Baroda: India is likely to get its first railway university soon. The university would cover all domains of knowledge relating to various aspects of operations and management of the railways.
As per the scheme of things, the national transporter has decided that the university would be set up by upgrading its premier training institute—National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) at Vadodara, formerly known as Railway Staff College.
A senior railways official said according to the plan, the existing centralized training institutes (CTIs) of railways would be incorporated as the university’s constituent School of Study.
The transporter has around six CTIs with focus on training of subjects such as transport management, civil engineering, signal and telecommunications engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering among others.
Moving ahead on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan of setting up railway universities in India, the transporter has engaged EdCIL, a PSU under the HRD ministry that specialises in setting up universities, to provide technical and consultancy services to prepare detailed project report (DPR) for setting up of the university.
A high-level delegation from railways had been to China to learn about the concept of railway universities. There were reports that the delegation was against the idea of setting up a dedicated railway university as it may put additional financial burden and divert resources from the core operations of the railways.
But, it seems railway minister Suresh Prabhu has decided to go along with the budget announcement of setting up a full-fledged railway university during 2015-16. In his budget speech, Prabhu also talked of setting up four railway research centres in select universities.
He had said a consortium of the railways and the ministries of HRD, science & technology and industries on an investment-sharing model is being set up as part of Technology Mission for Railways to take up identified projects for research.
The transporter has set up of “Malaviya Chair” for Railway Technology at IIT (BHU) to help in development of new materials to be used in all railway assets of Railways. An endowment fund of Rs 5 crore has been marked for this purpose.