FICCI unveils 5-pt wishlist. With Indian Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu set to unveil the Rail Budget 2015 on Thursday morning, industry chamber FICCI has made some suggestions.
1. Encourage Greater Private Participation and Make in India
Have a standard contractual framework – after incorporating feedback from all key stakeholders.
Develop a model that assures the Concessionaire of a fair return on equity over the life of a project.
Set up an independent regulatory framework – it will give confidence to private sector
Take actions to complete strategic projects
[e.g. PPP projects announced for setting up factories in Marhowra, and Madhepura have been pending for several years]
Award long-term contracts with assured purchase orders for encouraging wagon manufacturing by private players.
[thus leading wagon manufacturers would be more committed, and it will lead to vendor development]
Broadly speaking, this is also true for the production of passenger coaches and locomotives.
To promote “Make in India” initiative, work towards finalizing plans for manufacturing of new technology rolling stock [e.g. lightweight coaches and wagons, high horsepower locomotives (both diesel and electric), etc]
2. Simplification of Clearance Process for Private Railway Siding Projects
FICCI has given suggestions for simplifying and digitising the clearance and approval process for private Railways Siding projects. The centrepiece of our suggestions is devolution of more powers at the Divisional level.
Currently, the process is very much centralised at the Headquarters, involving multiple levels of scrutiny and duplication of the work. The process needs to be decentralised by devolving more sanctioning and approval authority at the Divisional level. This very much fits into the current scheme of thought of the Government to empower local and regional authorities and encourage decentralisation.
3. Improving Freight Services
Permit operation of premium freight trains by private operators
[this will open a new revenue stream in the form of track access/ haulage charges from private operators]
Consider to have designated “time tables” for Goods / Freight Trains [Otherwise, there is no guarantee about a freight train reaching its destination within a designated time-frame, and as a result railways keep losing its market share to road transport]
Use advanced IT systems for regular tracking and monitoring of consignments / containers
Adopt Horsepower-to-Trailing-Ratio of 2:1 in place of current ratio of around 0.8:1, for all freight trains and introduce High Horse Power Rolling Stock [This is in line with international practice, and will increase the balancing speed of freight trains, give higher acceleration, and increase capacity of existing network significantly]
Adequate number of wagons needs to be procured including high-speed and high-capacity wagons, to meet commodity/product-specific requirements
[e.g. automobiles, perishable agro produce]
4. Simplification & Rationalization of Procurement Process
For awarding contracts, wherever possible, adopt ‘life cycle cost’ rather than ‘current lowest cost’ approach as evaluation criteria
Once the price bids are opened, tender should be awarded to the eligible bidder without any further modification in tender norms, specifications and quantities
Set up an effective grievance redressal system to ensure fair treatment to private players
The shortage of wagons could be overcome by fast-tracking the decision making process and making it time-bound
5. Encouraging Fuel Savings and Better Emissions
Adopt latest globally proven technology for rolling stock which is emission compliant and fuel efficient
Install proven fuel-saving equipment like Hotel Load convertors in all new locomotives.