The railway minister, Suresh Prabhu in an interview to CNBC-TV 18 said that railways was in the process of restructuring entire organisation. It involves huge costs, but though the Finance minister, Arun Jaitley has sanctioned only Rs 55,000 crore as the Budgetary allocation, the rest will be raised outside of the Budget. He said, railways are on the lookout for a dedicated freight corridor for which 10 states have signed a JV agreements to come on board. He also said that dedicated freight corridor that started last year is at advanced stage. Most Funds To Be Spent Towards Rolling Stock, Safety Fund. He also said that this year the outlays have been increased to Rs 1 lakh crore and spent Rs 90,000 crore.
While last year for railways was a year of contemplation, this year will be of consolidation and working at an accelerated pace, the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had said adding that “the train is now moving in the right direction.” The Ministry will try to remove constraints over issues of raising funds, pinpointing hurdles and finding probable solutions for them.
Indian Railways has recently been following measures to bring huge amount of private investments in Indian Railways. Ongoing station redevelopment and advertisements initiatives of the Indian Railways can be topped up with private investments in areas such as mechanization of track maintenance works, development of multi-modal logistics park, and modernization and renovation of railway workshops. Hence, Indian Railways need a comprehensive PPP policy framework along with detailed and clear roadmap for implementation of projects on PPP mode.
In view of the recent train accidents, there is an urgent need to revamp the safety features of the railways system as a whole. The government needs to adopt a pragmatic approach in implementation of the safety improvement plans suggested in the Sam Pitroda report. The report on modernization of Indian Railways has put strong emphasis on improvement of safety measures in Indian Railways and envisaged a total investment of Rs. 39,836 crore towards mechanisation of track maintenance works, installation of wheel impact load detectors, equipping trains with Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), installation of vehicle borne digitized and recordable ultrasonic flaw detectors, elimination of unmanned level crossings, and other similar works.
The ministry is planning to establish a dedicated safety fund for such measures. 25% of the funding is expected to come from the finance ministry while remaining will be raised through a safety cess to be levied from the customers. Besides, the ministry is expected to take proactive and fast steps towards equipping the trains with indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). Besides that a new catering policy is also likely to be announced this week. The ministry also has an ambitious bullet trains project tha it plans to complete by 2023. Discussions and talks are underway with the Japanese government for same.