PIB News Update: Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal has informed that Indian Railways constantly strive to provide better facilities to its vast set of customers through proper planning and system improvements on a continuous and an ongoing basis depending upon customer feedback, operational feasibility and financial viability. Various initiatives are taken from time to time by different departments of Railways to improve customer convenience. In order to cater to the diverse needs of passengers, there has been a continuous expansion of various on-board and off-board services & facilities ensuring greater choice and variety to the customers. Some of the major initiatives are as under:-
- With respect to ticketing, the online and offline ticketing facilities have been continuously diversified, augmented and proliferated to provide services in a transparent, accountable and user –friendly manner.
- Streamlining of Computerised Passenger Reservation System has been done to improve passenger convenience.
- Indian Railways have undertaken new initiatives like introduction of Alternate Trains Accommodation Scheme called ‘VIKALP’ to provide confirmed accommodation to waiting list passengers.
- Initiatives like SMS based Alerts have been introduced to disseminate timely information to passengers in the event of booking, cancellation, status up gradation, delay etc.
- Various passenger facilities/ amenities like, lifts, escalators, toilets, battery operated vehicles, wheel chairs, waiting rooms, Foot over Bridge etc. are being extended to more and more stations.
- Special emphasis is being given to improve cleanliness and hygiene on stations by introduction of Mechanized cleaning, awarding of Rag picking and/or garbage disposal contracts, proliferation of pay and use toilets, use of CCTV for monitoring cleanliness etc.
- Railways have proliferated discharge-less Bio-Toilets in coaches, along with Onboard Housekeeping services at important trains. Certain initiatives like ‘Coach Mitra’ service, Clean Train Station (CTS) scheme, mechanized laundries etc are introduced for better services in trains.
- State-of-the-art Train-set Vande Bharat services have been introduced between New Delhi – Varanasi and New Delhi- Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra. These trains have ultra modern features like quick acceleration, on board infotainment and GPS based passenger information system, automatic sliding doors, CCTV cameras, retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi access, better interiors and Zero discharge vacuum bio toilets etc.
- Various premium train services like Humsafar, Tejas, Antyodaya, Utkrisht Double Decker Air-conditioned Yatri (UDAY), Mahamana and coaches like Deen Dayalu and Anubhuti, which have upgraded interiors / exteriors and improved passenger amenities, have been introduced in service in various train services over IR.
- IR has also launched Project Utkrisht in order to improve the condition of ICF type coaches running in Mail / Express trains. Upgradation of 640 rakes of Mail / Express trains has been taken up under Project Utkrisht for improvement in patronized train services. Work in more than 360 rakes has already been completed under Project Utkrisht.
- Twenty four smart coaches with ultra modern features like Smart Public address and passenger information system, Smart HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system), Smart security and surveillance system etc. have also been manufactured by Modern Coach Factory / Rae Bareli and have been inducted in train service.
- In its endeavor to provide better and safer journey to the travelling passengers, Indian Railways have decided to proliferate/induct modern Linke Hofmann Busch(LHB) coaches and convert trains operating with conventional coaches by LHB coaches, in a phased manner. Presently, 531 pairs of trains on Indian Railways System are being operated with LHB coaches.
- LED lights have been provided for better illumination in the coaches and provision has been made for cushioned seats with stainless steel frame in First Class and polycarbonate seats with stainless steel frames in Second Class in newly manufactured EMU coaches.
- More mobile charging points have been provided in General, Sleeper and Air Conditioned coaches.
- Air-conditioned EMU services have been introduced on Western Railway and Central Railway. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and Emergency-Talk Button have also been installed in EMU trains.
- 1010 End on Generation(EoG) trains have been converted to Head on Generation (HoG) trains which will reduce noise and air pollution at stations and in trains. It is also expected to significantly reduce the diesel used in power cars.
- Slow moving passenger trains are replaced with Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) trains. It will ensure better acceleration and deceleration of trains.
- Various system improvements for freight services like computerization of Parcel service through Parcel Management system, Electronic registration of demand (e-RD), paperless Electronic Transmission of Railway Receipt (eT-RR) and digital payments through Debit/Credit card using POS machine along with other online facilities have been implemented.
- Catering services are provided to passengers on trains and at stations through Pantry Cars, Train Side Vending, e-Catering and Static Units at en-route stations.
- In order to provide hygienic and quality drinking water to passengers, approximately 10 lakh litres of Rail Neer (Packaged Drinking Water) is being supplied to passengers on Indian Railways per day. In addition, 1804 Water Vending Machines(WVMs) have been installed at 642 stations across the country to provide drinking water of prescribed standards at affordable rates.
- Items of passenger convenience viz. books/magazines/ newspaper, medicines, chains, locks, toiletries, non-pharmacy items like dry/spray milk powder, PAD items(Proprietary Article Depot), PDW(Packaged Drinking Water) etc. are sold through Multi-Purpose Stalls at Railway Stations.
Changes in system improvements for provision of better services and facilities in the Railways is a continuous and ongoing process.
Modernization of Indian Railways is a need based continuous process subject to operational requirement, commercial viability, technical feasibility and resource availability. In order to modernize, Indian Railway has undertaken number of initiatives for infrastructure and capacity creation, multitracking of tracks, construction of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor(WDFC) (1856 km EDFC from Ludhiana to Dankuni and 1504 km WDFC from Jawaharlal Nehru Port to Dadri), 100 percent electrification of Broad Gauge (BG) tracks, modern signaling, introduction of Automatic Train Protection, speed raising on existing tracks, introduction of modern high acceleration EMU(Electrical Multiple Units)/MEMU(Mainline Electric Multiple Units)/Vande Bharat Trains, redevelopment of Railway Stations, improved wagon and coaching stock, high hourse power locomotives etc.
The contribution of Railways, in terms of GDP, to the country’s economy as per the latest data made available by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation for the financial year 2018-19 is 0.7%. In absolute terms, in the financial year 2018-19, the Railway’s contribution is Rs. 1.24 lakh crores out of the Total Gross Value Added of Rs. 171.40 lakh crores by the different sectors of the Indian economy at current basic prices.