A1989 batch officer of the Indian Railway Accounts Services, Santosh Kumar Pattanayak has recently joined Indian Railway Finance Corporation Limited (IRFC) as its managing director. In his current position, he is responsible for raising extrabudgetary resources for the Indian Railways (IR) on year-to-year basis. Over the years, IRFC has successfully tapped the global and domestic debt markets to meet IR’s annual financing requirements.
Sharing his perspective on the current state of the railway sector, Pattanayak believes that underinvestment is the key hindrance to growth. He says, “Presently, IR is in a vicious circle of poor quality services and delays, inability to increase fares, low resource generation, and low surplus available for investment. Therefore, adequate investment is the need of the hour. There should be a focus on undertaking new initiatives for resource mobilisation and ensuring timely completion of projects.”
Prior to working in IRFC, Pattanayak was director, finance, Heavy Engineering Limited. He started his career as a scientist at the Cement Research Institute and thereafter joined the Oil and Natural Gas Commission as a geologist. As a civil servant, he has worked for South Eastern Railway, East Cost Railway and Northern Railway. Pattanayak fondly remembers an IT-based project that he piloted during his stint with East Coast Railway. It involved back-office automation, along with the integration of web-based applications for a new zonal railway office.
Pattanayak says that he derives strength from his own conviction to deliver quality output. He believes in adopting a consultative approach to decision-making. His risk-taking abilities and innovative thinking help his team deliver their best, even in the most trying circumstances. Over the years, he has won several accolades, such as the Rail Mantri Award in 1989 for office automation to increase productivity, the General Manager’s Award in 1996 at South Eastern Railway for his contribution to expenditure management, and the Medhavita Award by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, for outstanding contribution in geological field activities for oil and gas exploration in Mizoram and the Best Probationer Award in 1991 at the Railway Staff College, Vadodara.
Pattanayak holds a master’s degree in Science Technology (Applied Geology) from the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad and a master’s in Public Management from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.