(GIST OF YOJANA) Transforming
Connectivity: Indian Railways on the Go
Transforming Connectivity: Indian Railways on the Go
Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Railways
Mains level: Infrastructure, roads, ports, railways
- Indian Railways, the third largest railway network in the world,
has, in the past few years, undergone transformational changes to expand its
reach to every' comer of the country at a remarkable speed, and to provide
passenger and freight services with safety and punctuality.
- The railways maintain a gigantic network of 63,000 kms and run
22,000 trains to transport 1.50 million passengers daily. This requires
keeping infrastructure such as track, bridges, signalling and
telecommunications in fit condition.
- The Government under the Prime Minister's leadership enhanced
investment in the railways, and gave it a big push so that it maintains
existing services, and meets their ever growing demand. The allocation for
Railways has increased to Rs 5.30 lakh crores in the past five years.
- The Railways are now connecting India at a faster pace with a 59
percent increase in the average speed of commissioning new lines from 4.1 km
(2009-14) per day to 6.53 kms per day (2014-18). The annual capital
expenditure during the first four years of the Government saw a quantum leap
and was more than double that of the 2009-14 average.
- Transformation is on from Kanyakumari in the South to the North
East region. Doubling of tracks and electrification projects, which provide
much relief to a system under stress, have been launched in the
Kanyakumari-Nagercoil-Thiruvanantha puram section covering 349 kms at a cost
of Rs.3618 crores.
Connecting the Seven Sisters
- In the North East, rail connectivity has come to all the Seven
Sister States of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and
- Jiribam, the first railway station in Manipur was connected by
broad gauge line.
- Capacity augmentation was essential on the Indian Railways, and
the railways launched two Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFCs) projects,
Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors (EDFC and WDFC), for the
- The two projects have progressed full speed since 2014,
culminating in successful trial of freight trains over Phulera-Atari section
of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) and Khurja-Bhadan section
of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) in August and November 2018,
Speeding up Electrification
- Electrification will reduce the use of imported fossil fuels
thereby improving energy security to the nation. Consumption of high speed
diesel oil will be reduced by about 2.83 billion litres per annum and a
reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- This will also reduce environmental impact of Railways. Hundred
percent electrification will provide seamless train operation by eliminating
detention of trains due to change in traction from diesel to electric and
- It will help Railways in enhancing line capacity due to higher
speed and higher haulage capacity of electric locomotives.
- There will be improved signalling systems, which will lead to
enhanced safety in train operations.
- To achieve the ambitious target electrification of balance routes,
strategic policy decisions have been taken, like base of executing agencies
have been broadened and projects covering 1735 RKM have already been
entrusted to PSUs i.e. IRCON, RITES and PGCIL.
- To ensure connectivity with safety, the railways created the
Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK), a dedicated fund for safety projects
during 2017- 18, with a corpus of Rsl lakh crores over a period of five
years, specially for clearing the backlog of critical safety related works.
- This includes track renewals and safety, strengthening of bridges,
elimination of unmanned level crossings, upgradation of maintenance
facilities, signaling improvement and complete switchover to shock-resistant
LHB coaches with greater safely features, along with retro fitment of ICF
Offering Better Services
- To make the railways smart, for punctuality, instead of the
station master recording the time, data loggers have been put at interchange
points which would be computer generated
- The step has already improved punctuality to 73-74 per cent.
- Indian Railways is working on putting a GPS device on every
locomotive so that every train can be tracked on mobile phones knowing
exactly where they are. Railways is reviewing to engage itself with
artificial intelligence. The Railways believe that there is a lot which can
be done with data being put to use with predictive maintenance, better
monitoring and utilization of assets and better passenger service. Indian
Railways has also planned to make 6,000 railway stations Wi-Fi enabled.
- Railways is improving passenger services including a complete
makeover of stations by installing modem facilities including escalators,
lifts, free wifi etc. while instilling local art and culture in the design.
- To make rail transportation attractive to its customers, various
initiatives were taken in 2017-18 which includes tariff rationalisation,
classification of new commodities, expansion of freight basket through
containerisation, new delivery models like RO-RO services, Long Term Tariff
Contract policy with key customers, Station to Station rate, Double Stack
Dwarf Container (DSDC), customer friendly rationalization of weighment
policy, Electronic Registration for Demand of Wagons (e-RD) etc.
- Decision has been taken to transport empty containers and empty
flat wagons for private container rakes at a discount of 25 per cent.
- The move is likely to give a thrust to movement of empty
containers by rail towards ports to return as loaded, thus profiting Indian
Railway with higher container share.