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Eye on safety, Railways to launch whistleblower staff website

With safety being a priority area for the national transporter, officials said the new anonymous reporting system would turn every employee into the eyes and ears of the administration.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: February 5, 2018 7:22 am
Railway Budget 2018, Rail Budget, Rail Budget 2018, IRCTC.com, Indian Railway Budget, Arun Jaitley, Modi Government, Piyush Goyal, bullet train, new trains, Budget 2018, Rail Budget Speech Representational Image (Express photo by Amit Mehra/File)

The 13 lakh Indian Railways employees will soon get a platform, in the form of a website for “whistleblowers”, to directly inform top officials, including the Railway Board Chairman, of any lapses in safety, without revealing their identities.

The website, being developed by the Railways’ software arm, Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), will allow any employee, from a trackman to an officer, to make anonymous disclosures on shortcomings in ensuring safe train operations. This may include information on an engineer cutting corners in maintenance protocol, or someone not following the regime of preventive maintenance of trains, or even something as apparently routine as a gateman sleeping on duty.

The website will be directly monitored by the Railway Ministry’s safety department, headed by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani. “It is called universal reporting mechanism. We expect it to be up and running by March,” Lohani told The Indian Express.

Earlier, as Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, Lohani had launched a similar system in the airline. To understand how the system works and helps, Railways officials have met their Air India counterparts.

With safety being a priority area for the national transporter, officials said the new anonymous reporting system would turn every employee into the eyes and ears of the administration.

“It is possible that many of the inputs we get will turn out to be false alarms. But at least we can get things checked immediately. At least people will have the security of staying anonymous and, as a result, nobody will have the fear of being hauled up later,” said a Railways official.

Meanwhile, almost 4,000 km of overaged tracks will be renewed next fiscal and around Rs 73,000 crore will be spent in miscellaneous works aimed at enhancing safety.

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  1. Rui D'Silva
    Feb 5, 2018 at 5:13 pm
    Narcissists are great at turning people against each other. They're also great at turning several people against one person or group. Basically, they are adept at controlling the emotions of others and they enjoy causing chaos and conflict wherever they go.
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    1. Praveen Chopra
      Feb 5, 2018 at 9:16 am
      Mere eyelash. After a few weeks the will be unmanned and the iden y of whistleblower compromised. What can PM Modi do if the bureaucracy does not work. One of his top priorities needs to change the working of bureaucrats to ensure implementation of projects on planned dates and costs.
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      1. Sankaran Krishnan
        Feb 5, 2018 at 7:16 am
        It is okay to have such a whistle blower but at the same time do ensure proper verification because among the Railway staffs if there is a personal enmity or do not like them due to so many reasons should not use it to settle scores and thus make them punished. Anyhow let us see how it evolves and how the Railway Board handles the issue will be known once the is launched !!!
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        1. Meenal Mamdani
          Feb 5, 2018 at 7:05 am
          A great idea. Hope the is simple so that even people who are not very computer savvy can use it with ease. Another twist to this idea is to set up a to let people inform the railways if they notice any disrepair of railway infrastructure. India's railway lines are thousands of miles long with innumerable stations, some quite small. If people who use the railways were to report damage, deficiencies, etc. it would help the dept to investigate and then fix the problem. One of the common problems is that the local stationmaster is aware but too lazy to fix the problem. Once the problem is reported to a central area, she/he will have no choice but to fix the problem. If the problem reported is serious enough, perhaps the railways could announce a reward to the person reporting it, commensurate with the gravity of the disaster averted.
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