New Delhi: Seeking technical cooperation for upgradation of rail infrastructure with foreign countries, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the national transporter can grow faster based on the partnership model.
The Minister also said that a new body would be set up to enhance partnership with private investors, and raise efficiency and speed in implementing rail projects.
“We need partnership which is our thrust area which I have mentioned in my budget speech. Partnership can help railways grow faster,” Prabhu said at an international conference on railways organised by ASSOCHAM and attended by Ambassadors of China, France and Czech Republic.
“We seek partnership with many of you and I look forward for Railways becoming a growth engine, Railways becoming the wheels of social transformation.
Detailing the aspects, he said, “There can be technical cooperation with other countries for upgradation of railway infrastructure like track maintenance, locomotives, signalling system to meet the global benchmarking. We have to design new locomotives, rolling stock which will be more user friendly and energy efficient.”
Minister also said that Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation Scheme would be launched to help in technology upgradation. “We intend to introduce technology portal to invite innovative technological solutions. Railways propose to move from preventive to predictive maintenance. We propose to launch Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation Scheme and we will set up ‘Kayakalp’ to help in technology upgradation,” he said. “We have also announced the setting up of regulatory framework. We are going to set up a Kaya Kalp Council for business transformation for railways and it will be headed by a very distinguished person,” he said.
Focusing on partnership, Prabhu said, “All of us will work together in the spirit of partnership to make railways better. We are signing MoUs with most of the states for executing rail projects. We will operationalise these MoUs after signing.”
Highlighting the public transporter’s role in Indian economy, he said, “Railways have to play a significant role in Indian economy’s growth. We must have transparency, efficiency and speed for implementing the projects.”
Prabhu also said that whatever was announced in the Rail Budget is under implementation. Terming Railway’s expansion and modernisation programme as key to the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ scheme, Prabhu referred to the ongoing coal mines auction that has fetched the government an “unimaginable” Rs 2 lakh crore.
“Indian Railways have now to develop the capacity to haul all the additional coal that would be mined now,” he said.
Railways needs to become the link between different parts of the country and to make that happen, we cannot rely on one source of funding that is the gross budgetary support from Finance Ministry, he said.
Railways would take help from the World Bank and other multi-lateral agencies like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for its expansion and modernisation plan.
The Minister underlined the importance of reducing of expenditure in Railways, saying steps are being taken in this regard.
“We have to reduce the cost and this is very important. We must reduce the cost of buying electricity and we are going to have to increase capacity of power generation. We must find ways to buy electricity at lower rates than the market rate,” he said.
Prabhu also asserted that Railways is far more “environment-friendly transportation system than any other mode of transportation.”
He said steps are being taken to make Railways a vibrant social transformation engine in the next few years