My Dear Colleagues,
As 2016 draws to a close and as we step into the New Year, this might be a good time to reflect and reminisce on the year gone by and challenges ahead.
Everyone agrees that given the scale , reach and exposure of IR, transforming Indian Railways is an essential prerequisite for the transformation of this country. The pro-active role that Indian railways needs to play in steering the Indian Economy to a high growth path is therefore, recognized by and visible in, the sharp focus that IR has been receiving at the apex level of governance.
Gone therefore are the days when, the Railway Budget would focus singularly on new lines, new trains and other populist declarations without much concern as to the health of IR and overall long term deliverability of the promises. In the new era, the focus, (now without the fanfare of the Railway Budget), is on the core areas - investment , capacity enhancement, customer focused initiatives, and dealing resolutely with all the challenges that IR is faced with ; be it the declining modal share, the long shelf of projects, or declining fund surpluses & systemic inefficiencies etc.
Indian Railways has accordingly launched a massive program to bring in investments in capacity. To address the money crunch, innovative and out-of-the-box financing models have been attempted such as enhanced support from the Government, Extra Budgetary Resources like loan from LIC, PPP models and models based on cooperative federalism through joint ventures with State Governments for mutually beneficial projects. As a result of unprecedented efforts in this direction, infusion of capital to the tune of Rs 8.56 lakh Cr has already been tied up for the Indian Railways in 2015-19 of which, importantly Rs 2 lakh cr will be used in network decongestion and Rs 1 lakh Cr in station development and logistic parks besides investments in rolling stock, etc. Once these are in place, IR is bound to have adequate capacities to substantially reduce journey and transit times and provide more, faster and more reliable service at a cheaper cost.
Meanwhile IR has undertaken a large number of Freight and passenger sector reforms with a clear objective to make ourselves more and more customer focused. Our initiatives have provided the ease of doing business to our freight customers and improved the journey experience of our passengers.
Of course, the journey for transformation of IR has only begun and there are several concerns and challenges. Infrastructure up gradation, while maintaining traffic flows at acceptable delivery levels is in itself a major challenge. Meeting the growing aspirations of public and ever active customers is another exciting challenge..
Whatever be the challenges, I am convinced that, at the cutting edge of an organization that seeks to meet the growing aspirations of the people of this country, IRTS officers engaged in freight or passenger sectors dealing with operating or commercial aspects, will all, remain at the very vortex of the winds of change and will have a very vital role to play. You have not only to bring about the necessary cultural change in your subordinates and colleagues, but also ensure all along during the endeavour, that continuity of services of this very vital lifeline of the country is maintained.
I am sure that with your zeal, dedication, commitment, knowledge and efforts you will continue to do the organization and the country proud.
I wish you the very best for a Happy and happening 2017!! Keep looking forward and God Bless!