Indian Railways Comprehensive Commercial Publicity and Advertisement Policy to be tabled soon

New Delhi: Indian Railways is in the process of finalising a Branding Policy for trains, coaches, stations and even consumables such as bedding, an initiative that’s expected to raise as much as Rs 9,000 crore for the cash-strapped organisation.

A Task Force headed by Railway Board Member (Traffic) Ajay Shukla will submit a detailed report on the issue by April 30 to finalise a comprehensive commercial publicity policy and its operational framework. The task force was formed by railway minister Suresh Prabhu after engineering consultancy RITES Ltd estimated earnings from the advertisement and branding opportunity in Indian Railways.

“The minister is open to the idea of auctioning names of stations and even trains to corporates,” an official said.

The RITES study in consultation with the advertising industry said the railways could earn as much as Rs 780 crore a year by selling advertising space on 26 Rajdhanis 20 Shatabdis and 32 Duronto trains alone. “These trains combined offer advertisers 4 lakh captive eyeball contacts of passengers, plus 80 lakh casual eyeball contacts, in addition to premium branding rights,” the report said.

A similar assessment has been given for 500 other superfast mail and express trains, 2,000 passenger trains, 100 local trains and 1 lakh wagons. The earning potential of different categories of rolling stock will vary. Premium trains such as the Rajdhanis and Shatabdis will attract a certain category of advertisers.

These will differ in the case of ordinary, mail and freight trains. The RITES has suggested branded train schemes, branded station schemes and freight wagons sponsorship.

RITES conducted its study in December at the direction of the railway minister, who was looking for innovative means of generating resources. The RITES chairman is part of the task force and sources in Rail Bhavan said the organisation could play the role of consultant implementing the project.

Gurgaon’s Rapid Metro and, more recently, Delhi Metro Railway Corporation have been generating revenue by tying up with corporates. Rapid Metro has sold naming rights for stations to companies. Delhi Metro recently awarded rights for wrapping its six-coach trains with ads.