NITI Aayog to draft roadmap for implementation of Rs 1 lakh crore safety fund for railways

NITI Aayog, which will be assisted by the officials of the Ministry of Railways, would lay the path for major safety overhaul in the next five years in the railways.

Published: 01st March 2017 01:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2017 01:06 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: On the directions of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NITI Aayog will draft roadmap for implementation of the Rs 1 lakh crore safety fund envisioned by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in this year’s Budget. The NITI Aayog, which will be assisted by the officials of the Ministry of Railways, would lay the path for major safety overhaul in the next five years in the railways by reaching out to professionals outside the government, besides holding parleys with all stakeholders.

The Finance Ministry has completed discussions with the top officials of the Ministry of Railways over the broader scope of works to be included in the Rs 1 lakh crore Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) to strengthen and enhance safety on Indian Railways. “...we shall be grateful if you could help us in the task of identifying critical areas and guiding principles for deployment of RRSK funds for bringing out perceptible improvement in safety scenario over Indian Railways. A team of officers concerned with this subject will closely work with you,” the Chairman Railway Board (CRB) A K Mittal wrote in a letter to the NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy whose report had led the phasing out of the separate Rail Budget this year. 

The Ministry of Finance after preliminary discussions with the officials of the railways has identified key areas which could be included for the implementation of the RRSK fund over the next five years. “Some of the areas identified during discussions with Ministry of Finance include track and bridge rehabilitation works, induction of technology in detecting of rail and weld failures, elimination of level crossings through the road over and road under bridges (ROBs/RUBs), signalling and telecommunication improvement, rolling stock improvement and replacement and human resource development,” Mittal further added in his letter to NITI Aayog. 

The Ministry of Railways has also called upon the The NITI Aayog to also help in laying the path for the sustainable funding for the next five years, besides devising a roadmap for its utilization along with clearly defined outcomes.

Even while the Kakodkar committee report, which had sought creation of a Rs 1 lakh crore safety fund for railways, has been lying with the government, NITI Aayog, sources said, wants to take a fresh look at some of the critical aspects by ensuring that there is adequate technological solutions along with filling up of about two lakh vacancies of safety personnel in a time bound manner in the next five years. “Technology alone cannot be a one stop solution for the safety concerns in the Railways. The excessive lack of manpower, including the gangman, on the ground level must also be addressed. There is also a need to de-stress the rail traffic to ensure that the safety inspection aspect is not compromised,” said a senior official in the NITI Aayog.


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