Indian Railways have the honor of being called one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world. Spread over 64,015 route kilometres, it is a major mode of transport for passenger and bulk freight traffic. Not only that, Indian railways are also the largest employer in India.
One of the most efficient modes of transport, Indian railways has successfully completed 160 years of operation and is still progressing day-in and day-out to become a world-standard network.
- The Indian Railways generated total approximate earnings on originating basis of Rs. 22, 439.30 crore (US$ 3.76 billion) during 1st April 2013 to 31st May 2013 as against Rs. 19, 905.32 crore (US$ 3.34 billion) during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 12.73 per cent. While the total goods earnings increased by 10.52 per cent, total passenger revenue earnings shot up by 17.48 per cent.
The revenue earnings from other coaching amounted to Rs. 696.12 crore (US$ 116.72 million) during 1st April 2013 to 31st May 2013. The total approximate numbers of passengers booked during 1st April 2013 – 31st May 2013 were 1395.11 million compared to 1392.47 million during the same period last year, showing an increase of 0.19 per cent.
The Railways have also generated Rs. 15324.25 crore (US$ 2.57 billion) of revenue earnings from commodity-wise freight traffic during April-May 2013 as compared to Rs. 14102.45 (US$ 2.36 billion) crore during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 8.66 per cent.
- The cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow into the railways related components sector stood at US$ 270.33 million from April 2000 to April 2013, according to statistics released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), Indian Railways’ online ticket selling portal, is planning to invest Rs 100 crore (US$ 16.76 million) to revamp its online ticketing system. After the reconstruction of the website, its ticket-processing capacity will increase by 275 per cent, up from the current 2,000 tickets a minute to 7,500 tickets. The revamped website is expected to raise IRCTC’s daily revenue from the current Rs 54 lakh (US$ 90,550.20) to Rs 90 lakh (US$ 150,917), an increase of 67 per cent.
- Moreover, in a bid to make things easier for passengers, IRCTC has launched a pilot project of ticket booking through non-internet based mobile phones with effect from 1st July 2013. If the pilot goes well, the new development will enable people using non-internet based mobile phones to easily access Railway ticketing services through SMS/IVRS/USSD. The facility is user-friendly, secure and also eco-friendly, as no print-out is required.
- Rapid Metro Rail-Gurgaon (phase-II) project has awarded a Rs 266.50 crore (US$ 44.67 million)- construction order to IL&FS Engineering Services Ltd. The project, to be completed in 2 years, requires construction of single and double track elevated viaduct for the metro project in Gurgaon.
IL&FS has already implemented Phase-I of this project which involved design and construction of single and double track elevated viaduct including six elevated station buildings.
- Meanwhile, Russian Railways has expressed interest in the electrification of India’s immensely huge railway network, which is undergoing a major revamp scheme. Sergei Pavlov, Chief Executive of Russian Railways subsidiary RZD International, has revealed that the company is keen on Indian market in terms of electrification and track reconstruction. He stated that over 2000 kilometres of railway lines are getting electrified every year.
Apart from Russian Railways, Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation is also vying for cooperation with Indian railways. Oleg Siyenko, chief executive of Uralvagonzavod, has said that the company is ready to cooperate with India on the joint development and manufacturing of railway carriages, setting up of production facilities for machinery parts and units and establishment of assembly lines using the latest technology.