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    October 2016

When the powerful are beyond the pale of the law


During the UPA regime, the vested interests in the Central Government had destroyed many public sector undertakings  with merciless indifference by allowing a policy drift to favour their blue-eyed boys. 
There is not an iota of doubt regarding the intentions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in making governance free from corruption, favouritism and nepotism. However, a single man cannot change the nation. Modi’s visionary and pragmatic leadership has infused hope, trust and optimism among people of a corruption-free and developed society and to realize this dream, ministers and bureaucrats must work together in tandem. 
Our Cover Story opens a can of worms present in the Power Finance Corporation which is considered the financial backbone of the Indian power sector. It is a shocking tale of how guidelines were manipulated in the Power Ministry to help PFC Director (Finance) R Nagarajan continue in his post in spite of not getting valid and proper Central Vigilance Commission clearance till date. 
The revelation is a testimony of the fact that the vested interests in the Government continue to manipulate the top management of PSUs. The powerful and wealthy are still placed comfortably beyond the pale of the law and the integrity of every institution of governance lies in tatters, in the same way it was during the UPA regime. 
It is a point to ponder why things have come to such a pass. And will it ever change? 
The citizens of India have expectations of transparent and corruption- free governance from the Modi Government. The bureaucrats should understand that it was high time they worked towards making the Government more open and transparent. The writing is on the wall. 
In the Ministry Watch segment of this edition, a former senior Indian Railways officer reveals what is ailing the transport behemoth and the way forward. The Railways is in dire need of reforms. The Government should consider restructuring the Indian Railways, a step which has helped the railways in several European countries and also in Japan to improve their market share, raise employee productivity, bolster infrastructure investments and reduce public subsidies.
With over 1.3 million workers, the Indian Railways is the largest non-military employer in the world. However, over the years the organization is hurtling towards a disaster due to the rampant abuse of its monopoly and mismanagement. Though the Suresh Prabhu-led Railway Ministry is now trying to overhaul the system, it will take time to turn the tide. According to Government data, the overall losses in passenger and other coaching services in the Indian Railways were Rs 33,490.95 crore during 2014-15. A CAG audit of the 442 railconstruction projects active as of March 2014 found that delays and poor planning caused costs to balloon 69% over the original estimates. Seventy-five of these projects had been in the works for more than 15 years and three for more than 30 years. Work on 22 projects hadn’t started.


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