Rail Regulator to define Performance Standards – To provide guidance on Quantity & Quality of Service

NEW DELHI: India’s first rail regulator, Rail Development Authority (RDA), would not just look at tariff structures for passenger and freight operations but also set standards of performance and efficiency that would be enforceable under the Railways Act.

“RDA can define standards of performance and efficiency; such standards would be notified as rules under the Railway Act to give a binding force upon acceptance,” said a resolution dated May 5 approved by the Railways Board, inching a step closer toward setting up a rail regulator.

The regulator will set “standards for efficiency and performance for consumer satisfaction in both passenger and freight” and will also be “authorised to check for deviations and suggest remedial measures.”

“The regulator will provide guidance on quantity and quality of service provided to passengers. These may include setting standards including hours of service, frequency of trains, capacity per coach, cleanliness level, and quality of water, food, furnishing and linen,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The Union Cabinet had last month approved setting up the rail regulator responsible for recommending passenger fares, setting performance standards for rail operations and creating a level playing policy for private sector participation.

The resolution states that the regulator will be mandated to “suggest measures for absorbing new technologies for achieving desired efficiency and performance standards.”

Regulator’s structure

The Railway Board also defined the structure of the RDA with a Chairman along with three members each for tariff, public private partnership and efficiency, standards and benchmarking.

The regulator will, however, not involve itself in policy making of the Indian Railways, operations and maintenance of the rail system, financial management, setting technical standards and compliance of safety standards, the resolution said.

It clarified that the regulator would only make recommendations on tariff and not impose a tariff on the Indian Railways.