burnt coaches of a train, vandalized in the recent agitation in West Bengal. Whatever the cause, agitators find railway property an easy target. Leaders who instigate such vandalism abdicate their primary responsibility towards protection of public property. Effective measures have not been taken by state or central governments to recover the losses incurred in these acts of indiscipline even though they are repeated year after year leaving honest taxpayers to foot to bill.

Government’s decision to merge the eight group A services in Indian Railways into a unified service has raised apprehensions as many officers, especially those from the civil services examinations feel threatened. Hopefully, the government has a viable plan to address the concerns of all departments without harming the efficiency of the biggest government owned enterprise in the world. The trigger for this drastic move is said to be rampant departmentalism affecting decision making and operational efficiency. Departmentalism is common to many multi-disciplinary corporates. In the past, Indian Railways have set an example of efficiency in the public sector despite differences between departments. Serving officers as well as the political leadership need to introspect on the reasons for departmentalism becoming a threat to efficiency. Incorrect promotion policies and political interference over the years are responsible for this sorry state of affairs. Merging the services may not be the solution to the problem by itself, unless it is backed by a will to revisit the systems of performance assessment and selection and to ensure that the best talents are chosen for vertical progression, instead of relying on age and seniority.

Indian cricket juggernaut continues to crush opposition in all formats of the game on home turf. It remains to be seen how they perform overseas. For the first time in cricket history, India has a formidable pace attack but injuries to the key players is a cause for concern. Much is expected from our athletes in the Tokyo Olympics. May the new year bring India a crop of gold medals.  

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Comment This essay inspires one to look back in introspection, and it is only proper that we engage in this. For we are launching into a new decade now. How have things fared in the past, and can we say with pride that we have moved on ? The answer is plain for anyone to see. A good deal needs to be done in many areas of endeavour. To move towards a better future we need to sit down and do some serious thinking. Those holding positions of power and authority would do well to give thought to where we are going. Progress can come only with conscious effort ; if we merely drift along, we are inviting disaster.

Ravindra Bhalerao
01/19/2020 22:01 PM

Comment Well said about the restructuring! This is a typical case of 'tryin' to fix something that ain't broke'.

N K Raghavendran
01/19/2020 19:11 PM

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