Scripting history, the Centre on Thursday appointed Jaya Verma Sinha as the first ever woman Chairperson and CEO of the Railway Board, the apex decision-making body of the Indian Railways. This is a first in the 118 year history of the Railway Board.

She succeeds Anil Kumar Lahoti, whose tenure ends on August 31.

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Jaya Verma Sinha, Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) Member Operations and Business Development) Railway Board to the post of Chairman and the CEO…..with effect from the date of assumption on or after September 1, 2023,” a government notification read.

Sinha currently holds the position of Member (Operations and Business Development), Railways Board.

In the last two years, which included Sinha’s tenure as Additional Member, Traffic Transportation, Railway Board, the Indian Railways registered an all time high growth of over 20 per cent in the freight segment and broke the mark of 1.5 billion tonnes annually in freight.

Sinha was at the centre stage of the railways’ media interactions recently when, as the Member (Operations and Business Development), she explained the complex signalling system after the tragic Balasore accident which killed nearly 300 people.

She is due for retirement on October 1, but will be re-appointed the same day till her tenure as Railway Board Chairperson gets over, sources said. Sinha’s tenure as Railway Board head is slated to end on December 31, 2024.

An alumnus of the Allahabad University, Sinha joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service in 1988 and worked in Northern Railway, South Eastern Railway and Eastern Railway.

She also worked as Railway Advisor in the High Commission of India, Dhaka, Bangladesh for four years. The Maitree Express from Kolkata to Dhaka was inaugurated during her tenure in Bangladesh.

She also worked as the Divisional Railway Manager, Eastern Railway, Sealdah Division.

In her career of over 35 years with the Indian Railways, she has worked in diverse verticals spanning operations, commercial, IT and vigilance.

Sinha was also the first woman to be appointed as the Principal Chief Operations Manager of South Eastern Railway.