New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s biggest achievement on the railway front has been in changing the mindset of its employees, Union railway minister Piyush Goyal said.
“It was very important to change the thought process of people working in railways who have been working in their core sectors all these years," said Goyal. He added that the national carrier is now going to focus on three areas—safety, outcome-oriented actions and Prime Minister’s mantra of skill, speed and scale.
Goyal said improving the safety standards of Indian railways while maintaining the punctuality of the trains will be one of the priorities in the coming days. The railways achieved its best safety record in 2017-18 when the number of accidents fell to 73, a decline of 62% from 118 in 2013-14.
Goyal said there are no plans to privatise the railways. Railways is consistently trying to improve passenger services through in-house mechanisms.
Goyal said the listing of railway PSU, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation has been delayed because he was seeking better valuation.
Similarly, on setting up a regulator called Railway Development Authority, the minister said, “The process of recruitment of people for RDA is underway but Indian Railways hasn’t received any recommendations over it as yet."
The minister said the NDA government was focusing on infrastructure development and the capital expenditure spent to lay the railway lines has been increased to more than two and half times as compared to what it was four years ago. The railways’ average pace of commissioning new lines has increased from 4.1 km (2009-14) to 6.53 km per day (2014-18). He added that the railways is working on the NDA government’s philosophy of Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas.
The railways achieved its highest freight loading of 1,162 MT in 2017-18 and 1,107 MT in 2016-17, the minister said. Freight earnings are expected to rise 12% from a year ago to touch Rs1.17 trillion in 2017-18. The commissioning of dedicated freight corridors in phases by 2019-20, he said, will further boost the Indian economy.