Saturday, December 19, 2009

Should IAS Sudhir Kumar rewrite his book on railways turnaround?

CALL it bankruptcy to millions rather than billions! Should Sudhir Kumar, influential 1982-batch Bihar cadre IAS officer and ex-OSD to former railway minister Lalu Prasad rewrite his much talked about book “Bankruptcy to Billions: How the Indian Railways Transformed” if current railway minister Mamata Banerjee's white paper painting the turnaround saga in black, comes true? Will Harvard University which too did a case study on Indian Railways' financial success now review its conclusions in the backdrop of the white paper's claim that a cash surplus of nearly Rs 90,000 crore ($18 billion) during Lalu Prasad's tenure as railway minister, was an inflated figure thanks to the changes made in accounting methods. The introduction of a concept called "investible surplus", also inflated the cash reserve by another Rs 23,584 crore ($4.7 billion), the paper said. The question is now whether Sudhir Kumar who was OSD to Mr Prasad from September 1, 2004 to May 22, 2009 will rewrite his book, explaining his side of the story. Mr Kumar who has been a joint secretary in the ministry of power since May 22, 2009, attracted quite a lot of enemies in the Rail Bhawan because of his handholding in all important events of the ministry. No wonder, Indian Railways with 1.4 million employees is one of the very few government ministries which are not headed by all powerful IAS officers. Reacting to babu blogger’s earlier post on why Sudhir Kumar should help Lalu, never known to be a mathematical wizard, in recalculating Rs 90,000 cr surplus in railways, one of the readers commented, “Could it be a case of Alice in Wonderland?”. Post your comments too. Earlier Post Sudhir Kumar should help Lalu recalculating Rs 90,000 cr surplus (July 13, 2009) Action & Appointments a) A Didar Singh, a 1976 batch Punjab cadre IAS, presently Member (Finance), National Highways Authority of India, has been appointed as secretary in the ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in the vacancy of K Mohandas, a 1974 batch Kerala cadre IAS who is the new shipping secretary. b) Pradeep Kumar Pujari, a 1981 batch Gujarat cadre IAS has been appointed as Executive Director (North) in the Food Corporation of India (joint secretary level), under the department of food and public distribution.


  1. Not bad! But is it Alice in Wonderland, or Alice in Blunderland?

  2. Lalu Prasad is the highest scorer - the Tendulkar of the railways innings. Covering more than half a century of railways finances, it is Lalu who secures the highest revenue in terms of quantum and the ratio. According to the offically revised estimates the surplus created by Lalu Prasad amounts to Rs 88669 crore to be bracketed with 6th Finace commission expences and reworked with heads like interest in fund balances amounting to Rs 4138 crore, Principal component of lease charges as Rs 6778 crore and losses on strategic lines valued at Rs 1283 crore. Indian railways has got so many pockets and the money so earned is added or subtracted to these as pre convention and methods followed. The surpluses are not low hanging fruits to be plucked so easily. One has to go through the complicated process of railways finances to understand them. Making easy comments by Mamata that 'turnaround has never happened',and by scrapping the 'Chair of IIM'or even submtting 'white paper' she is not going to enhance her prestige. These are all the works of a sick mind. This is for the seventh time that the railways has issued white paper without any intention to follow. It is not Sudhir Kumar who created turnaround. It was the initiation of Lalu Prasad to legalise the already over loaded wagons which were being carried on by corrupt railway officers. By doing so Lalu Prasad earned RS 5000 crore in one go. No mention of this fact has been included in the White Paper. This was the starting point of the turnaround and once it moved on there was no going back. Sudhir Kumar was there only to interpret Lalu Prasad's ideas into a beaurocratic language so that the officer there may easily understand it. He was doing a good job as an interpreter between the two. Lalu's men are all set to give a fitting reply to the White Paper and so to Mamata for her misterious move by ilssuing it. Just wait!