Published on: June 07, 2023
Source: India Today
Why in News?
Investigation into the recent tragic train accident in Odisha is being conducted by the Commission of Railway Safety for the south-eastern circle.
What is the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS)?
CRS is a government body that acts as the railway safety authority in the country.
It deals with matters related to safety of rail travel and operations, among some other statutory functions – inspectorial, investigatory, and advisory – as laid down in the Railways Act, 1989.
It is Headquartered in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) instead of the Ministry of Railways.
The reason behind this is to keep the CRS insulated from the influence of the country’s railway establishment and prevent conflicts of interest.
What is the History of CRS?
Indian Railway Board Act, 1905:
As per the Indian Railway Board Act, 1905, and a notification by the then Department of Commerce and Industry, the Railway Board was entrusted with powers and functions of the government under various sections of the Railway Act and was also authorised to make rules for railway operations in India.
This effectively made the Railway Board the safety controlling authority for railways in India.
Government of India Act of 1935:
Section 181(3) of the Government of India Act of 1935 stated that there should be a separate authority responsible for ensuring the safety of both passengers and railway personnel. This authority would investigate accidents and determine their causes.
In 1939, a panel headed by the then chief inspecting officer of the British Railways, A.H.L. Mount, noted that the Railway Board was appreciative of the separation argument and “would welcome the change”.
Separation from Inspectorate:
In May 1941, the Railway Inspectorate was separated from the Railway Board and placed under the control of the Department of Posts and Air at that time.
Later in 1961, the Inspectorate was renamed as CRS (Commissioner of Railway Safety), and it has been under the authority of the central ministry responsible for civil aviation in India ever since.