Railways studying different models to increase Revenues: Suresh Prabhu

New Delhi: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has enumerated on different business models being opened in the railways by attracting the state governments and local bodies into creating a shared vision for development.

Different ministries viz coal and steel were being brought on board to increase freight revenues while augmenting the carrying capacities of railways.

He mentioned that the low investments over a period of time had greatly eroded the efficiency of the railways vis-à-vis the road sector, and therefore, the NDA Government is working towards correcting this situation, by innovative measures to attract new investments and of utilizing railway assets at the stations by allowing a higher Floor Space Index in partnership with the local bodies.

Emphasizing the need to improve the freight share of this most energy efficient land transport he highlighted that railways need to attract more of different commodity categories like parcel, which is only 2% at present, in order to help the country reduce its logistics cost, which would help in realizing the “Make in India” vision of the government, by unleashing better competitiveness in the industry.

He highlighted that railways would save over Rs 3000 Crores annually on the energy front alone by incorporating the better power purchase arrangements. Despite being one of the largest buyers of electricity it bought power at a fairly high rate which had lot of scope for rationalization. The energy basket of the railways was being widened to include more renewable sources, with the platform roof and railway coaches being equipped with solar panels. Energy efficiency measures are also being incorporated to optimize the usage of this significant cost head.

Reacting to a question from the audience he mentioned Railway ministry is working towards implementing the recommendations of the Bibek Debroy committee that has proposed creation of an independent regulatory mechanism for the railways giving it autonomy to ensure better quality of service and improving the efficiency.

Prabhu presented Mr Ajim Premji of Wipro with CII President Award, the highest honour of CII for his overall contribution to business interests and social security.

Ajay Shriram, President, CII earlier in his opening remarks said ‘Mr Suresh Prabhu has always tackled the challenging responsibilities and delivered results’. Sharing his experience with Mr Prabhu as Minister of Fertilizers, Power earlier, he said that he has the great ability to articulate his vision and we are encouraged to have him as Minister of Railways. It’s the first time that we have heard words like customer first. He also complimented the Minister for improving efficiency, reduction of costs, improving passenger travel experience and speed in the system which would inturn bring efficiency in industry.

Sumit Mazumder, President Designate, CII reiterated CII’s commitment to work closely with Minister to have a broad shared vision and one common agenda for all the stakeholders. He extended full support from CII for make this a success. He informed about International Railway Equipment Exhibition (IREE) and International Rail Conference (IRC), a largest dedicated rail show being organized by CII in association of Ministry of Railways since 1990 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. It is scheduled for 14-16 October this year would work under his able stewardship.