Over the last few years Indian Railways has been riding on the crest of boom in the Indian economy. The originating freight loading which stood at 587 million tonnes in 2003-04 is now expected to reach 785 million tonnes in the current financial year. The approximate growth in this period has been at a level of 50 MTPA.In the XIth Plan period, the growth is expected to be at a level of 80MTPA with the Railways targeting a freight loading of 1100 MT by the terminal year of the XI th Plan.
These unprecedented growth rates in an infrastructure sector have been made possible only through a paradigm shift in the working ethos of the Railways. Gone are the days when investment decisions were being made without any correlation to the returns. Reduction in unit cost of operations, PPP, enhanced load running, freight discount schemes, MIS, proliferation of FOIS, COIS, TMS, UTS, privatization of container business etc are the new buzz words in the Railways. Focus on timely completion of throughput enhancement works; additional procurement of rolling stocks and rationalization of examination procedures of rolling stock is now being given top priority.
It is in this backdrop of change we have to assess the role of IRTS officers. We have to be in the business of logistics rather than rail transport. We have to take a fresh look at our way of doing things and evolve in ample measure to manage this period of transition and change. We have to take up the role of Managers of Change.
Managers of Change not only have to manage change but also initiate it. To achieve the same it is essential that we diligently apply ourselves in knowing the functions and technicalities of each department of the Railways. The strength of IRTS officers always has been their intimate knowledge of the working of Indian Railways in all its complexities and ability to synergise the efforts of all the departments of this great organization--Indian Railways.
The role of senior officers in this regard is of paramount importance. They not only have to train up their juniors professionally but also have to instill in them the sense of absolute devotion to duty and unimpeachable integrity for which IRTS officers are known.
The task before us is onerous and sheer commitment and unshackled thinking will ensure that the IRTS shows the direction in which Indian Railways is to take in the coming years. As Muriel Strode once said "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail"