Mr. Suresh Prabhu’s Speech Continues…
K. Transparency and Governance initiatives
113. As the Hon’ble Members of the House are aware, Indian Railways recruits various categories of employees through its 21 recruitment boards. As a major transparency initiative, the system of on-line applications has been introduced for two categories as a pilot project. It is proposed to extend this further to include all future recruitments.
114. Corruption at all levels continues to affect the common man. We will explore all possible solutions to address this menace.
115. In order to provide a thrust to transparency, eprocurement value chain is being expanded to cover all Divisions, Depots and Workshops.
116. Indian Railways currently is the only rail-based trans-city infrastructure provider and operator in the country. Therefore, for the purpose of orderly development of infrastructure services, enabling competition and protection of customer interests, it is important to have a regulation mechanism independent of the service provider. Initially it was contemplated to set up only a Tariff Regulator, however, it is now proposed to set up a mechanism, which will be entrusted with making regulations, setting performance standards and determining tariffs. It will also adjudicate on disputes among licensees/private partners and the Ministry, subject to review in appeal.
117. Even as we pursue this transformation agenda, Indian Railways will continue to honour its wider obligations to the nation. With this in mind and in keeping with our Government’s high priority on skill development, Indian Railways, with its vast spread, will contribute by making available its infrastructure like stations and training centres for skill development. Indian Railways has a huge talent of skilled personnel and their services are also available for this national cause.
118. To encourage self-employment, we will promote products made by Self Help Groups, consisting mainly of women and youth. Konkan Railway (KR) has already launched this programme in three states during the past three months. KR expects to generate employment for approximately 50,000 persons from this scheme in the next few years.
119. Tourism holds a great potential for job creation and economic development of a region. Indian Railways will join this effort Incredible Rail for Incredible India. We have successfully experimented on Konkan Railway tourism promotion through training of auto-rickshaw and taxioperators as tourist-guides since they are the first point of contact for our passengers. We intend replicating this at major tourist stations.
120. We propose to explore the possibility of offering some coaches in select trains connecting major tourist destinations to travel agencies on a revenue sharing model.
121. Madam Speaker, I have the honour to recall that this year we are celebrating 100 years of the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India. IRCTC will work on promoting the Gandhi circuit to attract tourists to mark this occasion. To help farmers to learn about new farming and marketing techniques, IRCTC will work on Kisan Yatra, a special travel scheme.
122. The Financial Performance for 2014-15 and Budget Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure for 2015-16 are at Annex II.
123. At present, due to over-utilised line capacity and backlog in track renewals, there are speed restrictions, which lead to delay in running more number of trains. The review will be completed soon so that we can announce new trains and increased frequency in this session.
124. Madam Speaker, the actions in the eleven thrust areas, which I have described, cannot remain mere policy pronouncements. Railways cannot function in a ‘Business As Usual’ mode. We have to gear up to face future challenges. Madam, I will ensure that Indian Railways delivers quantifiable and visible improvements. Our most critical initiatives will be pursued in mission mode under the direct oversight of designated senior officials in the Ministry of Railways as Mission Directors. A similar structure will be replicated in all Zonal Railways. I will personally monitor on all major thrust areas. I am confident that I have the support of 13 lakh dedicated men and women in this endeavour.
125. Swami Vivekanand once said, “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”
He Ended the Speech with following words
For me, that idea is the transformation of Indian Railways. We can, and will, turn the Railways around. We will fulfil the Prime Minister’s vision for the Railways. We seek the support of all of you in this national endeavour which holds the key to the transformation of India itself into Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat. With these words, Madam Speaker, I commend the Railway Budget for 2015-16 to the August House.