The smart initiatives undertaken by the Indian Railways during the past two and a half years to increase revenue, especially non-fare revenue, augment capacity and increase operational efficiencies to lower costs in a passenger and business friendly manner has the potential of raising the country’s GDP by 2 percentage points, Union Railway Minister, Mr. Suresh Prabhu, said at FICCI’S Smart Railways Conclave.
Mr. Prabhu said that to make this significant contribution to GDP a reality, the railways were working towards improving its finances and operational aspects in a transparent manner besides providing a better travel experience to the customers.
Strenuous efforts were now being made to augment the speed of implementation of policies, redressal of customers’ grievances in real-time and modernization of processes and systems with the help of technology, the Union Minister further said.
For years, there has been a huge gap between the demand and the creation of new infrastructure. The demand for railway infrastructure and amenities has increased exponentially but infrastructure had failed to keep pace. By undertaking smart initiatives aided by the use of technology, the railways were now coming out with new products to serve the diverse range of travelers and projects catering to all classes and categories of travelers.
A member overseeing traffic control of the Railway Board, said that the immediate smart strategy of the railways was to focus on new products, tariff rationalization and policy reforms for demand stimulation, expansion of the commodity basket, nurturing of customers and adoption of new delivery models to bring down the unit cost of operations.
He said that for a sustainable growth of the railways, the emphasis was on mega capacity development, high speed rail, station development, doubling, multiple lines, terminals, port connectivity projects and setting up of three more Dedicated Freight Corridors.
Dato Sri Judin Abdul Karim, chairman of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Holdings, Malaysia, gave a detailed account of the state-of-the art infrastructure projects in his country and expressed the desire of Malaysian companies to be a part of the projects being developed in India, particularly station development projects of the Indian Railways. He suggested bundling of projects so that these could be undertaken to achieve economies of scale and create a win-win situation for both countries.