[Economy] Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC), High Speed Rail Corridors, Rail Tariff Regulatory Authority, Issues, Reforms in Indian RailwaysDevendra Vishwakarma
- Why Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)?
- Benefits of Dedicated Freight Corridor?
- High speed Rail Corridor
- National High Speed Rail Authority
- Rail Tariff Regulatory Authority
- Counter arguments: Rail Tariff Regulatory Authority
- India vs China: Railway success
- Rail Reforms Required
- Mock Questions
Why Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)?
- For high GDP growth, we need lot of electricity =lot of coal need to be transported from mines to thermal power station.
- For infrastructure (bridges, roads, buildings)= need fast transport of cement, steel, machinery.
- Because of growing international trade via sea lanes= need to quickly transport products from factories to ports.
- This has led to birth of Dedicated Freight Corridors along the Eastern and Western Routes in 2005.
|Eastern Corridor||Western Corridor|
|Start||Ludhiana in Punjab||Dadri in Uttar Pradesh|
|End||Dankuni in West Bengal||Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust near Mumbai|
|When to complete?||2017||2016.|
Total length 3000+Kms. Japan is providing financial and technical help for this project.
Benefits of Dedicated Freight Corridor?
- The existing rail network, runs on a combination of diesel + electrical trains.
- The Dedicated freight corridor will operate entirely on electric trains= less greenhouse gases.
- After Dedicated freight corridor, the passenger traffic and freight (goods) traffic will be separated = leading to faster speeds and efficiency.
HIGH SPEED RAIL CORRIDORS
- Under the High Speed Railway corridors (HSR) plan, the Railways intend to run trains at the speed of 160 km to 200 km per hour.
- Ministry of Railways has selected following six corridors
- Delhi -Agra-Lucknow -Varanasi – Patna
- A high-speed rail moving at speeds of 300 km/hr would take just about 2 hours to reach from New Delhi to Lucknow. Currently, it takes six hours for the fastest train on the route to cover the same distance.
- The benefits of high-speed rail are immense vis-a-vis road and airlines. These rail systems have 30% less land requirement in comparison to expressways for same carrying capacity.
- High-speed railways would directly compete with economy class tickets of an airline.
- These trains are highly fuel-efficient as their energy consumption is one third less than private cars and 5 times less than airplanes.
- Railways is more interested in constructing the Ahmedabad-Mumbai project first.
- But Planning Commission recommends that Delhi-Agra corridor should be constructed first. Because it is shorter and cheaper than A’bad-Mumbai project.
National High Speed Rail Authority
- Ministry of Railways has decided to set up a National High Speed Rail Authority (NHSRA)
- It’ll be an autonomous body through a bill in Parliament .
- NHSRA will be responsible for planning, implementation and monitoring of High Speed Rail Corridor projects.
- NHSRA is being proposed to be set up on the lines of the National Highway Authority and it would be under the Railways Ministry.
- selection of chairman and members of the NHSRA would be done by the Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) with the approval of Appointment Committee of Cabinet.
Rail Tariff Regulatory Authority
- Railways Act, 1989, Ministry of Railways enjoys full powers to fix tariffs.
- But Finance Ministry recommends that a separate body should be established to regulate tariff in Railways.
- Currently, Telecome sector has TRAI to regulate the tarrifs.
- Because Railways is a monopoly. therefore an independent regulatory mechanism =necessary.
- This authority will help Railways to improve performance and tighten productivity loss.
- And To ensure that the Railways meet the transport requirement at the minimum cost to economy.
Counter arguments: Rail Tariff Regulatory Authority
- Road transport segment is entirely in the private sector and it doesn’t have any regulatory body to fix transport prices.
- In Aviation sector, there are both private and public operators (Airindia!) and yet there is no regulatory authorities to control transport prices in Aviation either.
- And both road transport and aviation =competitors of Railways.
- So, if they don’t have a price regulator then why should Railways?
- Besides, Ministry of Railways doubts such authority will not help fulfilling the social-objectives.(such as concessional passes for students, cheap tickets for poor people)
- On these arguments, the Working Group of planning Commission has said, “maintain status-quo. No need to setup Railway Tariff regulatory authority.”
India vs China: Railway success
The Productivity of Chinese Railways= >More than twice of Indian Railways! Why? Because
Planning Commission formed a working group on Railways. It has recommended following things
- Restructure the tariff to maximize Revenue. (=increase ticket prices)
- At present, speed of trains of Passenger Mail/Express trains is below 55 kmph.
- These are low as per international standards.
- On popular routes, 24/26 coaches trains should be run to generate additional capacity.
- Replace conventional trains by EMUs/MEMUs/DMUs.
- Railways should develop alternative terminal at sub-urban areas of major cities.
- Railways should hasten the implementation of Dedicated Freight Corridor. This way passenger and freight traffic will become separate from eachother= faster passenger services, quicker freight movement.
- Following the Chinese success story, our strategy should be “HEAVIER, LONGER, FASTER” trains for freight (goods) transport.
- Upgrade to heavier (higher axle load), speedier (100 kmph) and longer freight trains=maximum utilization of existing track capacity.
- We should Import bogies from USA. They’re more track-friendly and capable of carrying enhanced loads.
No subsidy on magazines
- Indian Railways carry ‘Magazines’ parcel at highly subsidized rates.
- But nowadays the cost of magazines is very high and it is a profitable business!
- Besides, Magazines are not read by poor people.
- Therefore, Railways should stop giving concessional rates for transporting ‘Magazines’.
- However, Railways should continue giving concessional rates for transporting Newspapers.
Under Kisan vision project.
- cold storage and temperature controlled perishable cargo centres
- Refrigerated Vans (VPRs)
- Through Public Private Partnership mode,
- Project done in Singur, Nasik and Jalpaiguri etc.
- There are almost 15000 unmanned level crossings. = They’re responsible for 40% accidents (2011 data.)
- Accordingly, Indian Railways Vision – 2020 and Railway Budget Speech, these unmanned crossing have to be fixed in the next five years.
- For Signaling & Telecommunication in Railways, switch over to systems and equipment of higher reliability and safety levels.
- Setup On-Board Fire detection and Fire Fighting equipment in trains.
- Use of GPS technology and RFID technology for tracking railway trains.
- Driver’s Vigilance Telemetry Control System).
- It is a small wrist-watch like device. It constantly moniters driver’s posture, pulse etc.
- So if the driver has consumed desi-liquor and fell half-asleep in the cabin, the station manager would get alarmed and can automatically stop the train.
- Russia has been using such telemetry system for Locopilots (=train drivers) since a long time.
Train Collision Avoidance systems (TCAS).
- It is combination of GPS and Radio Frequency.
- It applies brakes without pilots.
- It avoid collisions due to human errors, rain or fog, natural calamities or sabotage.
- This would minimize human dependence in train operations and enhance the level of safety
- Railway would need more than 16000 crores to do all these things. And Government of India is tight on cash already (MNREGA, food security etc..you get the picture)
- So Railways will need to arrange the cash by itself = need to raise the tariffs, otherwise safety reforms can’t be done.
Misc. Cost reduction
- LED based lighting & Display System to reduce electricity bill.
- Provision of solar Panels, Solar Water heaters, Solar Pumps etc. in Hospitals, Running Rooms, Rest Houses run by railways.
- Provision of roof top Solar Panels on passenger coaches running in Close Circuits
- Grid connected Solar Panels at major stations.
Human resource Management
- For the medium term, UPSC should provide railway officers.
- But in the long term, railways itself should hire personnel from IIMs/IITs.
- Railways should also allow for lateral recruitment in R&D, marketing and finance, HR.
|Minor works||Major works|
|Examples||cleaning of coaches,provision of blankets and food in trains||manufacturing locomotives, coaches, wagons.|
|Suggestion of planning commission:||Outsource this work private companies=less cost than permanent staff.||Partial disinvestment. Run it on corporate lines.=more efficiency.|
- ^Both Chinese Railways and Japanese Railways are doing this.
Q1. Correct statement about Dedicated Freight Corridors?
- It is made up of three sub-corridors: Western, Eastern and Northern
- The Eastern Corridor will connect Punjab to W.Bengal
- Only electrical trains will be operated on these corridors.
- The Western Corridor will connect Punjab to Karnataka.
- Only 1 and 4
- Only 1 and 3
- Only 2 and 3
- Only 2 and 4
Q2. Correct Statement about National High Speed Rail Authority
- It’ll be responsible for implementing the Dedicated Freight Corridor project
- It’ll be an autonomous body, established by an act of parliament.
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Rajsthan and Gujarat
- Delhi and Haryana
- Haryana and UP
- UP and Bihar
- National High Speed Rail Authority (5m)
- Train Collision Avoidance systems (TCAS) (5m)
- Examine the case for setting up a nation railway tariff authority (10m)
- Write a note on Dedicated Freight Corridors (12m)
- (Interview): Railways: The artery of India.
- (in context of the issue that Planning Commission says run high speed train on Delhi-Agra while Railways wants Ahmedabad-Mumbai)…which project should be taken up first and why?
- Should Government establish a separate regulatory authority to regulate transport price in highway and aviation sector? Yes/No why?
- You’re made the Railways minister. What will be your first five initiatives?