Brief on the outcome of the meeting held today between Hon’ble Minister for Railways and the Federation
All India Railwaymen Federation
4, State Entry road,
New Delhi 110055
Dated: December 18, 2014
The General Secretaries,
All Affiliated Unions,
Sub: Brief on the outcome of the meeting held today between Hon’ble Minister for Railways and the Federations
Today a meeting was held between Hon’ble Minister for Railways and the Federations on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) in Indian Railways, wherein MoSR, CRB, MS and ED(IR) were also present. AIRF was represented by its President and General Secretary, Com. Rakhal Das Gupta and Shiva Gopal Mishra.
At the outset, Hon’ble MR, while welcoming the federations, assured that there would be no privatization of any activity in the Railways. He also mentioned that, his system of working had been very transparent, and he would try that each and every issue must be discussed with the federations with full transparency.
He said that the Indian Railways are passing through economic crisis, and under these circumstances we have to invite private capital. He further said that he want to assure that private capital would be used for expansion of railway infrastructure, but all the activities, right from production, maintenance and operation, will be dealt by the Railwaymen only.
I as well as President/AIRF fully opposed FDI in the Railways, and said that, because of the propaganda, Railwaymen have been demoralized, and being safety categories, such propaganda of privatization of the Railways or Restructuring of the Railway Board and Ministry of Railways, bringing IASs in the Railway Management, will be proved counter-productive for the Railway System.
I also reminded the Hon’ble MR about his statement in the Parliament as well as today morning while inaugurating Bhatinda Shatabdi Express that he would create SPVs with the state governments and asked him to clarify, what is the purpose of such SPVs. He again made it clear that the state governments should be asked to reimburse the cost of such projects, but only money will be taken from them, and all the works, right from production, maintenance and operation, will be done by the Railwaymen only.
I also reminded the Hon’ble MR about the circular issued by the Ministry of Commerce & Heavy Industry, stating, in all the three sectors – production, maintenance and operation, 100% FDI will be allowed. He said that, he would have another round of meeting with the federations, after going through all the aspects, but assured that there would not be any harm to the existing Railway System. Hon’ble MR directed the CRB to explain them and give copies of the MoUs undertaken with 7-8 countries on various activities, right from high speed rail to establishing railway institutes. He also directed the Member Staff to constitute a committee, headed by the Member Staff, wherein Presidents and General Secretaries of both the federations will be a part, and directed him to have regular meetings and clarify them on all the relevant issues.
On this occasion I also raised the issue of abolition of NPS while bringing Old Pension Scheme, and explained him that the earlier Hon’ble MR had written a letter to the then Finance Minister. The MS clarified him the issue. The MR assured that he would go through the subject matter and will also have discussion with the Finance Minister.
The issue of depleted condition of Railway quarters and poor medical facilities was also raised by us. Hon’ble MR further directed the CRB to give a note to the Financial Commissioner(Railways) to allocate sufficient funds to meet the requirements of maintenance of Railway colonies and medical facilities.
The CRB also raised the issue of PLB to Railwaymen, wherein he explained that, every year since last 3-4 years there used to be lots of troubles, and many times threat of stoppage of trains used to come from the federations. Now, the PM and FM have finally said, if there will not be any formula, then they will not allow PLB from the next year.
The CRB requested through the MR that the federations should co-operate them.
I, on behalf of AIRF, told him pointblank that the bilateral agreement, arrived at between the federations and Railway Ministry on 22.11.1979, is sacrosanct, therefore, there is no necessity to make any change in it. Even then, the CRB asked that, there have been lots of changes in the working pattern as well as weightage in the capital, which was opposed by both the federations.
Finally, Hon’ble MR said that, he do not want any discontentment among the Railwaymen, therefore, the MS should deal this issue separately within the committee, and in case there is any problem, he is ready to discuss the matter with him.
Hon’ble MR further said, it is just beginning, we want frequent dialogues with the federations, and in case if needed, he may visit federation offices and can discuss the issue there too.
The meeting was concluded in a very cordial manner with the hope that transparency, about whom the MR has talked, will be maintained, and anything will not be done which will jeopardize the Railway System by bringing FDI or Restructuring of the Railway Board and Ministry of Railways etc.
With fraternal greetings!
(Shiv Gopal Mishra)
Source : AIRF