Steps Taken to Make Rail Transportation Attractive
Indian Railways have registered a growth of 1.8% in the number of passengers carried and 5% in freight traffic in 2018-19 as compared to the previous year. Indian Railways have taken many measures to increase its share which includes the following:
- Augmentation of on-board capacity by attachment of additional coaches, running of special trains during festivals and holidays, running of Suvidha trains etc.
- Augmentation of ticket selling capacity through mobile ticket booking, operation of Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM), utilizing the services of ticketing agents like Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewaks (JTBS), Station Ticket Booking Agents (STBA), Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK) etc.
- Expansion of digital payment modes like net-banking, credit/debit cards, e-wallets, Unified Payment Interface (UPI)/Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) to enhance passenger convenience
- Introduction of Alternate Train Accommodation Scheme (ATAS) known as VIKALP to provide confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and also to ensure optimal utilization of available accommodation.
- Offering of 10% discount in basic fare on vacant berths/seats booked after preparation of first reservation charts.
- Offering of graded discount in flexi fare trains and Humsafar trains, where class-wise occupancy is less than 60%, 4 days prior to scheduled departure of the train.
- To facilitate second class passengers, sleeper class coaches running underutilized have been de-reserved on a particular section as second class unreserved on second class fare as well as sleeper class unreserved.
- In case of AC-III tier coaches running vacant during day time over a particular section, the power has been delegated to Zonal Railways to declare such AC-III tier coaches as AC chair car on AC chair car fare.
- Long term tariff contract with major customers envisages growth and retention of traffic by offering incentive over benchmark.
- Traditional Empty Flow Direction (TEFD) policy offers freight rebate to customers in notified streams enabling mutual gains to both customers and Railways.
- Schemes such as General Purpose Wagon Investment Scheme (GPWIS), Liberalised Wagon Investment Scheme (LWIS), Special Freight Train Operator (SFTO), and Automobiles Freight Train Operator (AFTO) have been launched
- Container traffic has been given incentives in the form of :
- 25% concession in empty haulage
- Denotification of additional commodities to Freight all kind(FAK) carriage
- Launch of multiple Railway Receipt (RR) and electronic transmission of RR
- Rationalization of Terminal Access charge (TAC) to dual operation to single charge.
- Freight rationalization @8.75% w.e.f 01.11.18 leaving essential goods like foodgrains, salt intact. Other commodities freight like fertilizers, cement, POL also kept intact in the interest of farmers, infrastructure requirement of economy and keep general inflationary components pegged down as fuel is vital in product pricing
Various initiatives have been undertaken by Indian Railways towards capacity augmentation works including the following:-
- There has been an increase of about 42% in the Capital Expenditure done by the Indian Railways in the last four years for financing of various capacity augmentation works like Dedicated Freight Corridors, High-speed Rail, high capacity Rolling stock, last mile rail linkage port connectivity and Bullet trains. Capital expenditure done by the Railways in last four years is as under:-
|Year||Overall Capital Expenditure (₹ In crore)|
- Ministry of Railways has sanctioned two Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) at the total cost of ₹81,459 crore, Eastern DFC (1856 kms) is having approx. 50% loan support from World Bank and the Sonnagar-Dankuni section (538 kms) is to be implemented through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Western DFC (1504 kms) substantially funded through soft loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Out of total estimated cost of ₹81,459 crore, ₹52,347 crore are being provided through loans from World Bank and JICA. The DFC project would help in segregation of freight and passenger services, decongestion of existing routes, improvement in efficiency of the passenger services, higher transportation output with faster transit time due to increase in average speed of trains. Running of planned double stack container trains and heavy haul trains will further augment to the carrying capacity and thus help increase Railway’s market-share in freight segment and also help in reducing the unit cost of freight transportation.
- A High Speed Rail Project has been sanctioned between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which is being implemented with Japanese technical and financial assistance of 81% of estimated total project cost ₹1,08,000 crore. The total length of the Project is 508 kms and having 12 stations. The maximum design speed will be 350 kmph and operating speed will be 320 kmph. The project is likely to be completed by 2023.
Further Ministry of Railways has issued a policy framework for participative models in 2012 for attracting investments in rail connectivity and capacity augmentation projects from sea ports, large mines, logistic parks and other industries/industrial clusters. Under participative models, 11 projects of ₹4000 crore have been implemented, 12 projects of ₹20877 crore are under implementation and 7 projects of ₹13046 crore have been granted in-principle approval by Ministry of Railways.