March 4, 2015 Print

Aside from India’s river systems, the 150-year-old railways are vital veins for the nation’s economy. However, the railway network is on track to become a financial burden because of mismanagement and a precipitous drop in demand during the last five decades. Atlas Network partner Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) recently published an analysis in the Hindu Business Line that provided eight suggestions to reform India’s railway system and bring it into the 21st century.

Although India’s railway network still transports around 23 million people per day and employs 1.4 million people, making it one of the largest rail systems in the world, it is also one of the most strained and deficient. CPPR notes that a centralized bureaucracy, the Railway Board, manages the entire system with “muddled performance.”

Among CPPR’s suggestions for improving the rail system are: decentralizing the management of the 17 zones and 68 divisions currently under the authority of one central board; privatizing some activities like ticketing and catering; and setting up an annual performance review board to keep the system on the track to meet modern demands.

Read CPPR’s full analysis, “Getting the railways back on track.”