Track to efficiency: Railway Development Authority

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/track-to-efficiency-on-creating-a-rail-development-authority/article17873780.ece
The Hindu, April 8, 2017
Editorial
Track to efficiency
Excerpts:

One of the big challenges before the Centre is to facilitate higher non-budgetary investment in the railways. The Bibek Debroy Committee found the private sector is discouraged from participating more effectively due to a monopolistic framework. Coming up with a system that de-risks private investment and creates a level playing field are among the major challenges before the Rail Development Authority. In the area of passenger services, this offers several possibilities; the railways cater to some 23 million passengers a day in a network of about 8,000 stations. The experience of consumers in cities shows that use of information technology to deliver traditional services can lead to higher levels of efficiency and lower costs, besides adding jobs. While regulation of tariffs matching the quality of travel can help raise revenues, the system should be able to move both people and freight faster in order to grow. Inducting faster, more comfortable trains on 500 km-plus inter-city routes would attract new traffic, and help operate cheaper passenger trains to interior areas, as part of the government’s social obligation. Technology upgrades are essential to raise carrying capacity, service frequency and speeds. Rail reform is complex and what was undertaken in Europe during the 1990s, separating infrastructure from operations, is an interesting model: sequential measures achieved sustainable results, rather than a package of changes introduced at once.

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