The Indian Railway Systems Business Essay

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The Ministry of Railways (MOR) oversees the Indian railway sector through the Indian Railway Board, MOR (IRB). The MOR (IRB) exercises all central government policy powers and administers, supervises, and directs the entities that provide most of the rail services. The MOR (IRB) also fulfills most industry regulatory roles, except for safety oversight and railway rates appeals. Indian Railways (IR) is the generic term used to refer to the network of railway infrastructure and services that are delivered by 16 geographically-based Zonal Railway authorities (ZRs). Each ZR has separate responsibilities and operates its own livery. But the MOR (IRB) is fully responsible for establishing, merging, or abolishing these ZRs, and for ZR governance. The MOR (IRB) appoints ZR general managers, oversees their compliance with MOR (IRB) policies, determines staffing and remuneration policies, allocates rolling stock, fixes tariffs, approves ZR operating and capital budgets, approves certain capital expenditures above specified limits, and reallocates cash deficits or surpluses of each ZR to maintain financial balance. Production units directly under MOR (IRB) manufacture rolling stock, which is supplied to ZRs, which are responsible for maintenance. The ZRs operate all trains within their territorial jurisdiction, including inter-Zonal trains under a system for apportioning revenue, usually collected at the originating station. India's railways are now governed by the 1989 Railways Act (as amended), which replaced the old Indian Railways Act of 1890, under which Government was envisaged primarily as coordinator and regulator. The railway was nationalized in 1951, and virtually the entire rail system became part of the Government of India. The 1989 Railways Act authorized government and non-government railways. Now, a few separate special-purpose railways exist as joint ventures between MOR and other entities such as the Kutch Railway Company Ltd., and the Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd., however, the ZRs still carry over 99 percent of railway traffic. The statistics below relate to IR's own network and operations.

Industry Regulation

The MOR (IRB) is responsible for most aspects of railway economic regulation, as noted earlier, but the Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO), which has legal status equal to ZRs, supplies technical advice to the MOR (IRB), and the operating ZRs and their production units, on railway infrastructure and equipment design, technology, materials, product standards, testing, and so forth. The office of the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety (CCRS) is responsible for all safety-related aspects of IR operations and is assisted by Commissioners of Railway Safety (CRSs). To maintain independence from IR, the CCRS is under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, not the Ministry of Railways. The CRS certifies permanent way and rolling stock, conducts routine inspections of IR facilities and equipment, and investigates serious railway accidents. Government is legally responsible for passenger and freight tariffs, which are set by MOR (IRB). The 1989 Railway Law is silent on pricing principles or objectives, and frequently tariff structures and levels are subject to wider political influences. However, an independent Railway Rates Tribunal, comprising a senior judge and two members, can examine complaints regarding freight tariffs, ancillary charges, or preferential treatment given to specific customers or commodities.

The scope of socialization could be extended to include the family members of employees to develop a sense of pride among them for being ethical. Now the work aptitude integrated to Indian Railways of Madras and Southern Maratha Railway, South Indian Railways and Mysore State Railway came in to existence on 14.04.1951 and Vijayawada division was formed as one of the eight divisions of Southern Railway on 16.05.1956. On Formation of South Central Railway on 02.10.1966, it is the threshold to South India and connects East, South, West and North.

Table 1: Salient Statistics


Daily express trains 78

Avg. Non-daily express trains 35

Passenger trains 129

Avg. Non-daily passenger trains 15

Work men special 02

Rail bus 02

Total Passenger trains dealt 261

Average No. of Freight trains 155


Poor Travel Comfort

The increase in suburban trains in VRC did not keep pace with the passenger demand and because of overloading, the conditions in these trains deteriorated. Due to mushrooming growth of housing colonies, passenger loading in the already overloaded suburban trains has exceeded the tolerable safe limits making the travelling conditions poor and uncomfortable. A passenger-friendly environment has been missing inside the old EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) coaches. The windows of the coaches are small. The quality of grab handles and seats is also not up to the mark. The partition panels inside the coaches are made of sunmica. Thus the overall ambience inside the coaches is poor. In the existing coaches, an illumination level of 100 lux is provided, which is not considered satisfactory by the passengers.

Lack of Investment

All over the world, traditionally, the suburban/metro network operation, including the buses, falls under the purview of the Central Government which also absorbs the operating losses. In the suburban areas of VRC, a large number of housing colonies have been set up. The development charges collected by the State Government from the construction sector were not used for the expansion of suburban systems in VRC. As a consequence, the existing suburban system was patronized neither by the Central Government nor by the State Government, mainly due to the requirement of huge amount of funds. Over the last fifty years, it has been observed that even though the number of passengers carried have grown by 792 per cent, the number of trains have increased only by 282 per cent, thus each train on an average being overloaded by 281 per cent.

High Energy Consumption and Inability of Obsolete Technology to Tackle Additional Traffic

As already discussed, the VRC system operates on 1,500V DC traction system, which was introduced in 1925 along the lines of the London Underground Metro System. With the increase in loading, each 12-car train draws 5,000 amps from the system. When two trains are leaving and two trains are reaching the Kondapali, approximately 10,000 to 15,000 amps of current is drawn from the system. Due to this large requirement of current, many traction substations have been set up, e.g., there are 20 DC traction substations between Kondapali, a distance of 20 kms. At present, in almost every station, there is a traction substation. For increasing the suburban services and number of coaches per train, additional substations need to be set up, which is not considered advisable from the technical safety consideration. Thus, it is quite clear that due to drawal of large amount of current by the trains, it has become impractical to increase the number of trains and add additional number of coaches in each train. Therefore the need to have 25,000V traction system was felt.

Encroachments in Railway Land

When large number of people migrated to VRC from other cities and rural areas of Karnataka and other states, the surplus vacant railway land available in VRC suburban sections became a soft option for encroachment. And, when the need to increase the number of railway corridors in VRC was felt, it became difficult to get the encroached railway land vacated from encroachers. Also, since the encroachers were staying near the existing railway tracks, the train speed was curtailed to 30 km/per hour for safety considerations and this led to reduction in line capacity.

Limitation of Carrying Capacity in the Existing Corridors

The existing corridors, operating mail/express, freight, passenger and suburban trains are being utilized to their full capacity and it has been difficult to increase the number of services in the existing system. In order to create extra carrying capacity to run additional trains, new additional corridors will have to be set up.


Research on job involvement (JI) is comparatively recent and done mostly by empirically oriented psychologists. While there is a great deal of confusion regarding the concept of JI, Mckelvey andSekaran (1) have aptly defined it as "the merging of a person's ego identity with his or her job." It, thus, concerns the degree to which employees take their identity from their job. This definitionfollows that of Gurin, Veroff, and Feld (2), who spoke of the extent to which individuals seek some expression and actualization of the self in their work, and that of Lodahl and Kejner (3) who defined JI in terms of the degree to which people are identified psychologically with their work and the importance of work in the individual's self-image. Rabinowitz and Hall (4) also concluded from their evaluation of research on JI that the data are more consistent with this "psychological identification with work" definition of JI than with the other definition (performance self esteem contingency) provided by Lodahl and Kejner. This concept of JI has also been the mainspring energizing the symbiotic relationship between JI, performance, and the quality of working life, because individuals who have their ego development tied into the jobs have a higher stake in performing well and there is often a strong desire to satisfy the need for ego identity and development in their jobs (5). In recent years, there have been spirited efforts throughout the world by top echelons of management to redesign jobs in order to increase JI. This is apparently based on the belief that JI is conducive to both productivity and job satisfaction. According to Kanungo (6), all behaviour, including behaviour in work situations, springs from need states of the individual and is directed towards obtaining outcomes for the satisfaction of salient needs. Thus, the degree of JI will depend upon the extent to which an individual perceives his salient needs as capable-of being met on the job. Kanungo (7), therefore, operationally defined JI as, " a generalized cognitive state of psychological identification with work, in so far as work is perceived to be instrumental in satisfying one's salient needs and expectations." Results of a recent study of over 200 middle and senior levelEmployees by Misra and Kalro (8) supported the notion that the attitude of JI is a function of the level of satisfaction of one's salient needs, be they intrinsic or extrinsic. JI was higher for those whose salient needs were met as com comparedwith those whose salient needs were notmet. The relationship of JI with need satisfactionhas also been reported in the studies of Maurer (9),Hall et al. (10), Lasher (11), Kanungo et al. (12),Kulkarni (13), Pathak (14), and An antharam an and Subha(l5).The present study is thus an attempt (i) to investigatethe relationship between JI and needsatisfaction by measuring JI of the employees(bank officers), (ii) to find out the employee's perception of the amount of fulfilment he is derivingfrom various needs, and the perceived expectation of satisfaction in respect of each need, and(iii) to calculate the amount or extent to which the different needs of employees should be fulfilled by the management. Keeping in view the recent interest and focus on behavioural sciences in the Indian bankingindustry (Reserve Bank of India Bulletin, 1979),the present study used a sample of bank officers.Indian banks, the sample institution in this study,recruit college graduates with good academic andtest (competition) records. These young collegegraduates generally come from middle classfamilies and presumably have expectations offinding meaningfulness and involvement in theirjobs (Sekaran, 16). In these labour intensive bankinginstitutions with an educated middle class,the quality of life through significant and meaningfuljobs may be as important as for those in theindustrially developed countries (Trist, 17).


The sample consisted of 150 Railway employees from VRC Railways India selected at random. All the subjects were males with a mean age of 35 years. Eighty five per cent were married and 39 per cent were post-graduates. Their level of JI may be crucial for the success of their organization.

Instrument for data gathering.

This study employed a questionnaire which consisted of the following sections: Section 'A' (JI):The questionnaire for the measure of JI used in this study was a 20 item scale developed by Lodahl and Kejner. This scale is byfar the most standardized instrument to measure JI, with test-retest reliability coefficient ranging from 0.72 to 0.80. Scores on this scale range from20 to 100.Section 'B' (Need satisfaction): It was a questionnaire to measure the employees' perceived need fulfillment, need expectation, need gap, and desired extent to which different needs are to be fulfilled by the management. Porter's format of needs which encompasses Maslow's needs hierarchy provided the framework for this questionnaire. However, being conscious of the differences in the cultural and environmental settings and based on the results of earlier studies by Pathakand by Narain the dimensions of job situations in the Indian context were chosen. In all, eight job factors were selected for the present study. One of the objectives of restricting the study only to the most important factors was to make the questionnaire brief and less time consuming.


The questionnaires were distributed through the regular organizational mail system. Groups of" high job involved" and "low job involved" were formed against a criterion of total scores (the cut off score being 65). The analysis of needs was done by calculating mean values on a five point scale in which point 3 was taken as mid-point, dividing the scale in two equal halves (i.e., need fulfillment on the higher side and need fulfillment on the lower side). A similar method was employed to calculate the mean need expectation. The mean need gap the difference between mean need expectations and mean need fulfillment was found out for low and high JI groups. The extent to which the needs of employees should be fulfilled by the management was the intersection point between need expectation and need fulfillment. Chi-square analysis was performed to find out the significance of relationships between levels of JI and level of need fulfillment and expectations.


The levels of need fulfillment need expectation, desired need fulfillment, and the gaps between desired and present level for high and low job involved of employees. The data did not reveal a strong relationship between JI and need fulfillment, need expectation, gap between expected and actual need fulfillment, or gap between desired and actual need fulfillment. Thus the findings of this study are inconsistent with those of Misra and Kalro. For example, regardless of the level of JI, employees were having maximum need gap for "recognition for good work done," followed by "opportunity forpersonal growth and development," and "decision making authority."Nor was there a relationship between need fulfillment and JI. Only one relationship between JI and the 8 need fulfillment items was found to be significant, namely "recognition for good work done." The high job involved employees tended to report higher need satisfaction wither spect to "recognition for good work done," and the low job involved officers tended to report lower need fulfillment vis-a-vis this factor. There meaning 7 factors seemed unrelated to JI.

Implications and Conclusions

Not only has India one of the largest and busiest railways in the world, but also, IR is arguably the most traditional and monolithic in its basic structure. In fact, it closely resembles the archetypal railway described in this toolkit prior to considering the alternatives. Traffic growth has underpinned management initiatives to attain steady and significant improvements in staff productivity and equipment utilization. Nevertheless, IR has not been notably innovative in using modern rail technology, nor in transforming to more commercial management structures, nor focused on service quality or market-responsiveness. Instead, when seeking commercial focus, it has tended to create semiautonomous enterprises that bypass its own structures. The burst of improvements and achievements in business processes during 2004-08, appear to have been originated and driven by specific Ministerial leadership, rather than emerging from the permanent institutions of industry structure.162 And the subsequent diversion of a large part of those gains into the wages bill is a common feature of politically driven enterprises. The employees, regardless of job involvement, want more decision making authority, more opportunities for personal growth and development, and recognition for good work done. This can be achieved through widening their areas of responsibility, larger delegation of authority, adequate feedback and incentives for good work, and training. Top management must continue its efforts to create a work environment in which bank officers, who are themselves playing a key role as managers in motivating others, would voluntarilyput forth their maximum contribution. The factor which will require particular attention in relationto JI is the recognition for good work done. Greaterr ecognition by the bosses should lead to higherjob involvement. Both tangible (merit based promotions) and symbolic forms of recognition(e.g., certificates or medals, etc., for outstanding work) should be helpful. The general absence of relationship between JI and need satisfaction found in this study may bedew to the fact that compared, say, to the sample of Misra and Kalro, the present sample was much more homogeneous, consisting of managers in nationalized banks. Thus, the potential variation in both classes of variables may have been limited by the sampling design. Only further research can unravel the anomaly.