Sounds odd, but the highest paid Indian bureaucrat till 1959 was the railway board chairman and not the cabinet secretary. The top rail bureaucrat, who was earlier called chief commissioner of railways, drew a basic salary of Rs 3,250 per month, a smart 8.3% more than that of the cabinet secretary, the senior-most bureaucrat in India. But as the fortunes of Indian Railways dwindled over the years — its market share in freight movement has shrunk from 90% in 1950 to 30% now — the clout of the rail bosses and their corresponding rank and pay have also slipped.
Today, the railway board chairman and eight other top rail babus receive a salary equivalent to a government of India secretary, a scale which as many as 230 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and 40 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers also draw. For good measure, the cabinet secretary now not only draws a higher salary than the railway board chairman, his superior rank comes with better perks including a bungalow at Prithviraj Road located in the heart of Lutyens' Delhi.