Not by ‘Vande Bharat’ alone
- April 28, 2023
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Indian Economy
- The article speaks about how the Indian Railways has been in the news lately for the introduction of Vande Bharat trains, but the larger picture of the serious issues confronting the Indian Railways should not be overlooked. The article delves into two areas of concern in freight and passenger fronts where progress needs to be made.
Investment in Indian Railways:
- Investments in the Indian Railways have increased with an Annual Plan outlay of ₹2,60,200 crore in the Budget for 2023-24, an increase of 137% from 2016-17.
- However, the performance of the Indian Railways needs to be evaluated using more relevant metrics rather than only highlighting inputs.
- National Rail Plan 2030 (NRP) envisages raising the rail share in freight traffic from 27% to 45% by 2050 with an average speed of goods trains of 50 kmph.
- The rail share of freight carried reduced from 51.5% in 2008-09 to 32.4% in 2018-19 for leads over 300 km.
- Almost the entire increase in volume of traffic carried by rail over the decade has been in short lead traffic, and 55% of the increase was through the transport of just one commodity, coal.
- Diversification of commodities carried or an increase in rail share vis-à-vis road transport is yet to be seen.
- Punctuality is the single most important operational index, but there is a need for a radical shift in emphasis.
- There should be an aim for international standards in punctuality of trains rather than just publishing statistics of punctuality.
- The focus should be on improving overall passenger experience rather than just statistics.
- Financial performance, physical performance, safety, organizational/human resource issues, project execution, customer relations, and the effect of the dedicated freight corridors on the Indian Railways system capacity are some of the issues that need to be critically analyzed and reviewed.
- There should be an annual report on the performance of the Railways in Parliament.
- The article provides a detailed analysis of the progress and challenges facing the Indian Railways. The author highlights the need to evaluate the performance of the Indian Railways using more relevant metrics, and to focus on improving overall passenger experience rather than just statistics. The suggestion of an annual report on the performance of the Railways in Parliament is also an excellent idea.