Indian Railways Launches Four Services/Initiatives To Ensure Passenger Comfort and to Strengthen Its System
Indian Railways E-Catering Service extended from existing 45 Major Stations to 408 Designated Stations
E-Ticketing For Accredited Journalist On Concessional Passes launched
We Have To Meet Passengers Needs : Suresh Prabhu
E-Governance Will Bring Impartiality In The Functioning Of Indian Railways : Manoj Sinha
In line with PM’s ‘Digital India’ programme, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu in a programme held today i.e. 15.03.2016 at Rail Bhawan, New Delhi inaugurated Four services / initiatives namely
(1) Extension of e-Catering services from existing 45 large Railway stations to all 408 A-1 and ‘A’ class Railway Stations
(II) Launch of E-ticket booking facility foraccredited Journalists on concessional Passes
(III) Traffic Rationalization – Policy permitting 2-point loading in BCN wagons and increasing scope of mini-rake facility from 400 km to 600 km in both BCN and BCNHL wagons and
(IV) Commencement of Pilot Study on introduction of Accrual Accounting and Upgraded costing system at Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala (A production unit of M/o Railways).
These come as implementation of Railway Budget Announcement. Shri Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railway was specially present to grace the occasion. On behalf of the Indian Railways, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A.K. Mittal, Member Traffic, Railway Board, Shri Mohd. Jamshed, and other Board Members were present on the occasion.
Speaking on this occasion, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that the way in which Indian Railways is launching various passenger services, 90 per cent of Members of Parliament have thanked Railways for bringing new culture in the Railways. He said that every passenger service is backed by well-planning and lots of efforts. Under the extending scheme of E-Catering, travelling passengers would be able to order food of their choice from leading private caterers at designated 408 major railway stations. He said that this scheme will include food prepared by women at home which will also lead to women empowerment. Speaking on E-Ticketing Service to accredited journalist, the Minister said that this was a long-standing demand of the journalists to allow the process of online booking ticket through concessional passes which has now been fulfilled. He said that duty of a journalist demand lot of travelling and thus their demand was acceded to by the Ministry.Further, mentioning the salient features of the another initiatives of Commencement of Pilot Study on introduction of Accrual Accounting & Upgraded costing system at Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Shri Suresh Prabhu said that Indian Railways holds a huge assets which requires proper monitoring. He said that Railways want to orient and integrate cost and management system. He said that incurring expenditure is nothing. But more important is to get desired outcome for incurred expenditure. He said that 7 zones have already implemented this kind of scheme thereby making expenditure accountable to outcome which is the sole objective to introduce this scheme. Regarding freight rationalization, Shri Suresh Prabhu said that it is an ongoing process and we will continue to do so as freight is main revenue resource for Railways. We will be very market friendly, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Railways said that Indian Railways is now working on a different leak and bringing new culture in the Indian trains through E-Governance and Digital India Initiatives. He said that these services will ease and benefit the railway passengers.
Salient Features of the Services :-
Extension of E-CATERING Service
- Initially, e-catering service was train specific and made available in 1350 trains which did not have services of Pantry car or Train Side Vending.
- As a major initiative during September 2015, this scheme has been reoriented to make it‘Station Based E-Catering’ in place of train specific e-catering.
- In the first phase, a pilot project is undertaken on 45 major stations
- Passengers travelling from these stations are now able to access E-Catering facilities for all trains passing through these stations.
- IRCTC is facilitating booking of meals through a specified phone number/ website / SMS / Mobile Apps etc. Passengers having mobile number are able to book meals under this scheme. CoD facility to passengers under this scheme has also been made available
- A Mobile App along with four digit (1323) all India Toll Free number has also been launched by IRCTC.
- All caps of Menu items and tariffs have been removed for E-Catering services as it is for the passenger to decide what they wish to eat at the price they wish to pay. However, IRCTC is to charge 12% as commission on the food costs from the vendors/aggregators.
- Expression of Interest (EOI) has already been floated by IRCTC separately for vendors and Food Aggregators to ensure participation of experienced professionals, reputed chains / brands as well as reputed food aggregators for empanelment/shortlisting.
- Empanelment of some women Self Help Groups (SHGs) as vendors in E-catering is also under process.
- A major revamp of E-Catering services in September 2015 also permitted Food Aggregators to join the E-Catering initiative.
- Foodpanda, one of the global leaders in online food delivery, has already been empanelled with IRCTC and started its operation at New Delhi Station. This has enabled passengers to order meals from a variety of options.
- There are several players in the food aggregation and delivery system operating on IR. Many of them have already applied to IRCTC for empanelment as Food Aggregators for E-Catering services and some of them have already empanelled.
- Integration of systems of booking meals through e-catering with the reputed aggregators like Travelkhana, Food Mera Choice etc. is underway. This would expand the reach of Railway passengers to e-catering and ensure no leakage of information and revenue to IRCTC/Railways.
- IRCTC has launched efforts to empanel additional major food chains/aggregator in the country and it is expected that most of the major brands will be available shortly. BTW, Haldirams, Domino’s, KFC etc. have already started their services
- IRCTC has launched a massive E-Campaign for encouraging passengers to use these services when they book their ticket through its website.
- Emails are sent on daily basis to lakhs of passengers to book their meals through E-Catering services.
- IRCTC is also extending its Call Centers and upgrading its IT infrastructure to book meals services through E-Catering users.
- Substantial increase in E-Catering services in the next few months is expected due to expansion of e-catering service on all ‘A-1’ & ‘A’ category of stations which is being introduced.
Launch of E-ticket booking facility for accredited Journalists on concessional Passes.
As promised in Railway Budget 2016-17, Indian Railways proudly announce the launch of e-booking service for journalist to reserve tickets on the concessional passes available to them.
Till now the facility for journalist to book the ticket on concessional passes was available only on the PRS counters. With this launch the facility has been extended to book ticket over internet using the Indian Railway’s E-ticketing System www.irctc.co.in.
Using this service, journalist can easily book the ticket over internet and can avoid the problem of standing in long queues in PRS counters. To avail the benefits of this feature the journalist has to use his/her registered id card number issued by Indian Railways (as is done for PRS counter booking) to book the ticket for oneself, or for spouse, children or companion.
Following is the process flow for performing the Journalist e-booking
Step 1- Selection of “Book in special concession” option
Information about the documents that are required to be carried while performing the journey will be displayed.
Step 2 – Plan your Journey
Step 3 – Provide Passenger Detail
Step 4 – Make Payment
Step 5 – Directed to Bank Site
Step 6 – Journalist Ticket Confirmation
Step 7 – Booked Ticket – ERS
Step 8 – Booked Ticket – SMS
POLICY INITIATIVES FOR PERMITTING LOADING OF COVERED RAKES FOR TWO POINT/MULTI POINT & MINI RAKES IN BOTH BCN & BCNHL RAKES AND INCREASING THE DISTANCE LIMIT FOR LOADING MINI RAKES UPTO 600 Km.
Covered stock is utilized predominantly for loading of Cement, Foodgrain & Fertilizer. In addition, essential commodities like Salt, sugar, edible oil etc are also loaded in the covered rakes.
While foodgrain & Fertilizer utilize the transport products like two point combinations and Mini rakes in a limited way, these transport products have particularly been helpful to Cement Sector as dependence of cement industry over Logistics is very high. Logistic cost comprises about 20% of the total cost of cement production.
Railways has been witnessing continuous erosion of its share in cement dispatch. Rail share has come down from over 40% in the beginning of the FY 2015-16 to around 37.8% in January 2016. Cement sector is particularly sensitive to Freight and “Parcel Size”.
Measure to help the sectors (mainly cement & Fertilizer) in dispatching reduced “Parcel Size” to smaller markets: Allowing loading for Two point combination destinations in BCN rakes in addition to BCNHL rakes means permitting 1260 Tonnes of Parcel size to reach a market as compared to over 1900 Tonnes of the Parcel size. The measures like introducing Mini Rake, Two point/ Multi Point combinations in both BCN and BCNHL rakes will provide much needed support to cement sector and at the same time, help Railways in also in ensuring that its share does not deplete any further.
These measures are likely to help Railways in garnering additional 5 Million Tonnes of traffic, including about 3 Million Tonnes of Cement traffic.
Measure to increase the catchment area for smaller markets: Demand for increasing the distance limit from 400 Km to 600 Km in case of Mini Rakes has been there from Cement sector. Allowing this increase, will help cement clusters in reaching out to larger catchment areas. Thus, additional 0.5 Million Tonnes of traffic would get loaded on this account.
Railways have been receiving representations from CEMENT & FERTILIZER SECTORS in this regard. CEMENT MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION (CMA) has been raising the sectors concern with Railways. These issues were also brought out by both Fertilizer & cement sectors in their last interaction with Railways on 07.01.2016 and 08.01.2016 respectively.
Therefore, Railways are expecting to get additional traffic of about 5.5 to 6 Million Tonnes by initiating these steps in the coming FY, primarily from Cement, Foodgrain & Fertilizer sectors apart from essential commodities like Salt and Sugar.
Inauguration of Pilot Study on Accrual Accounting and Upgraded Costing System and Accounting Reform Incubator at Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala
- Established in 1986, Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala is one of the modern coach manufacturing units of Indian Railways. Under the Accounting Reforms Project, Indian Railways has already embarked upon a Pilot study on introduction of Accrual Accounting in a Division, Workshop and Zonal Headquarter of North Western Railway, Jaipur.
- Continuing the momentum, now, a Pilot study is being initiated at Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala for introduction of Accrual Accounting and state of the art Costing system. We have gathered together for the inauguration of the Pilot Study and the first Accounting Reform incubator at RCF Kapurthala by Minister for Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu.
- The system of Accrual Accounting is purported to improve the quality of reporting of the financials of the Production Unit significantly by ensuring compliance with the tenets of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Accounting pronouncements made by the Government Accounting Standards Advisory Board.
- With the introduction of Accrual Accounting, the best practices followed in the rail industry will find a manifestation in the Annual Financial Statements of the Production Unit like, statement of financial position, statement of income and expenditure and statement of cash flow accompanied by disclosure of significant accounting policies and notes to accounts.
- The proposed Pilot Study is slated to review the vital functional aspects of the Cost Accounting System in vogue with the aim to upgrade the same in line with the Budget announcement made by the Minister of Railways in budget speech 2015-16. The upgraded Costing system will ensure online availability of costing data in key performance areas which will enable Cost centre wise Performance Costing and Responsibility Accounting.
- The new state of the art costing system will be IT driven and will use modern management accounting tools to identify areas for cost reduction and will, in the ultimate analysis ensure optimal utilization of scarce resources. The new integrated Costing framework will also serve as a platform for tracking of expenditure to desired outcomes.
Implementation of the pilot study will be done by the Project Nodal Officer of RCF Kapurthala in association with the Accounting Research Foundation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. The overall supervision of the Project will rest with the Accounting Reforms Directorate of Railway Board.