Indian Railways at the Crossroads

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : ECON005 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Corporate Restructuring
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 1990 - 2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Indian Railways
Industry : -
Countries : India


The case discusses the growth and operations of Indian Railways, the largest railway network under a single management and the largest employer in the world. The roots of IR are traced back to the 1800s, when India was under the British rule.

The case includes a detailed account of the development of IR since the mid-1800s till the early-2000s. Most of the important developments in the history of IR are outlined. Although railway networks were initially developed by private companies, after 1920 they were all taken over by the central government, which created a department of railways. Even after Indian independence in 1947, railways continued as a central government department.

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The practice of presenting a railway budget separate from the annual general budget is also traced back to British times. The second part of the case outlines some of the problems faced by IR in the late-1900s and the difficulties the department faced in overcoming them. Several experts suggested ways in which IR may be restructured. These suggestions are also discussed in detail. The case concludes with a description of the steps taken by IR to overcome some of its problems.


Study the operations of a very large organization in India that played a social, political and economic role in the country

The disparity between the organization's social and economic objectives and the difficulties it faced in overcoming them


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background 2
Operations of IR 4
The Issues 5
Towards a Better IR 8
Exhibits 11


Growth, operations, Indian Railways, railway network, single management, largest employer, world, 1800, British rule, networks, private companies, 1920, central government, department of railways, Indian independence, railway budget, annual general budget, problems faced, Several experts suggested ways

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