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Freeing up of IRCTC and IRCON is good news for Indian Railways.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley slipped in two big steps concerning the Indian Railways during the Union Budget 2017 speech. He announced that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and the Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) will be listed on the bourses. Interestingly, IRCON International, as it is called, is already listed, but suffers from the typical public sector listing problem of not enough shares being disinvested making the stock illiquid.

IRCTC controls all the digital ticketing operations of Indian Railways, and post demonetisation has seen a 10 percentage point increase in the number of tickets booked online, from 58 percent to 68 percent, a substantial jump. It’s also a company that holds the world record for the maximum number of tickets booked online in a single day, at over 1.3 million.

IRCON is a 41 year-old company that has managed and executed large ticket infrastructure and railway projects across the world, from Afghanistan to Malaysia. It has annual revenues of $190 million.

Jaitley’s announcement to list both the companies in the bourses is not as much about the robustness of the two companies, as it’s about freeing the Indian railways to focus on its core task of providing high quality travel experience to passengers, achieve global standards of safety and refocus its financial resources towards capital expenditure and fleet expansion. The finance minister’s announcement has three potential transformative implications.

First, the autonomy given to the two companies to get into the market allows them to bring in much needed financial and non-financial resources in order to turn themselves into completely professional outfits that could bid for big ticketing and contracts with the best in India and going forward in the world. This is true especially for IRCTC, which has the potential to develop its tourism and catering operations on the back of the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for Tourism Zones announced by Jaitley in his budget speech. An efficient, innovative and energized IRCTC can take the battle to the airlines and their flash pricing and cheap tickets.

There are two reasons for such optimism. The first is the experience of China which decoupled several ancillary units associated with its railways system as part of a large scale reform two decades ago. The results are there for all to see, with the Chinese infrastructure, rake, signaling and engine companies successfully bidding for some of the biggest projects in the world. The second is closer home and is an Indian experience. The manner in which the ONGC Videsh Limited has done creditably around the world, on the back a freedom that comes from listing, acquiring key oil and natural gas assets for energy security is a model that can be followed by IRCON.Secopmn

Second, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has been quite clear about making the Indian Railways ‘asset light’. Decoupling ancillary units, or those operations that are not the core of the Indian Railways, is critically necessary for rebalancing the fiscal health of what is still India’s lifeline. An ‘asset light’ railways would be able to restructure its debt, approach multilateral institutions for loans at soft rates, bring in private participation and attract global majors to collaborate for some of the major freight and passenger projects. Again, China is a good place to look at, and much of the international cooperation that China was able to attract, right from the transfer of technology by Bombardier for the Chinese to locally manufacture bullet trains to Maglev, took place on the back of making the Chinese railways focused and lean and fiscally strong.

Third, this move will benefit the common man. It’s never a good practice for one holding company, in this case the Indian Railways, to occupy every part of the value chain. Such an occupation results in a near monopoly situation where the customer doesn’t have a choice, and consequently does not have a voice. The in-built system of checks and balances that comes from market-led diversity and leads to higher quality, customer satisfaction and better levels of safety is bound to come in as the Indian Railways starts disengaging itself from non-core activities.

http://www.firstpost.com/business/budget-2017-freeing-up-of-irctc-and-ircon-is-good-news-for-indian-railways-3241482.html

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Railways considering bottle pulverisers to check plastic at stations.

water bottles and to check plastic waste generation, Railways is considering installing potable drinking water bottle pulveriser machines at railway stations. Interestingly, it was also suggested that the passengers must be allowed to enter the station only a hour before the train’s scheduled departure.

The suggestion was made by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) after conducting a survey of major railway stations for cleanliness ranking. It was conducted with the objective of measuring passenger satisfaction with cleanliness on station premises. And the survey covered 407 major railway stations across the country– 75 A1 category stations and 332 A-category stations. IRCTC pointed out that the installation of pulverisers would greatly bring down plastic garbage generation on Railway premises.

According to the survey, ban on polythene carry bags and plastic cups and plates may be imposed inside station premises.

The aesthetic value of the station should be enhanced by giving a horticulture contract for the station along with sanitation contract.

Further, it mooted an e-platform for consolidating and monitoring the level of cleanliness. It can also be used to send alerts. The mechanism may be on e-platform, which will enable the managers get real-time status on cleanliness and Anf the Management Information System (MIS) report will indicate the improvements needed.

IRCTC, which said that apart from preventing bad odour, sweet/pleasant fragrance must be ensured. Educating passengers and ensuring their participation in the cleanliness drive is essential.

Moreover, awards for station cleanliness, friendly attitude to commuters and penalising passengers for littering should be initiated, the survey said. Paul K J Manvattom, president, Railway Users’ Association said the suggestion should be implemented soon. “Destroying plastic bottles thrown away by passengers will help to reduce plastic waste. Besides, it will save the environment,” he said.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2016/nov/29/railways-considering-bottle-pulverisers-to-check-plastic-at-stations-1543697.html

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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IRCTC’s Rail Neer now India’s most trusted packaged drinking water brand.

 Rail Neer, a signature product of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), was given the award for ‘India’s Most Trusted Brand for 2016’ in the packaged drinking water segment by IBC Infomedia Privated Limited, a leading business management consultant.
IBC Infomedia Private Limited is an Indian company with its parent organisation International Brand Consulting Corporation (IBCC), a prominent business management consultant, based in the US.
At present, IRCTC has six operational Rail Neer plants located at Danapur (Bihar), Nangloi (Delhi), Palur (Tamil Nadu), Ambernath (Maharashtra), Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) and Parassala (Kerala). Two of these plants at Amethi and Parassala are under the PPP mode. Two more plants at Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra) are expected to be commissioned in 2016-17.
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HOW WELL IS ‘INDIA’S MOST TRUSTED BRAND’ DOING?
Rail Neer generated an income of Rs 118.48 crore during 2015-16 as against Rs 81.03 crore in 2014-15, registering a growth of 46.2 percent. Overall, it accounted for eight per cent of the total income of Rs 1,506 crore registered by IRCTC during 2015-16.
The total production of Rail Neer plants was 14.40 crore bottles during 2015-16 as against 11.95 crores bottles in the previous year.

Supreme Court of India in its judgment dated August 11 2016, permitted exclusive sale of “Rail Neer” packaged drinking water in all its mandatory stations. It will enable IRCTC to set up more and more Rail Neer plants across the country.
IRCTC’S CHILD LINE 1098 INITIATIVE
On the request of Ministry of Women and Child Development, IRCTC has started printing advertisement pertaining to “Child Line 1098” to help the distressed children.
On popular demand of Mumbai Suburban passengers, IRCTC will be starting production of 500 ml bottles very shortly at its Rail Neer Plant, Ambernath.
IRCTC has taken initiative to provide pure, chilled and clean water to the railway passengers across the country by installing Water Vending Machines as announced during the budget speech for the year 2014-15 by Minister for Railways. As a result of which approximately 3,500 nos. of machines will be installed spread over A-1, A, B and C category stations. As of now, roughly 700 water vending machiness have been installed over these stations covering almost 60 percent A-1 category railway stations.
IRCTC has also tied up with NABARD and Ministry of Women and Child Development to install huge number of water vending machines over D, E and F category stations by involving Self Help Groups (SHGs).

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/rail-neer-irctc-india-most-trusted-packaged-drinking-water-brand/1/789226.html

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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IRCTC registers 32% growth

Riding on a robust performance of all its verticals, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) achieved a turnover of Rs. 1,506 crore in 2015-16 as compared to Rs.1,141 crore in 2014-15, registering a growth of 32 per cent.

The Railways PSU’s net profit was pegged at Rs. 189 crore during FY16 as against Rs. 131 crore a year earlier.

The net worth of IRCTC during the fiscal was Rs. 542.07 crore while it was Rs. 444.25 crore in the previous financial year, as per the 17th Annual Report (2015-16) which was presented at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held recently.

The profit before tax was Rs. 308.6 crore as compared to Rs. 214 crore in 2014-15 while profit after tax (PAT) was Rs. 188.63 crore against Rs. 130.63 crore in the previous year, both registering a growth of 44 per cent, a release said.

The operating margin was Rs. 329.32 crore in FY 2015-16 and Rs. 235.45 crore in the previous year.

Further, IRCTC paid a dividend of Rs. 75.45 crore in 2015-16 as compared to Rs. 26.13 crore in the previous year.

The company, which has forayed into hospitality and outbound tourism in a big way, earned foreign exchange worth Rs. 35.23 crore in 2015-16 as compared to Rs. 21.89 crore in the preceding year.

With regard to the segment-wise distribution of IRCTC’s income, internet ticketing accounted for 43 per cent, followed by tourism (26 per cent), departmental catering (18 per cent), Rail Neer or packaged drinking water (8 per cent) and licensee catering (5 per cent).

Expressing satisfaction over the functioning of all the verticals of IRCTC, its Chairman and Managing Director AK Manocha, said, “The company witnessed sustained growth and high performance during FY 2015-16.”

The CMD noted that the company made it to the prestigious Fortune India Next 500 list of Indian companies for the second year in a row, improving its ranking to 199 from 328 in 2015.

“If the company continues with its present pace of performance, it would be a part of Fortune India 500 list of companies in the next two years,” he said.

The Rail Neer segment generated for the company an income of Rs. 118.48 crore as against Rs. 81.03 crore in 2014-15, registering a growth of 46 per cent.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/logistics/irctc-registers-32-growth/article9174459.ece

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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IRCTC changes tracks to take on travel portals like Cleartrip, Yatra & Make my trip.

IRCTC, railway ticket booking platform, is partnering with internet-led companies such as Paytm, BlaBlaCars and Amazon to expand its footprints beyond railway travel and enter air ticketing, hotel bookings, e-commerce, and ride-sharing business.

A K Manocha, chairman and managing director of IRCTC said he wants IRCTC to become an online travel aggregator offering a host of services.

On the e-commerce front, IRCTC’s contract with Amazon ended in June and it has invited fresh bids for its e-tailing sector. Official at IRCTC confirmed that it is in talks with Flipkart and Snapdeal for the e-commerce business.

IRCTC has also tied-up with Paytm for sale of its unreserved ticket, Manocha said. If the consumer makes the transaction via Paytm he will be able to redeem the service charge with payback points offered by Paytm. “This will be cheaper as well as convenient for public than going to the booking counter,” he added. IRCTC targets sales of about 15-20 million unreserved tickets via the Paytm platform.

In June 2015, the ticket booking platform had tied up with BlaBlaCar to offer ride sharing to its travellers.

Raghav Gupta, India country manager at BlaBlaCar said, “We have an advertising tie-up with IRCTC on their website. If a person needs to travel from city A to city B, with train options they will also see the option of BlaBlaCar.”
This ensures visibility across 4.25 crore registered users of IRCTC across India.

The contract is reviewed every six months and currently the discussion with IRCTC is underway. Gupta shared that IRCTC contributed a significant portion to the total number of rides booked and it pays a fixed fee for banner display on the website. Manocha said that IRCTC is building a cloud for cab pooling and a database for all the users.

Big data analytics will be used in a commercial way to provide for better services, this will also facilitate the removal of the current limit on bookings done through an ID.

IRCTC has recently also signed a memorandum of understanding with SBI to work out a detailed plan for promotion of rail ticketing activities, including internet ticketing and unreserved ticketing system.

Given the scale and the user base of IRCTC it has an edge over travel portal such as Cleartrip, Yatra, and Makemytrip, among others. Also IRCTC’s reach in Tier II and Tier III cities can help the e-commerce companies garner larger traction from such areas. After e-tailing, travel and hospitality was holding the largest share of funding in the first half of 2016 with 21%.

In April, Oyo Rooms’ mopped up $100 million from Greenoaks Capital and Softbank being the only $100 million+ deal in the internet sector in the April-June quarter, according to a report by Jefferies India. Other deals in the travel segment in 2016 include $250 million raised by Ibibo Group, $17 million by Treebo Hotel, $14 million by Stayzilla.com and $8 million by FabHotels.

IRCTC changes tracks to take on travel portals like Cleartrip, Yatra & Makemytrip

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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IRCTC’s Food-on-Track app ties up with MobiKwik for e-cash payments

MobiKwik, the largest mobile payments company in India with over 32 million users and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), announced an exclusive partnership, wherein MobiKwik will power e-cash payments on IRCTC’s e-catering app, Food on Track. The app allows passengers to book and get food from their preferred restaurants, delivered right at their train coaches. MobiKwik is also powering payments for IRCTC Connect, which allows users to book train tickets instantly.

Speaking of the tie-up, Mrinal Sinha, COO, MobiKwik, said, “Last year, MobiKwik became the primary wallet on IRCTC Connect, and this year, we are taking our partnership a step further by offering a robust e-cash payments option on IRCTC’s e-catering app. Our partnership will greatly benefit users, as they don’t have to worry about paying in cash or search for change, given that trains halt at platforms only for a few seconds or minutes.”

Transacting with MobiKwik wallet on the move is fast and convenient. Users can pay through MobiKwik even in areas with spotty or patchy mobile connection as it is the lightest mobile wallet app in the country. Passengers can pre-order food at over 300+ stations from prominent food chains such as Dominos, Punjab Grill, KFC, IRCTC Food Plaza and others.

“MobiKwik has been chosen as the preferred wallet by IRCTC, as apart from other modes of loading money in the wallet, we also have enabled cash loading through cash pick up in select cities and cash deposit at over 100000 locations across 1000 cities in India. This is especially helpful for those who do not have access to net-banking, credit and debit cards or aren’t comfortable using the same.” Mrinal added.

Users can see all cash loading locations in the ‘nearby’ feature on the MobiKwik app. The cash pick-up service of MobiKwik is available in New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Jaipur and Surat. The service recently completed 1 million transactions. Users will also get 15% cashback on purchases through the MobiKwik wallet on the IRCTC e-catering app.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the Indian Railways.

 

http://www.indiainfoline.com/article/news-business/irctcs-food-on-track-app-ties-up-with-mobikwik-for-e-cash-payments-116080100172_1.html

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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IRCTC to introduce ready to eat food

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the food catering arm of the Indian Railways, will now start serving ready-to-eat meals as an option for those travelling on the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, along with other trains where it is responsible for catering services.

The range of foods initially would include Girnar tea at Rs.15, served exclusively in Indigo flights at present, and ready to eat rajma-rice, dal-rice, biryani and zeera rice at a nominal price of Rs.40-45 along with other varieties of food in the coming days. The move has come following regular complaints related to food quality by passengers.

Developed by Defence Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO) food laboratory in Mysore—Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL)—these ready-to-eat meals will have a shelf life of six months and passengers would have the option to take them home if they would not like to eat on board. The facility will be introduced by IRCTC in trains from July.

IRCTC chairman and managing director A.K. Manocha said railway minister Suresh Prabhu had been constantly stressing the need to improved catering services in the Indian Railways and this is just one step in that direction.

With this move, IRCTC plans to enter the food processing market in India. The transfer of technology would be done in the coming months. Manocha said, “We have resources in states like Ahmedabad and Mumbai, so those would be preferred areas and the modalities are still being worked out for manufacturing units.”

Apart from it, to improve the catering services in trains, IRCTC has collaborated with the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition to revamp kitchen and catering services in Indian trains.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/OVig1KtmPrMxvGSkcgLKnK/IRCTC-to-introduce-ready-to-eat-food.html

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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