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Govt breaks 150-year tradition, gives nod to restructuring of Railway board

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday gave approval to restructuring of the Railway board through merger of its existing eight Group A services into a central service called the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS).
The new board will have a leaner structure on functional lines headed by the chairman and four members — covering infrastructure, operations and business development, rolling stock, and finance. In addition, the board will also include sectoral experts from industry, finance, economics, and management fields. Moving in corporate lines, the chairman will now be called as chief executive officer.
The government is seeing this as a reform, breaking a 150-year-old tradition of ‘working in silos’ that can remove departmental tussles, seen as a roadblock in fast decision making. “Unification of services will end ‘departmentalism’ and promote smooth working of Railways, expedite decision making, create a coherent vision for organisation and promote rational decision making,” Piyush Goyal, minister of railways, told the media. This is also considered as the removal of another colonial tradition, after the decision to merge the Railway Budget with the Union Budget in September 2016.
However, experts indicate that the merger of the services may not be a wise move, as compared to the Budget merger. “The concept by the government is to have one organisational goal, rather than having agendas set by departments. However, the Railways has a lot of specialised areas. For example, a mechanical or civil engineer cannot be in charge of finance department and vice versa. Hence, there may be technical difficulty for its implementation,” said V N Mathur, former member (traffic) of the Railway Board. The government has lined up a massive infrastructure development plan of ~50 trillion to modernise the national transporter in the next 12 years — improving safety, speed, and services. This requires speedy decision making by various departments.
Chief of defence staffThe Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Tuesday approved the creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS) who will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999, officials said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said a department of military affairs headed by the CDS would be created under the defence ministry. The CDS will be a four-star general and his salary will be equivalent to that of service chiefs, the minister said. Officials said the CCS also approved the report of a high-level committee, headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, which finalised responsibilities and the enabling framework for the CDS, they said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 announced that India will have a CDS as head of the tri-services. The government is likely to appoint the country’s first CDS in the next few days. Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, retiring from service on December 31, is believed to be a front-runner. Officials said the CDS will be first among equals among service chiefs. But in the list of protocol, the CDS will be higher than the service chiefs.
IBC amendments

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved an ordinance to further amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), which will help remove certain ambiguities.
With the changes, there would be no liability on a corporate debtor for an offence committed prior to commencement of the insolvency resolution process, an official release said. Further, the debtor would not be prosecuted for any such offence from the date of resolution plan being approved by the authority.
(With PTI inputs)

Source: Business Standard