From here, now, railways has to move towards a totally new generation of rolling stock, which is the coaches that Indian Railways use.

Railways will be profitable in the coming 5-6 years with its ongoing transformative initiatives, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said. The minister expressed confidence that the Railways will have a “superb” business proposition in coming years.

“With Prime Minister (Narendra Modi)’s vision, the transformation that is taking place and those that are expected to be in place…in the coming 5-6 years down the line, railways will be highly profitable,” Vaishnaw said in a statement. The railway’s ecosystem will expand and customer experience will also transform, he said.

On the financial position of Indian Railways, the minister said its balance sheet depended largely on the cargo it handles.

He said that the cargo that Indian Railways handle needs to transform. Railways need to focus on retail cargo for small industries. Addressing that segment of the cargo will push up railways’ economics significantly, he added.

“And, I’m sure that with the inventions, with the innovations that we are doing, in fact, today, from here I’ll be going to the New Delhi railway station where the box that we have developed for such medium, small-scale industries, small businesses…that box we will see today and hopefully, will soon deploy that,” he said. In seven years, railways had seen improvements in punctuality, cleanliness, and offering good services to passengers. 

From here, now, railways has to move towards a totally new generation of rolling stock, which is the coaches that Indian Railways use. It has to have a totally new way of working, in which it efficiently addresses the products and the logistics needs of small farmers and industries, Vaishnaw said.

Shipping Train

On the financial position of Indian Railways, the minister said its balance sheet depended largely on the cargo it handles.

Railways has to transform and be more open from the perspective of passengers, cargo, technology, and mindset. The Indian Railways enjoyed almost 80 per cent of marketshare in logistics in the 1950s which has come down to 27-28 per cent, and the challenge now is to move up from those levels. Railways intends to vie for a bigger share of cargo.

Vaishnaw said that countries like Germany have the best cost of logistics, which is nine per cent of GDP (gross domestic product). India has 14 per cent… So, how do we bring this 14 per cent to 10-11 per cent, it is only possible if more cargo share comes to railways. On how private sector participation will be scaled up in railways, the minister said substantial private sector interaction with railways already exists in the form of partners, manufacturers, service providers, and construction contractors ecosystem.

He said that the private sector needs to look for structures where risk allocation is proper.

 “It’s not lopsided, payment terms are proper, dispute resolution is properly defined, contractual structure and policy are well structured. So, that’s what we need to work,” he said. Noting that the country shifted to a model where private and public sectors worked as partners for the construction of highways, he said “that kind of thing needs to come into railways now”.

Viashnaw said that soon there will be the first BOT (build-operate-transfer) project for laying new railway lines. He exuded confidence in constructing many more kilometers using that model. Vaishnaw said the prime minister had laid out the vision of connecting all parts of the country with modern world-class trains. Indian Railways started manufacturing those, it is progressing well. We’ll get the first prototype by coming April. Indian Railways get the serial production going on by coming September-October.

“Then, every month, 5-6 new trains will come,” he said adding that the focus will be on transforming customer experience and prompting more people to travel by trains.

On the significance of Shri Ramayan Yatra train, the minister said the concept of ‘Bharat Gaurav trains’ is to offer an authentic way for people to experience India’s culture, heritage, diversity and it also “makes business sense” to run such trains.

Indian Railway

On the significance of Shri Ramayan Yatra train, the minister said the concept of ‘Bharat Gaurav trains’ is to offer an authentic way for people to experience India’s culture, heritage, diversity and it also “makes business sense” to run such trains.

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