Monday, June 20, 2016

By Richa Sharma   19th Jun 2016 


NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways now has a marketing guru to boost its revenues. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has thought out of the box and roped in Adil Zainulbhai, former India head of global consulting firm McKinsey, to market resources such as railway stations, trains, space and vacant land, among others, to fill its depleted pockets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appointed Zainulbhai in September 2014 to head the Quality Council of India (QCI)—the government body that “ensures quality standards in all spheres of activities”.

QCI will set up teams of marketing experts who will work with the Railways on polishing its marketing to attract spends. According to ministry sources, the revenue of the Railways can be raised from Rs 500 crore to Rs 10,000 crore a year just by garnering ads for it.

Adil ZainulbhaiThe ex-chief’s corporate reputation is expected to attract MBAs, who can later boast of a government stint on their resumes. QCI has been given ten key areas, which include advertising on coaches and rail stations, use of vacant land, monetising soft assets like web spaces and commercial farming on land along tracks. Prabhu, in his budget speech, had focused on exploring non-fare revenues to improve railway revenues. A non-fare revenue directorate has been created in the Railway Board with the mandate to enhance revenues by 10 to 20 per cent from non-tariff sources.

“Ours is a government organisation with a conventional mindset. So we thought of getting people from the outside, who can think with open minds. The railways will ensure all procedures are followed,” said sources, adding they will not have to go through a long clearance process to get manpower since QCI, too, is a government body.

The Railways can rake it in through advertising as carries 23 million passengers—equivalent to the population of Australia.

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