Tuesday February 20, 2018
Home Opinion Reforming Ind...

Reforming Indian Railways can impact the lives of 1.2 billion citizens

0
//
108
Republish
Reprint

WAP-4_Class_locomotive_of_Indian_Railways

By Amit Kapoor

The railways sector has seen some activity in the past few months. Not only there are operational changes being brought about but a long-term strategic view seems to be in sight. The operation changes in ‘tatkal’ remuneration in respect to cancellation as well as the choice to upgrade to a domestic airline in case of wait-listed seats are steps that are beneficial to customers.

The long-term view seems to come from the recently constituted seven-member committee under the chairmanship of economist Bibek Debroy on Mobilizing Resources for Projects and Restructuring of Indian Railways. The report proposes five fundamental points for the IR, specifically and the railways sector to look into:

First, what is the core role of the IR in India? This question is pertinent to understanding the core activities and the peripheral ones and separating the commercial from the social role of the IR. At present, there are a lot of activities that take up considerable time and effort on the part of IR. These include the medical service that IR runs with an infrastructure of 125 hospitals, 586 health units and 14,000 beds. Also, pertinent in this regard is the 1 degree college and 168 schools that IR runs. These along with the railway protection, catering, real estate development, housing and the like, according to the committee, are non-core activities that can be clearly outsourced.

Second the report calls for proper accounting procedures and commercial considerations in IR. A formally reformed accounting system will enable the Ministry of Railways that has administrative control over 6 established production units and 16 public sector undertakings (PSUs) to keep proper accounts. Similarly, it will also enable the understanding the level of subsidization in the 17 zones and 68 divisions into which the IR at present is bifurcated. A case in point that finds mention is the Kolkata Metro rail. Any future suburban systems according to the committee should be built on a JV route with state governments (on a 50:50 basis), and the cost should not be borne by IR.

Third, the report recommends streamlining the HR procedures and processes in IR. It is fundamental to carrying out the organizational transformation. It is primarily to be achieved by merging and consolidating the eight Group ‘A’ services into two services. These could be respectively called the Indian Railway Technical Service (IRTechS) comprising of the existing five technical services (IRSE, IRSSE, IRSEE, IRSME and IRSS) and the Indian Railway Logistics Service (IRLogS), comprising the three non-technical services (IRAS, IRPS and IRTS). Aligned with the streamlining of HR procedures is the decentralization of the authority and responsibility to at least the level of Divisional Railway Manager (DRM). The DRM is in charge of one of the 68 divisions of the IR. The financial authority, as well as the power in handling tenders connected with works, stores procurement, to DRM’s, ensures that departmentalism is reduced – and there is accountability within the IR.

Fourth, is the issue of ensuring competition and liberalization in the railways sector. The committee has for specific reasons refrained from calling the liberalization of the railways sector as privatization or deregulation. Essentially the committee recommends and encourages open access to private players who want to operate trains on tracks. It is in line with what is practiced at present in some parts of Europe and Australia. Liberalization and open access also call for an independent regulator for the sector and the committee report recommends setting up the same statutorily with an independent budget. The regulator – Railway Regulatory Authority of India (RRAI) – for economic regulation, including, wherever necessary, tariff regulation.

Fifth, the report proposes progressively phasing out of the rail budget and merging the same with the general budget. It reflects the need to define clearly the relationship between the government and the IR. The recommendations also call for ending the system of paying dividends and reduction in the gross budgetary support carried out between the government and IR.

The recommendations of the report are timely and present a systematic road map to restructure the IR behemoth in specific and the railways sector in general. However, as with the previous committee reports much will depend upon the acceptance of the report and ultimately its implementation on the ground. One will have to wait and watch as to how the strategic restructuring in this critical sector unfolds over the next decade. It truly has the capability to have a transformative impact on the lives of India’s 1.2 billion people.

(IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Everything You Know About Railway App: Rail Saarthi

The Rail ‘Saarthi’ app stands for, “Synergised Advanced Application Rail Travel Help and Information

0
//
27
The initiation of Integrated Railway Mobile App for Indian Railways was announced in the Rail Budget 2016-17.
The initiation of Integrated Railway Mobile App for Indian Railways was announced in the Rail Budget 2016-17.
  • Railway app enables you to book flight tickets to ordering food
  • Before the launch of Saarthi app, there were multiple mobile Railway apps
  • The app has been developed by the CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems), the Railways’ software arm

The Rail app Saarthi is launched by India’s Railways Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu on 13th July 2017. The app enables you to book flight tickets to ordering food, this mobile application can do everything. The app is an integrated mobile application to cater all kinds of passenger requirements, which includes ticket booking, inquiry, onboard cleaning and ordering a meal on a single platform. At the launch event of the app, it was also announced that the extension in the advance booking period for foreigners to 365 days from present 120 days. Now a lower berth in a 3AC coach will be reserved for physically-challenged people and the middle for the individual accompanying them.

Suresh Prabhu said that with the launch of new app, they aim to provide better customer experience, there was a need for an integrated application which could give a single window interface for these services. Before the launch of Saarthi app, there were multiple mobile Railway apps and to use different services, the user had to search and download each application separately.

Also Read: The Best IAS Preparation App’s For Aspirants

The Rail ‘Saarthi’ app stands for, “Synergised Advanced Application Rail Travel Help and Information. Apart from providing impeccable facilities and services, the app also caters to features such as safety for women, compliant facility, booking porter, retiring room and suggestion for improvement. Moreover, the app can now also be used for booking taxis and hotels. Interestingly, you can also book air ticket through the app and give feedback. When it comes adding some more benefits then, in addition, Indian railways presented an integrated mobile application to cater to various passenger requirements, including ticket booking, inquiry, on-board cleaning and ordering meal on a single platform.

The app is an integrated mobile application to cater all kinds of passenger requirements, which includes ticket booking, inquiry, onboard cleaning and ordering a meal on a single platform.
The app is an integrated mobile application to cater all kinds of passenger requirements, which includes ticket booking, inquiry, onboard cleaning and ordering a meal on a single platform.

The app has been developed by the CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems), the Railways’ software arm. The estimated cost of in building the app has been Rs 7 crore. The initiation of Integrated Railway Mobile App for Indian Railways was announced in the Rail Budget 2016-17. The official had said that there are other multiple Railway apps which cater to various passenger requirement, including onboard cleaning but most of them offer only a single service. These apps can be searched and downloaded separately. This gave rise to the need of providing a single window interface for these services.

In order to provide better customer experience, there was a need for an assimilated app, which could give a single window interface for such kind of facilities, Prabhu said after launching the app.

Also Read: The Best IAS Preparation App’s For Aspirants

 

 

Saarthi App Download

  1. You need to go to Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for the term “COMS – for RAIL SAARTHI”.
  3. You will see an ‘Install’ button. Clicking on that will download and install the app on your device.
  4. Once installed, you will have to log in to the app after creating a ‘Sign In’ ID.

In order to download the application, you need to go to Google Play Store on your Android smartphones. Thereafter, you need to search for the term “COMS – for RAIL SAARTHI”. This is the newly launched app. At the landing page, you will see an ‘Install’ button. Just pressing on that will download and install the app on your device. Once installed, you will have to log in to the app after creating a ‘Sign In’ ID. The landing page on Google Play Store says, “App should be download in combination with SAARTHI app available at google play store.”

Indian railways presented an integrated mobile application to cater to various passenger requirements, including ticket booking, inquiry, on-board cleaning and ordering meal on a single platform.
Indian railways presented an integrated mobile application to cater to various passenger requirements, including ticket booking, inquiry, on-board cleaning and ordering meal on a single platform.

Benefits Of Rail Saarthi Mobile App:

The new digital initiative will reduce the crowd on the ticket counter. Initially, the App was launched on the Android platform. The Railway Android app and Railway IOS app will soon be launched on Windows platform. Explain that till now the Railways had kept separate apps for different services but now all these workers will be done from the same app.

With the introduction of this app, the lower berth in a 3AC coach will be reserved for physically-challenged people and the middle for the individual accompanying them. However, in the 3AC coach of a train, there will be only one such berth. Until now, the facility was only in the sleeper class — 2 berths — which has now been extended to the 3AC as well. It has also extended the advance booking period for foreigners to 365 days from the present 120 days.

Also Read: Byju’s App: The New Trend of Learning!

While there are many applications that the railways have launched in the past, this app is an integrated one, which will provide users with a single window interface.

Passengers can check seat or berth availability in different trains for planning their journey through the Railway app.
Passengers can check seat or berth availability in different trains for planning their journey through the Railway app.

Enquiries

  • Seat Availability: Passengers can check seat or berth availability in different trains for planning their journey through a web link.
  • Fare Enquiry:Passenger can check fares for his/her journey based on train, source, destination, class, concession through a web link.
  • Train Running (NTES): The train running status can be checked on nearly real time basis.
  • PNR Enquiry/PNR Status: One can check his/her PNR status using the PNR printed on the ticket through a web link.