Nalin Jain leads GE’s Transportation and Aviation businesses in India. He joined GE Aviation in 2005 as Director Sales and was promoted to lead the overall business in 2008. Under his leadership, the Aviation business made significant gains in the region and established a strong footprint for GE. He assumed additional responsibility for GE Transportation’s business in India in 2012. Prior to GE, he was Director Global Partnerships with Bombardier Inc focused on business development and strategy in India and SE Asia. In this role he was instrumental in getting Bombardier engaged with this region including completion of some significant transactions. He started his career with French engineered materials company Saint–Gobain, occupying different positions of increasing responsibility in sales and marketing, business development and general management.
Nalin Jain feels the rail budget is positive and in line with expectations.
What is your immediate take on Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu’s debut budget?
The Rail Minister presented a very ambitious and promising budget that addresses the issues being faced by both the passenger and the freight segment. The budget has also tried to address the needs of introducing new technology, fund mobilization and better governance.
Are you happy with the infrastructure announcements made? Are they good enough to take us to the next level?
The minister has stressed upon bringing transformational changes in the systems and processes leading to increased operational efficiency of Indian Railways. The use of new technology is clearly at the core the infrastructure upgradation. Talking about modern infrastructure among his four transformational goals set for the Indian Railways, the minister has presented a robust roadmap to achieve all of them in the short-term and long-term. Implementing creative funding instruments will certainly present a new investment model for the railways. It will be interesting to see how such instruments and ideas would work in a time bound manner to upgrade the existing infrastructure.
There was lot of expectation that this will be a reformist budget, do you think it is so?
The minister clearly indicated the need for reform aided by innovative solutions that can transform the Indian Railways. Enhancing customer experience was clearly very high on the agenda, while at the same time ensuring safety, building capacity and working on long-term sustainable solutions.
The minister has made a major push for improving speed of both passenger and freight trains, how can the same be achieved?
Deploying new technologies will certainly improve the speed of both the passenger and freight trains. This seems to be a logical step since for freight using rail transport comes out to be 40 percent cheaper than using road transport.
The added emphasis on building Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC), bringing in advanced technology in locomotives are key steps in achieving the ambitious freight target of 1.5 billion tonnes capacity.
The entire focus is to upgrade the existing infrastructure by increasing the carrying capacity of existing lines through gauge and track changes, increase in lines on key routes, raising the average train speeds and expediting completion of projects.
There has been a boost for manufacturing in India, how crucial is that? Especially considering that GE India has established a multi-modal manufacturing facility, how will the two tie-up?
GE has been partnering with India in its journey to become a global manufacturing destination. GE multi-modal facility near Pune delivers best-in-class, localized products and solutions for Indian customers while it also feeds GE’s global supply chain. It sets a new benchmark in global manufacturing competitiveness for India. In the backdrop of the Railway Budget, our focus is on offering new technologies particularly in locomotives. GE is the world’s largest manufacturer of freight locomotives, and distributed power systems. We are keen to invest in India if we see the demand from Indian Railways.
There had been a push for greater freight realisation. What do you think are the challenges, and the opportunities on that front? Are you happy with the progress on DFC?
The government is very serious to increase the carrying capacity of the Indian Railways by investing in feeder lines for the DFCs and augment the overall freight handling capacity by 50 percent to 1.5 billion tonnes. This year’s Railway Budget is a part of government’s long term plan to reinforce transformational changes in the sector.
For freight customers the promise is speed, better logistics handling capacity, freight rebates for areas of low loading potential and revamped freight terminal policy. We are hopeful that going forward we will be able to see the execution of the policies and ideas in a time bound manner to get desired results.
If you had to pick out 3 highlights of this budget, what would they be?
Among top three highlights of the railway budget, deploying innovative solutions, from both technical and financing aspects to address key challenges takes the top spot. The minister has focused on the core issues plaguing the sector since a long time and has devised an ambitious way forward. Innovation in terms of adopting path-breaking technology to enhance customer experience, safety and security of the passengers and increase the average speed, is expected to yield benefits in the long run. The creative ways to partner with the states in the decision making and running sustainable investment models will bring significant changes in the sector.
Secondly, from services viewpoint – suggesting various mechanisms to improve the overall experience for the passengers is a good step ahead.
Lastly, discussing about good governance and management leading to complete transparency will certainly make the Indian Railways dynamic and robust for years to come.