Context: With private trains expected to begin operations by April 2023, the Railways said the move would benefit travellers by way of confirmed tickets and faster trains. It will also allay fears of higher fares and job losses.

More on news: 

  • The Railways invited Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for operation of passenger trains by private operators on 109 routes with 151 modern trains.
    • RFQ is typically used as a screening step to establish a pool of vendors (businesses or individuals to provide a product or service) that are then qualified, and thus eligible to submit responses to a request for proposals (RFP). 
  • This project is expected to attract ₹30,000 crore in private investment. 
  • According to the data shared through the Railways ferried 8.4 billion (840 crore) passengers in 2019-20, about five crore passengers could not be accommodated, meaning their wait-listed tickets were dropped.
  • On the technological advancements, train coaches now required maintenance after they ran 4,000 km, but modern coaches would need maintenance after every 40,000 km or once or twice in 30 days. 
  • Modern coaches would run faster, would be safer and would provide more facilities.
  • RFQ had been issued under the Make in India policy. So the coaches would have to be manufactured in India and the local component would be as specified in the policy.

More about the project:

  • The major objectives of this project are induction of modern technology and reduction in transit time and the demand-supply deficit. 
  • These private trains would be run in addition to the currently available trains run by the Railways. 
  • In addition, the Railways would have to introduce more trains to cater for an estimated 13 billion passengers by 2030. 
  • It will also increase employment in Railways.
  • The private entity will pay the Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in gross revenue determined through the bidding process.

Indian Railway Board:

  • It is the apex body of the Indian Railways and reports to parliament through the Ministry of Railways. 
  • The Railway Board comprises one Chairman, seven "members of the Railway Board", and a Financial Commissioner (who is the representative of the Ministry of Finance in the Railway Board). 
  • It also includes a Director-General (Railway Health Services), Director-General (personal) and a Director-General (Railway Protection Force).
  • Most of the officers posted in the Ministry of Railways are either from organised "Group A Railway services" or the Railway Board Secretariat Service.


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