Attracting investments and strengthening infrastructure
Rajaji Meshram, Transport sector expert,
said that the investments in the railways have gone up multifold in the past 4-5 years. However, the railways’ share has gone down to 35 percent primarily because of the chronic underinvestment. “if you go through various five-year plans, you will find that the investment in road infrastructure was of a very large quantum. Four years back, the annual railway budget used to be around ₹55,000 crore, which has now crossed over ₹1 lakh crore”, he said.
Rajiv Mehrotra, chairman & managing director, RITES Ltd,
said there is a need to examine why Built operate and Transfer (BOT) model could not pick up and how the railways is going to expand the infrastructure.
He said in the last three to four years, the railways has increased the pace of attracting investments and this momentum needs to be accelerated. “We need to get out-of-the-box solutions”, mehrotra said.
RS Khurana, chairman & managing director, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation,
said the suburban railway is very typical and the network is huge, because of which the safety aspect has become very important.
The railways is planning to monetise the land available to get investments for enhancing the suburban network. “mumbai has developed along the railway tracks ever since the first Emu dc train started its operations in 1925. The importance of local or suburban trains cannot be ignored”, he said.
recently, a comprehensive programme for the development of mumbai suburban area has been proposed.
SK Pattanayak, managing director, IRFC,
said that the irfc since its inception in 1986 has been into railway financing. It started with the financial leasing of rolling stock assets in its first year of operation and today it is very much active in financial leasing domain, he said.
incremental borrowing has gone up like anything. Today, the cumulative borrowing, which irfc has done for the indian railways, is around ₹2.2 lakh crore. “This is further going to increase,” he said. The railways has fixed the target for the irfc in the current year at around ₹55,000 crore.
Sanjay Gupta, chairman & managing director, Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL),
talked about how Konkan railway is an example of increasing investments and creating infrastructure. Krcl came into being in 1990 and for the first time the model of a joint venture between the beneficiary states and the union government was picked up. The equity holders of the corporation are the ministry of railways and the four states. “This is how the first investment was attracted,” he said.
Today, Krcl is running 30 trains from each way. now, Krcl has reached a stage where there is no scope left for the infrastructure expansion and more efforts are being made to attract investment for creating infrastructure.
Kishore Arun Desai, OSD, Economic Advisory Council to PM, NITI Aayog,
said that the fundamental question which needs to be asked is whether the railways is a commercial entity or not. “We are apparently treating the railways for passenger businesses. About 70 percent of the total passenger revenue is under recovery, which means the railways is losing a huge chunk of its passenger revenue on account of social obligation,” he said. The railways is using freight as an instrument to make money and there are no political issues around the freight, he said.
Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, director and practice leader – transport and logistics, CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory, said the railways
has planned to garner an investment of ₹8.56 lakh crore over a period of five years.
There are enough provisions within the indian railways and it can go ahead with monetising its assets. “For ensuring a growth, you have to have the revenue”, he said. Around ₹25,000 crores can be raised if the transmission lines of the railways are monetised, he suggested.
Gouri Thounaojam, head – government relations, PMI,
said that the project management ecosystem developed within the nodal ministry or Psu will not only mitigate risk but will also ensure implementation of the idea to execute projects effectively.
A total of 355 out of 1,304 railway projects were recently reviewed and 198 of them witnessed a cost overrun of ₹1.5 lakh crore, which is alarming. “it is the need of the hour to get the house in order”, she said.
Rupinder Singh, director systems engineering, Cisco India & SAARC,
said that the indian railways has enormously improved upon itself in the last couple of years. it is going with the right strategy to leverage technology, optimise services, improve safety and monetise assets.
Train communication system is extremely important and the railways is still using the age old communication system. He hoped that the railways would soon opt modern communication system. on the asset part, he said that he was glad to see two stations – Habibganj and ghandinagar – are being modernised by the railways.
Mukesh Nigam, managing director, CRIS,
said for the past 15 years, such is the push towards digitisation that all other aspects of railway workings have been brought under this ambit. There has been two objectives of digitisation, which include a push towards customer delight as well. “Today a customer wants seamless service. The applications are in silos but as the technology has grown, we are heading towards integration of these applications”, he said.
Dr R Badri Narayan, executive director (C&IS), Indian Railways,
said the railways chose to go with its own it organisation to execute its applications and that was the time when cris came into being.
“I want to highlight the benefits of having a captive it organisation. there was a time when Passenger reservation system used to be with the cmc and the railways got into major contractual issues and could not take the project forward. later, cris was pitched in for the project. despite a lot of improvements, we find that for sustained IT development it is good to have a captive organisation,” he said.
Kamal Kashyap, manager, India – public sector sales, enterprise group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise,
said the complexities which exists in the railway operations in india are unparallel in many ways in terms of number of passengers and tracks. indian railways is a classical organisation because it has a huge manufacturing setup and a huge customer base.
“As an it organisation, the company can bring in the cutting-edge technology. We have the understanding of technology and we can assist the railways to have a particular technology which is best suited for it. We have a whole lot of customised products for the railways”, he said.
Nalin Bansal, VP, Rupay contactless & new business, National Payments Corporation of India,
said npci is farily a young company which started around 10 years ago and was given a mandate by the rbi to set up domestic payment system.
Today, npci is a 1,000 people strong organisation. Everything that npci does is completely in-house. “it has helped in creating an ability to innovate and coming up with solutions relevant to the market”, he said.
NK Goyal, president, CMAI Association of India Limited,
said there should be a balance in the way in which technology is used in the age of mass scale adoption of modern technology.
Sunil Kumar, GGM – internet ticketing, IRCTC,
said that at present insurance cover is being given on the reserved tickets to passengers by the irctc. “if due to some unavoidable reasons, a passenger cancels his ticket, a certain amount of money gets deducted as a cancellation fee. irctc is thinking to give insurance on cancellation fee to passengers to minimise their losses”, he said.
Himanshu Goyal, India business leader, The Weather Company,
said that the company was founded 40 years ago in the united states of America and ibm bought it three years back. “We are forecasters at one end from Business to consumer (B2c) perspective and we help our customers make better decisions,” he explained. The company provides services to major mobile handset companies, Facebook and other companies. The firm had also helped the government of rajasthan to create rajdharaa citizen App where people can get latest weather updates.
Presentation on security surveillance in Indian Railways by Sumati Shandilya, DIG/MAC, Railway Protection Force, Indian Railways
underscored the importance of safety and security. He said that it needs to function smoothly in a secured environment for the economic and social well-being of the nation and its citizens.
railway network in india has undergone massive expansion in the recent years. While the length of route kilometres has not increased as much, the number of trains and volume of passengers have gone up manifold. The inherent structural weaknesses of the railway system like many entry/exit points, stoppages of trains in poorly secured roadside stations, lack of access control and unregulated crowd movement make it highly vulnerable, he said.
L to R: Kishore Arun Desai, NITI Aayog; SK Pattanayak, IRFC; Sanjay Gupta, Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd; ₹Khurana, MRVC; Rajaji Meshram, Transport Sector Expert; Rajiv Mehrotra, RITES; Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory; and...