10 December 2007

Does Lalu Owe credit for Railways Turnaround??


Philosophically speaking, the real driver of rail reforms is not Lalu, though he must get credit for executing them. The real driver is competition – from roads in freight and from airlines and cars in the passenger business.

The operationalisation of the various strategies over the past two years depended significantly on the leadership style of Mr Lalu Prasad. It was a common sense based approach, showing an astute understanding of the market reality, the asset base of the IR and the expertise and capability of the IR’s management and systems. Consequently, he followed this up with the principles of leveraging the assets (“milk the cow fully”) and empowerment and delegation. With whatever has been achieved in the ‘turnaround,’ Mr Lalu Prasad has demonstrated that good economics is good politics.

Non Interference
“Mr Lalu Prasad is a non-interfering, yet aware MR, who sets the goals and expects results.” Many think that his non-interference in crucial matters was actually one of the major positives.

Image Building: Media
Given his penchant for wit and one liners, Mr Lalu Prasad was sought after by the media. Whenever there was an opportunity to highlight an initiative or an achievement, advertisements were released.

Identifying Right People: Choice of OSD
In this tenure, in all the dealings of the MR with the IR, a nodal person has been the OSD, Mr Sudhir Kumar. He was specially chosen by the MR for this position, based on earlier interactions when Mr Sudhir Kumar held different positions in Bihar as an IAS officer.

The OSD understood that the IR officers themselves were a source of ideas for innovation, that would be in line with the MR’s thinking. He made it a point to be open to ideas from within the IR, so that they could be examined by the concerned functional departments and appropriate action finalized and implemented quickly. Given his unique position, he could cut across the hierarchy of the IR.
Whenever initiatives were taken up, he was relentless in follow up. The initiatives related to axle load increase, market oriented tariffs, reducing wagon turnaround, innumerable freight incentive schemes, passenger profile management, upgradation of passengers, zero based timetabling, leasing of parcel capacity, catering, are among the many which have been followed up for execution.
Mr. Lalu Prasad is neither an engineer nor an economist. The formula for success was so simple that only the rustic wisdom of a leader like Mr. Lalu Prasad and his supporting staff could devise.

His robust common sense has made the Railways a success story, which attracted students of Harvard and Wharton universities to study the phenomenon, and which made the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, start a chair for railway study in this prestigious organization.

6 comments:

  1. yes...lalu non-interference was the biggest reason for railways success!!!!

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  2. contrary to many ppl opinion lalu has really turnaround the railways...i think he also deserves some credit for this....as the same ppl were present earlier also but could'nt do anything.

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  3. I dont think lalu is capable enough to do this. Else bihar will be like anything.

    I was reading somewhere that all this implementation is coming from the mastermind of one of his team members at top position.

    Who knows? what is the truth?

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  4. The person people are talking about has been mentioned in the paragraph "Identifying Right People: Choice of OSD".....

    Though nobody knows the truth, but i believe, we don't care, as long as the railways is going up :)

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  5. His robust common sense has made the Railways a success story, which attracted students of Harvard and Wharton universities to study the phenomenon, and which made the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, start a chair for railway study in this prestigious organization.

    Dont you think that you have also given the reason for such achievments.
    The media hype,master mind behind his success.It is not because of his common sense.I think any person with a logical mind could have done that.
    And yeah,regarding the credit thingy,I think he already had it (200 crore for chara ghotala.)

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  6. hmmm....i also think that anybody could have done this, but somehow it did'nt happen.Be it anything, you have to give it to the man and his team for the turnaround...

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