NEW DELHI (TIP): Industrialist Ratan Tata will head the new innovation council of railways, called ‘Kaya Kalp’, formed to turn around the ailing state-run transporter. Kaya Kalp will also have two prominent railway union leaders, Shiv Gopal Mishra and M Raghuvaiah, as members.

The move is seen as an attempt to rope in railway unions which have opposed moves to restructure the railway board and privatization of the national transporter. Mishra is general secretary of All-India Railwaymen Federation while Raghuvaiah heads National Federation of Indian Railwaymen.

A railway official said more members would soon be inducted into the council, announced by minister Suresh Prabhu in his rail budget to suggest ways to turn around the public transporter. The official said the terms and references for the council were being finalized.

Soon after taking over, Prabhu had set up committees to review, restructure and revive rail finances, administration, rules and the railway board itself.

While his predecessor Sadananda Gowda had set up a committee under economist Bibek Debroy for restructuring of the railway board, Prabhu has so far set up committees under former financial services secretary D K Mittal to review finances and under former Delhi Metro Rail Corp managing director E Sreedharan to suggest measures for transparency. Another eight-member panel, headed by railway board’s additional member Mohd Jamshed, has been asked to identify factors and issues affecting growth of freight and passenger traffic.

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While the Debroy panel faced stiff resistance from railway unions and is yet to finalize its report, the Sreedharan committee has submitted its report and based on its recommendations, Prabhu has delegated financial powers from the minister to board members, general managers and divisional railway managers.

The Mittal panel has also submitted its report.

In his budget speech, Prabhu had said, “Every dynamic and thriving organization needs to innovate and reinvent its practices. In accordance with the vision of prime minister for innovation, technology development and manufacturing, the Indian Railways intends to set up an innovation council called ‘Kaya Kalp’ for the purpose of business re-engineering and introducing a spirit of innovation in railways.”

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