Railway regulator details soon coming online for comments

Railway Budget 2014
Details of a proposed railway regulatory authority will soon be put online to seek the views of stakeholders, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday.

“We are working on the regulatory authority and soon we will put it online,” he said while inaugurating an international rail conference here organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Indian Railways.

The establishment of a railway regulator with powers of tariff regulation was among the recommendations of the committee headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy.

It had suggested the setting up of a regulator independent of the ministry, with a separate budget.

“The Railway Regulatory Authority of India (RRAI) will have the powers and objectives of economic regulation, including wherever necessary tariff regulation, safety regulation, pair access regulation, service standard regulation, licensing and enhancing compensation and setting technical standards,” it said.

Prabhu said his ministry was determined to break the vicious cycle of low investment and low quality of services, which has enveloped the Indian Railways owing to inadequate attention being given to the vital sector.

“We will usher in a new eco-system which is vibrant, revenue generating, technology friendly so that our dependence on budgetary allocation is reduced,” he said.

Japan is the partner country for international railway equipment exhibition 2015, that is being attended by 400 exhibitors from 20 countries, including the US, Britain, China and Germany.

Prabhu referred to the excellent response he received from the Japanese government and the private sector there when he visited the country in September.

“The Japanese are excited not only about the high speed train segment alone. The new framework of technology agreement envisages a whole spectrum of partnership in various rail related segments like manufacture of electrical locomotives and sharing of cutting edge technologies,” he said.

Speaking at the inauguration, Japan’s Minister of State of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Junzo Yamamoto expressed the hope that Japan would be a major player in India’s transformation towards high-speed or bullet trains and explained how the far-flung areas in Japan have become economically active with the induction of bullet trains.

“India also can derive these benefits upon transforming into the high speed saga,” Yamamoto said.

IANS