Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pitroda panel report on Railway modernisation

The Pitroda panel on railway modernisation has said the organisation needs Rs 8.23 lakh crore over the next five years to give it a complete makeover. The Railways requires a gross budgetary support of Rs 2.5 lakh crore, which is around 30 per cent of the total finances needed to get it on par with global standards.

Besides pointing to the financial needs of the Railways, the report, which was handed over to Rail Minister Dinesh Trivedi on February 27, 2012, stresses on major overhauling of the signal system, tracks and locomotives.

The committee has also recommended a dividend waiver for the Railways to save the national transporter from collapse. Over five years, Rs 24,000 crore can be made available through waiver of dividend alone.

The Pitroda panel also suggested the sources from which the Railways could generate funds for its modernisation. For the total funding of Rs 8,22,671 crore, Rs 2,50,000 crore would come from Gross Budgetary Support, Rs 2,01,805 crore from internal generation, Rs 1,01,000 crore from leasing and borrowings, Rs 2,29,024 crore from public-private partnerships, Rs 24,000 crore from dividend rebate and Rs 16,842 crore from Road Safety Fund.

While suggesting a major technology upgrade, the committee said to ensure that the Railways do not have to look abroad for newer technology, special courses should be introduced at IITs and IIMs. Also, the existing training set-up should be reviewed and restructured. The panel also suggested that the Railway Board should be re-organised. It suggested the development of PPP models and policies to attract investment to augment core capabilities such as stations, high-speed lines, coach manufacturing, captive power generation and renewable energy projects. It also suggested establishing an Indian Institute of Railway Research with Centres of Excellence.

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