Thursday, January 7, 2016

— By FPJ Bureau | Jan 07, 2016 




Indian Railways currently is the only rail-based trans-city infrastructure provider and operator in the country.

Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu flagging off the new trains from Rewari, in Haryana on January 13, 2015. The Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, the Minister of State for Planning (Independent Charge) and Defence, Rao Inderjit Singh and other dignitaries are also seen.

Passenger amenities, services and Digital India initiatives
Provision of All India Security Helpline ‘182’

All India Security Helpline ‘182’ has been provided over Indian Railway to facilitate the travelling passenger. The service is very important public service and may play an important role in any emergency like crime against women, onboard unlawful activity, train accidents, medical attention required fire etc.
Provision of All India Passenger Helpline ‘138’

The All India Passenger Helpline ‘138’ has been provided as a public interface for quarries/complaints related to Medical Emergency, Cleanliness, Food & Catering, Coach Maintenance, Linen etc. (Except Security).
Complaint Management System (COMS) Portal

For the help and assistance to bona fide railway passengers to give their feedback and also to register their complaints, Minister of Railways has launched Complaint Management System (COMS) portal on 02.03.2015 which consists of the following application
E-Catering – In order to widen the range of food options available to passengers, E-catering services have been introduced, through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in trains without pantry car or Train Side Vending as well as on 45 designated stations from where passengers of originating/passing trains can avail of this facility. IRCTC has set up a call centre with toll free no. 1800-1034-139, developed a website: www.ecatering. irctc.co.in and also SMS facility to 139 as MEAL to take orders.
Water Vending Machine: As a recent initiative, to ensure availability of clean drinking water at low cost to the passengers, a policy on Water Vending Machines (WVMs) has been notified on 16/06/2015. These WVMs are to be set up by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) at identified Railway stations.
Pre-cooked Food (ready to eat meals) – Railways have conducted trials for service of pre-cooked (ready-to-eat) meals of reputed brands on some trains. A policy guideline on “Ready to Eat Meals” has been issued to zonal railways on 30.01.2015.
First workshop of all Food Safety Officer, Designated Officers & IRCTC Officers held in Kolkata to improve the standard of food safety in Indian Railways.
Executive Lounge: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has introduced an Executive Lounge at New Delhi railway station. The Executive Lounge provide value added services at a charge, offering facilities such as WiFi Internet, buffet services, wash and change, concierge services for pre-departure and post-arrival assistance to passengers. IRCTC is in the process of setting up Executive Lounges at 48 more stations.
Concierge Services: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has introduced concierge services (pick-up & drop and porter services), as Pilot Project at a few railway stations. The stations are New Delhi, Mysore, Bhubaneswar, Howrah, Patna, Secun-derabad, Jaipur, Tirupati, Ernakulam, Lucknow, Chandi-garh, Lucknow Jn., Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Delhi Safdarjung, Anand Vihar Terminal, Delhi Cantt, Delhi Sarai Rohilla, Vijayawada, Guntur, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati Jn.
Mid-Segment Tourist train: Indian Railways in association with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has now introduced a mid-segment tourist train also. The all inclusive round trip packages covers rail transportation in different air-conditioned classes, local transportation, guided tour for sightseeing in groups, variety of meals and hotel accommodation etc. To begin with, a train on the circuit Delhi – Jaisalmer – Jaipur – Delhi commenced operation on 13.12.2015 while the second one on the circuit Delhi – Varanasi – Khajuraho – Agra – Delhi is scheduled to commence operation on 20.12.2015.
New Trains : – Upto the month of November, 2015 112 new trains and 15 extension of trains and 5 increase in frequency have been implemented as announced in Railway Budget 2014-15. No new train has been announced in Railway Budget 2015-16
Lower berths to senior citizens : With a view to facilitate senior citizens and female passengers when travelling alone, a combined reservation quota of two lower berths per coach in Sleeper class has been enhanced to four lower berths per coach is Sleeper class. Further w.e.f. 01.11.2015, the facility of booking tickets under senior citizen quota will be permitted even when two passengers eligible to book tickets under this quota intend to book.
Staggering to Tatkal booking timings : – W.e.f. 15.06.2015, the timings for reservation under Tatkal scheme has been staggered and now it opens at 10.00 hours on the previous day of journey from train originating station. Also, all types of ticketing agents( YTSK, RTSAs, IRCTC agents, etc.) are debarred from booking tickets during first thirty minutes of opening of booking i.e. from 08.00 to 08.30 hours for general bookings, and from 10.00 to 10.30 hours and 11.00 to 11.30 hours for Tatkal booking in AC & non-AC classes respectively.
Automatic refund of Confirmed / RAC e-tickets on cancellation of trains : Automatic refund of Confirmed /RAC e-tickets on cancellation of trains similar to waitlisted e-tickets is granted There is no requirement for cancellation/filing of TDR for refund of e-ticket in case of cancellation of trains.
Change in timings of booking through internet : The timings of booking reserved tickets through internet have been changed and is now available daily from 00.30 hours to 23.45 hours.

INFRASTRUCTURE AND MAKE IN INDIA INITIATIVE
The MoU between India and Japan has been signed on the cooperation and assistance in the Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project. Japan has offered an assistance of over Rs.79,000 crores. The loan is for a period of 50 years with 15 years moratorium with the interest rate is 0.1 per cent. The project is a 508 Kilometer line costing a total of Rs. 97,636 crores.
Provision of Optical Fibre Cable (OFC)

1,098 Rkms OFC has been laid. Cumulatively, 48,818 Rkms (approx.) OFC has been commissioned over Indian Railways enabling high speed communication network.

FREIGHT
Automotive rebate for Traditional Empty Flow Direction Traffic with a view to convert empty running of rakes into loaded one, automatic freight rebate scheme has been introduced from 25.6.2015 wherein all rakes loaded in notified empty flow direction are charged at Class – LR1 (Train load) and at Class-100 (Wagon load), subject to certain terms and conditions.

SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT, INNOVATION AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION
Innovative Funding initiatives and non traditional sources of funding:

Many initiatives were taken to explore alternative sources of funding, besides the traditional GBS route. These are listed as follows:
a) An Memorandum of Understanding with LIC of India was signed on 11.3.2015 for committed long-term funding to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh crore over 5 years for financing Railway projects. First tranche of Rs 2000 cr has been received.
b) MOF approved issue of tax free bonds by IRFC amounting to Rs.6,000 crore during the FY 2015-16; the entire amount has been raised from the market.

SAFETY
Working towards ‘Zero Accident’ Mission.
Train Protection Warning System (TPWS): TPWS is a safety Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system conforming to European Train Control System (ETCS) Level-1. It eliminates accidents caused by human error of Signal Passing at Danger or over speeding by loco pilot. TPWS trials at 160 Kmph were successfully conducted during the year on Nizamuddin-Agra Cantt. Section after completion of requisite works. This section was also made signalling fit for speed potential of 160 Kmph by executing required signaling system upgradations during the year.
Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS): To overcome shortcomings of ACD system due to its dependence on GPS and for large scale deployment on Indian Railways, a cost effective indigenous safety system – Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) is being developed indigenously by RDSO in association with Indian Vendors.
Provision of Integrated Security System (ISS)

ISS at 5 stations namely Trivandrum, Mangalore & Ernakulum (SR), Triputi (SCR), Thane (CR) has been commissioned. In addition to that, CCTV system has been commissioned at 10 stations namely Miraj (CR),Bengaluru, Yesvantpur, Mysore(SWR), Bhubanes-war, Puri, Cuttack, Visakhapatnam (ECoR), Bhopal & Itarsi (WCR). Cumulatively, ISS at 63 stations has been commissioned over Indian Railway. In addition to that, CCTV system has been cumulatively commissioned at 19 stations over Indian Railway. CCTV surveillance system has been provided at 21 PRS/UTS locations.
In the current year from 1st April to 10th December, 2015, consequential train accidents decreased from 105 to 81 in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year.
During the current year from January to 10th December 2015, safety drives were launched by Board on prevention of cases of SPAD, prevention of accidents at unmanned level crossings, observance of rules and precautions during shunting, prevention of cases of fire in pantry cars, observance of rules for working of push trolleys, etc.
One conference of Chief Safety Officers was organized for detailed discussions on various issues relating to safety and rules for train operations.

ELECTRIFICATION AND SIGNALLING
With a view to reduce the Nation’s dependence on imported petroleum based energy and to enhance energy security to the Country, as well as to make the Railway System more eco- friendly and to modernize the system, Indian Railways have been progressively electrifying its rail routes. 1479 route kilometers have been energized from January’ 2015 upto 15th December’ 2015.

GREEN INITIATIVES
Railway has already provided Solar panel on roof top of coaches for train lighting system in 2 broad gauge coaches & 4 narrow gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar section in Kangra Valley and fourteen narrow gauge coaches plying on Kalka-Shimla section on trial basis.
Setting up of Solar Plants : – Tender document & policy guidelines for 50 MW solar plants at rooftop of Railways buildings issued. 10 Railways have issued tenders accordingly.
Setting up of wind plant : – Commissioned 25 MW wind mill power plant at Jaisalmer in October, 2015 which has already supplied 40 lakh units till now.
1000 MW solar power plants being set up over next 5 years; 10.5 MW already set up; in 2015-16, additional 6.5 MW will be set up ; PPP model finalized.
Till Nov-2015, 7621 bio Toilets has been fitted in 2144 coaches. The cumulative fitment of Bio Toilets till date is 27800 Bio-Tanks in about 9200 coaches.
An innovative Indian design of a Bio-Vac Toilets, a Hybrid of Vacuum Toilet and Bio-Toilet is working successfully in one coach of GHY Rajdhani train. It has opened a new possibility to control the problem of human waste falling from trains.



HUMAN RESOURCE

In order to cope with the stress involved in the job and to have a disciplined life, Yoga training has been made mandatory in all training courses in Centralised Training Institutes, Zonal Railway Training Institutes, Multi-Disciplinary Training Centres, Main Training Centres and other Training Centres.

Instructions have been issued to start specialized programme on soft skills to frontline staff dealing with customers in an effort to give greater thrust towards customer satisfaction.

MOU has been signed with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) on 14th July, 2015 to make available separable railway infrastructure to MSDE and its authorised representatives to start skill training centres in rural and remote areas.

For rationalisation of man power across Indian Railways, one of the big four HR audit companies, Deloitte has been identified and entrusted with the task of studying the manpower rationalization of the Group A services.
Modules on sensitization of Railway personnel on gender introduced in Centralised Training Institutes.
Academic Service Agreement signed with Beijing Jiatang University, China for training of 100 Railway officers of various departments in Heavy Haul Technology.

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