Bibek Debroy panel that was mandated to devise ways to restructure the Railway Board. A committee, headed by Debroy, an economist and now Member of NITI Aayog, was constituted in September last year. The other members of the panel include former cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar, former head of Procter and Gamble Gurcharan Das, senior fellow in Centre for Policy Research Partha Mukopadhyay and former MD of the National Stock Exchange Ravi Narain. There is a possibility that all non-technical services may be merged into one, whereas all technical or engineering services could be clubbed into a single service, mainly to end turf wars that are often witnessed in matters of promotion and cornering key posts.
Currently, a six-member Railway Board headed by a chairman is the supreme body that controls the functioning of the gigantic Indian Railways that employs over 1.3 million people. All officers are ex-officio secretaries to the Government of India and they, along with the General Managers, who are next in the hierarchy, are drawn from various technical and non-technical cadres.
At present, the non technical services recruited through UPSC’s civil services examination are Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS), Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) and Railway Protection Force (RPF).
And the technical services recruited through UPSC-conducted Indian Engineering Services examinations are Indian Railway Service of (Civil) Engineers (IRSE), Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE), Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME), Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS) and Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE).
In addition, there is one more service --- Indian Railway Medical Service (IRMS) recruited through the combined medical examination conducted by UPSC.
Current railway minister Suresh Prabhu wants to empower general managers so that small issues don’t get stuck in the Railway Board. He has already issued a couple of executive orders giving the regional railway satraps more power in decision making. In fact, cadre restructuring through mergers could be a step towards minimizing inter-cadre issues and conflicts.