Spanning an extraordinary 68,000 route km, the Indian Railways is truly the pulse of the nation. It employs over 1.2 mn people and generates approximately Rs 2 lakh cr annually—a major contributor to jobs, GDP, and mobility. In fact, efficient and optimal use of the railways could further add up to 1% to GDP.
The robustness of passenger demand is unprecedented as it has withstood long-term modal shifts and consistently reported unserved demand levels of 15%, in the form of waitlisted passengers. The unmet demand level necessitates substantial investments in capacity augmentation and technology.
The time has come to modernise the Indian Railways, make it world-class, and a key driver of the country’s growth in the post-Covid era. The overall travel experience of the common man needs to be transformed; high-quality in-transit experience needs to be supplemented by best-in-class railway stations.
However, to undertake an operation of such gargantuan proportions, India must involve the best resources via PPP to bring in the latest technology, leading practices, and efficiencies.