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Indian Railways- Gradual Acceleration & Prospective Opportunities

The Planning Commission has tentatively pegged the Indian Railways 12th plan expenditure (2012-17) at Rs 5.19 lac Crore (nearly 100 bln US$). This is likely to be spent on key areas like enlarging the rail network to cover more geographies, double tracking , introducing newer trains- both passenger and freight ,  enhancing the convenience, safety and security of the passengers,  modernization of the network etc.

 This year’s Railway budget announced the following measures for 2013-14 :

 1)      Promote Safe Operations of the Train

  • Improve Signalling Systems for ensuring more safety for trains and enhancing track capacity
  • Induction of Train Protection Warning System on automatic signalling systems
  • Test running the Train Collision Avoidance System to validate the technology
  • Up gradation of track structure using 60 kg rails, 260 meter long welded rail-panels and improved flash butt welding technology.
  • Progressive Induction of Crash worthy LHB coaches having anti climb feature
  • Induction of self propelled accident relief trains with potential speed of 160/200 kmph
  • Provision of Comprehensive Fire and Smoke Detection System on pilot basis & Provision of Portable fire extinguishers
  • Enhanced use of fire retardant furnishing material in coaches

 2)      Cleanliness

  • Progressive extension of bio-toilets on trains
  • Provision of concrete aprons on platforms with mechanised cleaning facilities.

 3)      Passenger Convenience

  • Extension of  Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS), Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs), Coin-operated Ticket Vending Machines (CO-TVMs) and scheme of Jan-Sadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBSs)
  • Launching of a pilot project on select trains to facilitate passengers to contact on-board staff through SMS/phone call/e-mail for prompt response for coach cleanliness and also to provide real time feedback
  • Provision of announcement facility and electronic display boards in trains for disseminating information to on-board passengers about approaching stations, train running, arrival platform, etc.
  • Providing free WI-Fi facility on several trains
  • Provision for  escalators and lifts at major stations, affixing Braille stickers indicating the layout of coaches including toilets, provision of wheel chairs and battery operated vehicles at more stations and making coaches wheel-chair friendly for differently abled persons.
  • Covering larger number of trains under Real Time Information System (RTIS), whereby rail-users will be able to access information through nominated websites and mobile phones
  • Next Generation e-ticketing system proposed to improve the end user experience in respect of ease of use, response time as well as capacity.

 5) Projects in 2013-14

  • A target to complete 500 km of new lines has been set for 2013-14.
  • It is targeted to convert 450 km of MG/NG lines to broad gauge during 2013-14.
  • The target for Doubling the tracks has been increased to 750 km for 2013-14.

 6) Green Energy Initiatives

Some of the new steps that have been taken or are proposed to be taken include:-

  • Setting up of Railway Energy Management Company (REMC) to harness potential of solar and wind energy;
  • Setting up of 75 MW windmill plants and energizing 1000 level crossings with solar power;
  • Deployment of new generation energy efficient electric locomotives and electrical multiple units (EMUs).
  • Encourage more usage of aggro-based and recycled paper and ban use of plastic in catering.

 While there has been a slow down in capital expenditure for Indian Railways this year, some of the above opportunities will gather momentum in subsequent years. And given the lengthy product approval process with Indian Railways, new suppliers to Indian Railways could start working now !

For more info about Railway Budget 2013-14 click here : http://indiarailinfo.com/faq/post/pdf-copy-of-the-rail-budget-2013-14/1501

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Founder & Managing Director at Expand in India, and IIM Lucknow Alumni having close to 20 years experience in business management, industrial management, strategic planning, marketing, operations, team building, leadership , consulting and six sigma process orientation.

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