Introducing competition in Indian Railways


In a major initiative, the Bibek Debroy committee has proposed to invite private players to compete with the Indian Railways by running sleek, brand-new coaches replete with high-tech gadgetry zipping through the countryside at 200 kmph or above, providing a new level of experience to the discerning railway users.

The committee has extensively documented the experience of European nations where a large number of such private operators have set up shop and have changed the way people commute by train.

The committee, in its 323-page report, has cited the example of opening up of the civil aviation and telecom sectors which has given millions of Indians freedom to choose from varied service providers and has also made significant advances in standards of service in these sectors.

Unfortunately, unlike airlines which can access the open skies as long they pay licence fees, obey the ATC’s instructions and stick to the slot allotted at the airports, and the way telecom operators handle traffic on the wave length exclusively provided to them, the rail track needs a single entity directing trains onto it. Hence, these new trains need to access the same tracks being used by the Indian Railways—13,000 passenger trains and 8,000 freight trains—over its vast 64,000-km network. More info

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