Indian Railways – An Analysis of the Indian Railways and the Suggestions by the Bibek Debroy Panel

Report Overview:

  • The Indian Railways (IR), a 162 year old national asset has the distinction of being the second largest railway system in Asia and the fourth largest railway system in the world, operating more than 19,000 trains and 7,112 stations.
  • During 2014‐15, the IR carried 8,350 million passengers and the freight loading by IR stood at 1,101.25 million tonnes; 54% of the passengers originated from suburban routes and average distance travelled is 138km per passenger.
  • Approximately 41 percent of the 368 projects being undertaken by the Railways in 2013-14 had been sanctioned between the last 5 years and 15 years or more and infact 59 of the projects have been ongoing since 1997-98 or before.
  • On 16th July 2015, the union cabinet cleared a proposal for redevelopment of 407 A1 and A type railway stations through the innovative “Swiss Challenge” Model. These stations will be offered for redevelopment on “as is where is” basis.
  • Salient recommendations of the Bibek Debroy Committee Report are: Setting up an Independent Regulator, the Railways Regulatory Authority of India (RRAI); Generating resources through optimum utilization of existing assets, external financing and building capacity; Carrying out accounting reforms and Separate Ancillary functions such as running Hospitals, Schools and the Railway Protection Force.