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Support to weaker sections of society and stress on capital investment are focus areas for the Government: Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw; Improving passenger experience and reducing logistics costs is the strategy for Railways
Dec 04, 2021

The Government decided on the strategy of ‘focused consumption’ for people at the bottom of the pyramid and stressed public capital expenditure to boost the economy, said Mr Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways,  Communications and Electronics & Information Technology. He was addressing a group of top corporate leaders organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at a physical interaction in New Delhi.

The bulk of Government revenues is going on capital investment in areas such as healthcare infrastructure, added the Minister. Hon’ble Prime Minister has called for changing the Government’s operating systems under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package. Capacity utilisation is now rising as a result of this strategy. If the capital investment by the Government rises, private investment will also pick up, he stated.

On the Indian Railways, the Minister stated that the Railway Ministry’s focus is on improving the passenger experience through world-class railway stations. Spending on new lines, doubling of tracks and electrification among others is on track. With the stations at Bhopal and Gandhinagar now with world-class features in terms of city integration and passenger flow, 40 more stations will be tendered shortly. The EPC will be developed in a risk balanced way with as many as 20 payment points for a 3-year project.

Mr Vaishnaw said that tourism is being created as a new growth segment for the Railways and invited the industry to participate in this objective. Modern train sets with air cushions are being designed and will be rolled out at the end of next year, he added.

For reducing cargo costs, he noted that it is important to raise the share of freight carried by the Railways. For this, the Ministry is working on stepping up investment in new tracks, capacity, and other infrastructure. The customer interface must be made simple with not more than 3 months for clearances on cargo terminals and other facilities. He highlighted that wagon designs are being changed to cater to different commodities and products. The Railways is working on a hybrid BOT model for greater private participation, he added.

In telecom, the Minister said that India is developing its own 5G system. The PLI scheme for telecom manufacturing has been very encouraging with 35 applications.

In the electronics and information technology sector, Mr Vaishnaw stated that electronics manufacturing is likely to exceed the expectation of US$ 250 billion of production by FY26. Similarly, Startup India had targeted 100 unicorns by 2025, but more than 70 are already in place, he noted. A user-centric, trust-based regime is being developed.

Mr TV Narendran, President, CII, shared that CII has been working with Indian Railways for a long. CII has set up the Centre for Digital Transformation to boost IT in the industry.

New Delhi

4 December 2021

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