Dark clouds have been looming over the Indian Railways for a long time. As per reports, it is burdened by an operational loss of Rs 33,000 crore. But, the railways is not leaving any stone unturned.
Moneycontrol takes a look at what this sector on wheels has to offer in the year 2017.
Shaadi at station In one of the most interesting ways to get rid of the losses, railways is offering to have its platforms turned into wedding reception halls. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd and not invite people to the same old marriage halls, call up the Railways toll free and be ready for a new experience. In a first, wedding receptions will be held at the Surat railway station. A proposal was also sent by the Western Railway (WR) to the Railway Ministry. At present, the fourth platform of the Surat station has been picked by the railway officials. Besides Surat, Navapur station, one-half of which falls in Maharashtra and the other in Gujarat has also been chosen to implement the plan. ‘Pepsi Rajdhani’ or ‘Coke Shatabdi’ Setting an ambitious target of raising around Rs 2,000 crore in non-fare revenue, the transporter has readied a plan to brand trains and stations. So, you may see a ‘Pepsi Rajdhani’ or a ‘Coke Shatabdi’. In this new approach, railways will award media the rights for an entire train (both inside and outside) and stations on a long-term basis to big corporate players. It will offer out-of-home advertising policy and allow monetisation of railway assets by means of advertising. Huge LED screens will come up at stations, platforms and foot overbridges (leading to station areas) for advertising. The train branding packages will be offered through bidding in a phased manner, starting with Rajdhani and Shatabdi services. App your way to railways Going digital is the new mantra and railways is falling in line. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on January 10, 2017 announced the release of new passenger mobile application named ‘IRCTC Rail Connect app’. The new app will provide payment gateway to over 40 banks to facilitate payments through net banking, credit or debit cards and wallets. New user registration and activation can be directly done through the IRCTC Rail Connect. The soon-to-be launched
‘Disha’, another app, will help commuters find the east and west sides of a station and help them to find passenger amenities at the station, prominent places around and general information about the station.
Coolie No. 1 The year 2017 can be the year to cheer for 20,000 Railway coolies as the government looks to bring them under the social security net of Employment Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). As per a report, a cess of 10 paise may be levied on each railway ticket to mobilise around Rs 4.38 crore every year for Railway coolies to come under EPFO. They will receive basic minimum facilities like PF, group insurance and pension.
Wi-fi to welcome you at all stations Doesn’t free Wi-Fi facility excite us? What if more and more railway stations offer you this facility. Not a far-fetched thought when Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said 200 more stations and some additional trains would be provided with Wi-Fi in 2017. Railways in 2016 had fitted 100 stations with Wi-Fi and expects to double the number this year.
From unreserved to reserved Fed up of waiting for someone to make a cancellation for you to get reserved seats. Ache din are here as more number of berths will be available under Reservation Under Cancellation (RAC) for wait-listed passengers from this year. The rail network will enhance RAC seats in both sleeper class (SL) and air-conditioned (3AC, 2AC) coaches. Going green In its effort to get fast and furious, the railways is not forgetting its responsibilities towards the environment and is taking steps to go green. The Delhi Division of Indian Railways has started developing green patches surrounding railway stations in the state.