Parliamentary panel favours 'mini ratna' status for IRCTC

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New Delhi, Apr 30 (UNI) A parliamentary panel has rapped the Railway Ministry for putting on hold the proposals of the IRCTC, the catering and hospitality arm of the Railways, to grant it the status of a 'mini ratna' company and allow it to develop budget hotels on 100 locations across the country.

Noting that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) had submitted a proposal to the ministry for grant of 'mini ratna' status, the Committee on Public Undertakings observed that such a status would be imperative for the company's functional autonomy and running of its affairs in ''a professionalised manner''.

The committee, which presented its report in Parliament yesterday, observed that the IRCTC was incorporated in September 1999 as a limited company to professionalise and manage catering and hospitality services in railways and to promote domestic and international tourism.

The panel, headed by Rupchand Pal, MP, said the hospitality industry in the country had undergone a tremendous change in the last few years, making it imperative for IRCTC to perform in ''a more professionalised and efficient manner.'' Pointing out that the IRCTC's proposal for 'mini ratna' status was pending with the Railway Ministry, the committee said it should be expedited to provide functional autonomy to the company.

It also rued the fact that the post of IRCTC's Managing Director had been lying vacant since October 23 last year and Director (Tourism and Marketing) entrusted with the additional responsibility of the MD. Besides, three other vacancies -- Director (Finance) and two non-official directors, also exist in the company.

The committee said these vanacies should be filled up expeditiously.

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