The Railway Ministry, led by recently-appointed railways minister Mr Mallikarjun Kharge (pictured left), decided against appointing a full-time chairman due to the controversy surrounding the top posts in the railway following May's cash for appointments scandal. Board member, staff, Mr Mahesh Kumar was arrested after he was reportedly found to offer cash for the coveted position of member electrical, while previous railway minister, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, was also forced to resign.

Other existing board members have taken on temporary roles following a number of retirements. Long considered the front runner for the chairmanship, Mr Kul Bhusan, the current member, electrical, will also take care of the responsibilities of member, traffic, which has been vacant for the past two months.

Kumar's position as member, staff, is being covered by current member, engineering, Mr Subodh Jain, while member, budget, Mr Rajendra Kashyap has also assumed the role of financial commissioner.

Kharge says permanently filling the vacant posts remains his top priority but he will wait until the names proposed for the full time chairmanship and other vacant posts on the board are cleared by the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).

For a detailed analysis of the challenges facing India's new railway minister see IRJ's July issue p16, or click here.