The Indian Railways is the world’s eighth-largest employer with over 14 lakh employees, and according to official data from 2015-2016, it transported an average of over 22 million passengers daily.
And while the vast rail network’s paramount priority is the safety of the vast number of passengers it carries every single day, through innovative technology and training of its manpower, the past year has witnessed multiple cases of derailments, that have injured its reputation.
So, in a move to step up its safety system on an administrative level, the Indian Railways will be setting up a ‘whistleblowers’ website for its 14 lakh employees.
This website will allow Railway employees at all levels to report any safety lapses they encounter to top officials, including the Railway Board Chairman, in the day-to-day running of the organisation, without risking their identity or job security.
The website, under development by the Railways’ software arm, Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), will give complete freedom to every railway employee ranging from a trackman to an officer, to make anonymous disclosures on shortcomings in ensuring safe train operations, reports the Indian Express.
Whether it’s a gateman sleeping during duty hours or engineers not following maintenance protocol, all the information disclosed by whistleblowers will be closely 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.
A similar system was first launched in Air India when Lohani served as the Chairman and Managing Director of the government-owned flag carrier airline of the country. The now Railway Board Chairman even had Railway officials interact with Air India officials to get an understanding of the working of the system and its benefits.
The aim is to turn every Railway employee into the eyes and ears of the administration to ensure the safety of passengers.
And while there is always a possibility of false alarms, the Railway authorities are optimistic that the system will at least help immediate safety checks.
“At least people will have the security of staying anonymous and, as a result, nobody will have a fear of being hauled up later,” another Railways official told the publication.