Commission of Railway Safety: Aim, Functions

This Commission works under the control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Government of India which administrates its functioning and crosschecking developments.

Aim

  1. Major aim to establish the Commission of Railway Safety was to ensure the aspects related to rail travel safety and its operation.
  2. The Commission also looks at the specific constitutional functions that had been implemented through the Railways Act (1989).
  3. Nature of this Commission’s functioning is carefully inspectorial, investigatory and advisory.

Major factors on which this Commission concentrates include legislative investigation in case of rail accidents and the rules associated with them under the framing of Railways Act.

Other factors like issuing executive instructions on regular intervals for which this Commission was set are also important.

Major duties

  1. Major duties of this Commission include that this Commission assures for confirming whether any new railway line opened and planned for operation maintains the safety standards as specified by the Ministry of Railways.
  2. The Commission must approve for operation of new line in terms of safety standard whether that is capable to carry passenger traffic or not.
  3. Other roles of the Commission are monitoring gauge conversion and crosschecking line doubling besides thorough assessment of the lines and existing line electrification. Commission also conducts inquiry into serious train accidents that might occur any time. It would recommend safety measures to make best possible Railways safety improvement.

The Government of India appointed a Commission after entrusting private companies especially by involving the Consulting Engineers to ensure effective control of the construction and operation of India’s first railways project.

All those Consulting Engineers involved in this project were designated as Government Inspectors on the later stage when the Central Government undertook construction and operation of railways.

Their statutory recognition was completed in the year 1883 in further extension process. The Railway Board placed the entire Railway Inspectorate under it in 1905 upon establishment.

The Railway Board was delegated with its powers and functions under the Indian Railway Board Act, 1905 post its establishment under the Notification No. 801 that dated to March 24, 1905 issued by the Central Government’s Department of Commerce and Industry. It was completed under several sections of the Railway Act with the powers and authorities to create various general rules for effective railway operation.

Since then, this Railway Board acts in the capacity of Safety Controlling Authority to operate and work for both Company managed and Government’s railway operations.

The functions were clearly drawn under the Section 181(3) of the Government of India Act of 1935 to plan them so that safety and security are dealt in clearly in the interest of the public travelling through the railways.

Other functions were proper operation of the railways by ensuring least accidents and most importantly it was assigned to it to hold all inquiries pertaining to the accidents if any and their major and minor causes. This authority was totally independent without any other pressure hence the Federal Railway Authority was formed for such purpose.

Central Legislature permitted the main process to separate Railway Inspectorate in 1940 with the recommendation of placing the Senior Government Inspectors of the Railways under an authority solely administered by the Central Government.

It followed by all Railway Inspectorate being placed to be controlled and administered by the Department of Posts and Air for which May 1941 was the date fixed. It was approached for continuation by any of the Ministries to administer that would be under the Civil Aviation portfolio.

The Commission of Railway Safety is the redesigned form of the former Railway Inspectorate whose inception on 1.11.1961 was revolutionary step.

Functions of Railway Safety Commission

  1. Approval of safety
  2. Auditing and monitoring safety
  3. Enforcement of safety
  4. Investigation
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