General News

Government To Welcome Private Entities In Railway Operations

Taking the first initiative in divesting its almost monopoly in the Railways, the N government released Request for Qualifications (RFQ). This is for private players for the operation of passenger train services on 109 Origin-Destination (OD) pairs of routes done through induction of 151 modern trains.

The Background

The Railways picked about 100 routes to allow run 150 private passenger trains last year. The operation of these new passenger trains is a part of a project that would attract investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.  This is the first step of private investment for operating passenger trains over the Indian Railways network. The announcement of aiming private participation in operating passenger trains could alter the very landscape of the railway network.

Inviting RFQ is an expression of interest said an official. The logistics will be decided eventually. Also, the private entities will choose their technology and determine the fare. But certain categories like safety, time-tabling of trains etc. will stay with the railway. Keeping the time-management with the Railways would be significant to ensure that all the busy time slots are not taken by private operators.

The Objective

RFQ is the first step of the change, in which it will be decided who are the entities eligible, whether they have the technical knowledge. After the RFQ, there will be an RFP (Request for Proposal), which can be called the bidding process.

The aim of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance. Also, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world-class travel experience to people. This will also lessen the demand-supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector. Furthermore, the ministry stated that the private entity shall pay fixed haulage charges. Also, energy charges according to actual consumption, a share in gross revenue determined through a transparent bidding process.

Increased Demand For Trains

Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav stated as the Indian Railways bolsters its capacity, it will likely put an increased demand for trains.  It is to meet this increased demand that the centre has come up with the initiative of private train operator. Depending on the success of private train operators, the number can be expanded. However, he had clarified that the existing trains will continue to be with the railways, with operations staying with the transporter too.