Hon’ble Minister for Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu had set clear and measurable goals in the previous and last Rail Budget Speech aptly titled Vision 2020. In order to attain the set targets, Indian Railways has taken unprecedented reformative initiatives in the last 3 years.
As stated by Shri Ravinder Bhakar, Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway in a press release, these goals set in Vision 2020 encompasses various facets such as providing reserved accommodation on demand, time – tabled freight trains, elimination of unmanned level crossings, increasing the average speed of freight trains to 50 kmph (Double of current average) and Mail / Express trains to 80 kmph (60% increase from current average), train punctuality to reach 95%, plying Semi high speed trains along Golden Quadrilateral and attain zero direct discharge of human waste. Shri Bhakar has outlined some of the major achievements & transformative reforms that have been undertaken by the Railway Ministry in short brief as under:
Shri Bhakar stated that administrative reforms involve delegation & decentralisation of powers to functional levels, monitoring of Zonal Railways through MoUs/quantifiable performance parameters (KRAs). Performance appraisal for all officers has been revised to make it more objective. Also, the contract management has been revamped and transparency measures incorporated by introducing e-procurement & e-recruitment.
Under this head, reforms pertains to rationalisation of tariff, introduction new train products for various passenger segments such as Antyodaya and Humsafar express, etc., implementation of the next generation ticketing system, implementation of one of a kind complaint redressal mechanism by leveraging social media ,big push to enhance Non fare revenues through station redevelopment, monetisation of land and soft assets, advertising, etc. and appointment of Key Customer Managers to serve as single point, etc .
Structural reforms involve extra budgetary resources which are a big push to capital investments, most notable achievement being tying up with LIC for a loan of Rs 1.5 Lakh Crore with attractive terms. Rail Development Authority has been approved by Cabinet set up to promote competition, protect customers’ interests, determine efficiency benchmarks and enable fare pricing and will be functional in next 4 months. Joint Ventures has been conceptualised and implemented with State Governments to expedite the pace of infrastructure development in States. Railway Planning and Investment Organisation will be set up to determine scientific planning process, professionalise preparation of project DPRs and financing of projects. Similarly, Railways is in the process of setting of SRESHTHA, a new world class R&D organization. one-ICT has been commenced, which is the largest digitization and ERP initiative in Railways and targeted to be implemented in next 5 years and this would lead to savings of more than Rs 55,000 Crores. Railways have expanded the scope and expedited the implementation of accounting reforms. Also, open access procurement of electricity has been implemented through long term PPAs which along with other energy efficiency measures would yield savings of Rs 41,000 Crore in the next 10 years.
This involves creation of cross functional directorates to expedite progress in languishing areas such cleaning, non fare revenues, speed enhancements etc. Realignment of organization through reorganisation will have distinct Rolling Stock and Traction departments. Also, Creation of secretary level posts for each department/ cadre and the process of transfers and postings of General Managers will made absolutely transparent. Similarly, the process of selection of DRMs has also been revamped to ensure only deserving candidates are selected.
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