Indian Railways is focusing on improving capacity augmentation and improving its financial performance to provide better services to its customers, stated Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways, Government of India. Mr. Prabhu was speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Annual Session 2017 themed 'Future of Globalisation: Can India Lead?' being held in New Delhi.
According to Mr. Prabhu, passenger and rail freight traffic has increased substantially over the years but railway infrastructure has not. It is for this reason that the Railways is trying to expand its network significantly. He mentioned that the Dedicated Freight Corridor that was coming up between Delhi and Mumbai would help bifurcate passenger and freight traffic in this segment.
In addition, Mr. Prabhu highlighted the High Speed corridors that were being set up between Delhi and Mumbai and Delhi and Kolkata as well as the Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Railway. All these projects, he added would help increase the capacity of the railways.
On the financial front, the Minister stated that the Railways was trying to diversify its freight basket from the current level of 10 major commodities to around 40. He also stated that the railways were trying to increase non-fare revenue and reduce expenditure through measures such as introducing a digital supply chain and by adopting solar energy to reduce energy costs.
Mr. Ravindra Gupta, Member, Railway Board, stated that over the last three years, the Railways has introduced a slew of reforms. These include doubling the pace of infrastructure creation with a special focus on safety related infrastructure, improving connectivity to the Northeast, and improving the average speed of the existing network among others. He stated that 2 more locomotive factories have been set up and work has begun on modernizing stations.
He observed that freight performance has increased marginally despite the slump in the global commodity markets. Customer experience is being improved by adopting digital technologies. In the medium-term, Mr. Gupta stated the railways would focus on expansion and decongestion of the existing railway network.
The session was moderated by Mr. Siddharth Zarabi, Executive Editor, BTVi.
April 28, 2017