The Minister of Railways Mr. Suresh Prabhu has proposed to transform Indian Railways through 7 Mission Mode activities – Avataran, in his Railway Budget 2016-17. Let’s understand these activities in brief!


Mission 25 Tonne

  • Aims to increase revenue by augmenting carrying capacity
  • To achieve this 10-20% freight loading will be done through 25-tonne axle-load wagons in 2016-17 and target movement of 70% of freight traffic on high axle load wagons by FY19-20.

Mission Zero Accident: It comprises of 2 sub-missions

  • Elimination of unmanned level crossings: The goal is eliminate all unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge in the next 3-4 years through innovative financing mechanisms.
  • It will reduce deaths due to accidents and improve throughput of the network
  • TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System): An indigenous technology has been developed to equip 100% of the High Density Network with TCAS in the next 3 years
  • This will prevent head on collisions and improve throughput by increasing average sectional speeds

Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency)

  • Aims to improve our procurement and consumption practices to improve the quality of goods and services
  • It will introduce a culture of optimum usage by adopting practices such as Vendor Managed Inventory, direct procurement of High Speed Diesel (HSD), new procedures for identification and disposal of scrap
  • Comprehensive review of procurement and consumption of HSD will lead to saving more than Rs 1,500 crore in 2016-17

Mission Raftaar

  • It targets doubling of average speeds of freights trains and increasing the average speed of superfast mail/express trains by 25 kmph in the next 5 years
  • Loco hauled passenger trains will be replaced by Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains over the next five years. It will complement Mission 25 Tonne to increase throughput of the railway system


Mission 100

Mission beyond Book-keeping

  • It will establish an accounting system where outcomes can be tracked to inputs
  • This will transform Indian Railways as right accounting would determine right costing and hence right pricing and right outcomes

Mission Capacity Utilisation

It proposes to prepare a blueprint for making full use of the huge new capacity that will be created through 2 Dedicated Freight Corridors between Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata scheduled to be commissioned by 2019

Shri Prabhu said that each of the Missions will be headed by a Mission Director reporting directly to the Chairman, Railway Board for a timely targeted delivery. Each Mission will have annual outcome based performance targets.


Source - Ministry of Railways | Pic - Indian Railways Budget


Any doubts?

Derailments rise but safety reports gather dust- II

  1. Source: The Standing Committee on Railways’ recent report ‘Safety and Security in Railways’
  2. Failure: The report said that the Railways has failed in maintaining safety standards of the rail tracks
  3. Track: Track forms the backbone of the rail transportation system and therefore, needs to be maintained in a safe and fit condition
  4. However, in the instant case there seems to be total failure in regard to maintaining the safety standards of their tracks
  5. It said that ideally 4,500 kilometres of the rail tracks should have been renewed annually out of the total track length of 1,14,907 kms
  6. However, out of 5,000 km track length due for renewal at present, only 2,700 km track was targeted to be renewed by the Railways
  7. Human error unchecked: The Standing Committee also criticised the Railways for failing to address the human error involved in rail accidents
  8. Around 70 % of the rail accidents in 2015-16 occurred due to the fault of railway staff such as poor maintenance, non-adherence to safety rules and adopting short-cuts, according to official reports
  9. Conclusion of the report: Looking at the huge number of rail accidents due to lapse of the railway staff, the Committee derive that the (Railway) Ministry have failed to assess the root cause of continuous and possibly repeated lapses by railway staff and therefore have failed completely to curb such accidents

Derailments rise but safety reports gather dust- I

  1. What? The Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) is yet to submit the preliminary finding report of the Patna-bound Indore-Rajendranagar Express derailment that took place in November in which at least 146 people lost their lives
  2. Why? It hasn’t submitted its report yet as the sabotage angle is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA)
  3. Larger issue: The delay in submitting the report assumes significance as yet another derailment of the Hirakhand Express in Andhra Pradesh has claimed the lives of 39 persons with over 50 injured
  4. The Railways was recently rapped by a Parliamentary panel for failing to establish the causes behind rising derailment cases this year
  5. Stats: According to a Railway Board official, there were 68 derailments till December 2016, compared to 65 in the previous year — a six-year high
  6. Causes: Derailments happen due to fault in either railway tracks or the rolling stock

Note4students: Note this issue for mains. Know about CRS from prelims PoV.


The Commission of Railway Safety:

  1. It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India
  2. It deals with matters pertaining to safety of rail travel and train operation
  3. It is charged with certain statutory functions as laid down in the Railways Act (1989), which are of an inspectorial, investigatory & advisory nature.
  4. The Commission functions according to certain rules viz. Statutory investigation into accidents rules framed under the Railways Act and executive instructions issued from time to time

Railways tunes in to revenues with music, films

  1. Non-fare revenues: Railway Minister unveiled the Railways’ first non-fare revenue policy, out-of-home advertising policy, train branding policy, content-on-demand and rail radio policy along with an ATM policy
  2. The railways will put up ATMs on platforms in stations, offer music and movies in trains and ‘brand’ trains to boost advertising revenue, opening up new revenue streams
  3. Background: Railway Minister had said in his Railway Budget 2016-17 speech that Railways earned less than 5% of revenues from non-tariff sources
  4. In Japan, 25-30 per cent of revenue comes from non-fare sources
    We aim to reach that level in seven to eight years and it will be a new revenue stream for the Railways


A good solution to tackle revenue crunch in railways. Note it down for mains.

[pib] Adarsh Station Scheme of Indian Railways – Updates

  1. Development/modernization of stations is presently taken up under ‘Adarsh Station Scheme’.
  2. The expenditure on development of stations under ‘Adarsh’ Station Scheme is generally funded under Plan Head –‘Passenger Amenities’.
  3. ‘Adarsh’ stations will have facilities such as toilets, drinking water, catering services and waiting rooms
  4. Note: There are many Adarsh yojnas which aim to achieve an idealistic state of affairs wrt. some existing infrastructure – Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY), Adarsh Smarak Yojnas etc.

[pib] Yatri Mitra Sewa at Railway Stations. What’s that?

  1. Yatri Mitra Sewa is being provided at major railway stations for enabling passengers viz. differently-abled, ailing and old aged persons to book wheel chair services cum porter services.
  2. Responsibility of providing Yatri Mitra Sewa has been entrusted to Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)
  3. Note: Don’t need to mug up all these schemes but make a mnemonic to link them up in your head. Yatri Mitra Sewa might be confused with some friendly passenger scheme but its not!

Coming soon: Smarter railway stations

  1. More than 500 railway stations in the country will ‘smarten up’ with better passenger amenities, easy access and integrated public transport hubs
  2. An MoU was signed between the Urban Development Ministry and the Railways
  3. The MoU will help redevelop railway stations and surrounding areas under the Smart City plan
  4. Initially 100 railway stations and an adjoining area of 300-800 acres would be redeveloped in the Smart Cities and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Cities plans

Types of trains introduced

  1. Antyodaya Express: A long-distance, fully unreserved, super-fast train service, to be introduced for the common man, will operate on dense routes
  2. Deen Dayalu Coaches: To be added to some long-distance trains for unreserved travel to enhance the carrying capacity
  3. Humsafar: A fully third AC train
  4. Tejas: Will run at 130 km an hour with local cuisine, Wi-Fi and other amenities on board
  5. UDAY: (Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri) will be overnight trains plying on the busiest routes to increase capacity by 40%

Suresh Prabhu announces four new trains

  1. News: Railway Ministry announced four new categories of trains, one for unreserved passengers and three for reserved ones, which will be operational in the next couple of months
  2. Why? The reason behind starting new train for unreserved passengers is to ensure that those belonging to the Antodya class (very poor people) can also travel by train
  3. It is in an attempt to enhance railway services across the country

What is Maglev?

  1. Maglev is a transport method that uses magnetic levitation to move vehicles without touching the ground
  2. A maglev train floats above the tracks on a cushion of magnetic field
  3. A vehicle can travel along a guideway using magnets to create both lift and propulsion, thereby reducing friction by a great extent and allowing high speeds
  4. Magnets on the track push and lift the train up in the air by about 1 inch to 6 inches
  5. These track magnets are controlled by a computers which keep shifting forward the magnetic force of the track magnets so that the vehicle is pulled forward

Indian Railways to run magnetic trains soon

  1. News: Trains that can travel 500 km an hour may soon become a reality in India, as the Indian Railways is mulling options to run trains on magnetic tracks
  2. Ministry of Railways has floated a tender to explore opportunities of maglev trains in India, which can hit 500 kmph

Railway Budget to be merged with General Budget from 2017

  1. News: Finance Ministry accepted Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge Railway Budget with the General Budget ending the 92 year old practice
  2. Finance Ministry has constituted a committee to work out the modalities for the merger & the report is expected by August 31
  3. Impact: If the merger happens, Indian Railway will get rid of the annual dividend it has to pay for gross budgetary support from the Govt every year
  4. With the merger, the issue of raising passenger fares, an unpopular decision, will be the Finance Minister’s call

    Analysis: Genesis of this news starts from the recommendations given by Bibek Debroy. He was of the opinion to merge RB with UB for the simple reason that government ends up spending more money on RB as it is separate.

Recovery of rail freight stalled

  1. News: The recovery of over Rs 29,000 crore by the Railways from freight-evading iron ore exporters is struggling
  2. Issue: The key investigators who exposed the scandal in the South Eastern Railways have all dispersed from the task, the latest being the principal investigation officer
  3. Rail Budget: Railways abolished the dual freight policy in iron ore transportation, 8 years after it was implemented
  4. Background: A CAG audit report estimated during the global iron-ore boom during 2008-13, Railways lost over Rs 29,000 crore from the exporters
  5. The exporters transported iron ore meant for export on the same freight charges as that of domestic consumption movements
  6. The exporters were supposed to transport iron ore at a rate of 4-5 times than that of domestic consumption movements, under dual freight policy

Railways to stop footing bill on passenger travel concessions

  1. Indian Railways provides more than 50 concessions as a part of social service obligation, incurring huge losses every year
  2. The concessions include those for senior citizens, differently-abled and patients
  3. Railway Ministry: The financial burden should be borne by the ministries concerned such as social justice for senior citizens, home affairs for freedom fighters and so on
  4. The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry already pays the full ticket fares for Members of Parliament travelling on railway concession passes

Surat cleanest railway station; Varanasi among the dirtiest: survey

  1. Context: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation survey on cleanliness status at major railway stations
  2. News: Surat is the cleanest railway station in the country, followed by Rajkot and Bilaspur
  3. The survey was conducted at 407 railway stations, which included 75 A-1 stations and 332 A-category stations
  4. Future: To make the entire rail network clean, including stations, tracks and other railway premises

IT Enabled Applications For Transparency in Indian Railways

  1. Context: Railways have introduced several IT enabled applications to bring transparency on the sidelines of Digital India initiative.
  2. Computerised Passenger Reservation System: helps in computerised booking of reserved accommodation on trains in a transparent manner
  3. Computerised Unreserved Ticketing System: For issuing unreserved tickets across counters. Mobile application for unreserved ticketing has also been launched in suburban sections
  4. Computerised booking of Railway Retiring Rooms: Passengers can book retiring rooms online

Financial reforms for railways

  1. Context: Rail ministry is on a drive to reform financially struggling railways through a range of initiatives
  2. Step: Importing crude oil and procuring refining capacity from oil marketing companies on lease
  3. Benefit: Cost optimisation & reduce diesel inventories by a third to a mere 5 days
  4. Other steps: Raise additional revenue by focusing on export of rolling stock, expanding the freight basket and monetising its vast data bank

Railways to use drones to monitor projects

  1. News: Railway budget outlines various technology-led initiatives for the improvement of railways and passenger amenities
  2. The latest drone and geo-spatial-based satellite technology for remotely reviewing the physical progress across major projects
  3. Agencies: Proposal to set up a R&D organisation for developing strategic technology and bringing in holistic advancement
  4. Research Design and Standards Organisation: It will now focus only on day-to-day issues
  5. SRESTHA: Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement would drive long-term research

Bullet Trains can wait, says Sreedharan

  1. Context: E Sreedharan’s comment on Indian railway’s plan to start bullet trains in the country
  2. Reason: India needs huge infusion of funds to improve and upgrade the present railway infrastructure
  3. Focus: Priority should be given to increasing the speed, increasing the line capacity, giving more facilities and ensuring the safety of trains
  4. Sreedharan strongly advocated state running the railways, as against allowing private companies to operate railway

Learn about 5 investment models in Indian Railways

  1. Context: The govt had framed 5 models to attract private investments in railways, which are listed below.
  2. Non-government private line model
  3. Joint venture model
  4. BOT model
  5. Capacity augmentation with funding provided by customers model
  6. Capacity augmentation through annuity model

Railways to build 3 projects through build-operate-transfer model

  1. Context: As railways is  facing a resource crunch, it is focusing on raising funds through various channels, including the PPP route and forming joint ventures with the state govts.
  2. Background: The Railways has received Rs 14,000 crore worth investment commitments since 2014 after it introduced new models for projects through PPP model
  3. News: The Indian Railways has identified the first 3 projects to be taken up for development through the new build, operate, transfer (BOT) annuity model

Indian Railways to hike passenger fares

  1. The railways ministry is said to be mulling an increase of up to 10 % in passenger fares
  2. It is facing a severe financial crunch
  3. If approved, the increased rates will fetch IR an additional Rs 5,000 crore
  4. This will partially offset the impact of the Pay Commission recommendations and the cut in the Centre’s financial assistance or Gross Budgetary Support (GBS)
  5. The ministry seeking to maximise gains from the increased volumes in the peak season beginning March

Ministry signs MoU with Chhattisgarh government for railway development

  1. Context: The Union proposal for formation of JV companies between Indian Railways and state govts
  2. Recent Developments: Indian Railways signed a MoU with Chhattisgarh Government to establish a joint venture
  3. Importance: Chattisgarh needs expansion of rail network to transport its natural resources
  4. Purpose of JV: For laying tracks and expedite implementation of railway projects in the state
  5. Focus areas of JV: Project development and implementation, resource mobilisation, land acquisition and monitor the progress of critical rail projects in the state

Joint Ventures with states for rail projects

The Union cabinet has approved a proposal for formation of JV companies between Indian Railways and state governments

  1. This aims to mobilize resources for executing rail infrastructure projects in multiple states
  2. The JV exercise would ensure greater participation of states in implementation of railway projects both in terms of financial participation as well as decision-making process
  3. The move will also facilitate faster approvals including land acquisition
  4. The JV companies would be formed with equity participation of the rail ministry and the state governments
  5. Each such JV would have an initial paid-up capital of Rs 100 crore, including the rail ministry’s paid up capital of upto Rs 50 crore

400 railway stations to get airport-like facilities

  1. Rail passengers may soon get to see airport-like facilities at 400 stations across the country.
  2. The stations will have separate arrival and departure terminals, easy connectivity with local transportation.
  3. The government plans to adopt the Swiss Challenge mode to invite bids for redeveloping the stations.
  4. The railway stations will be built on ‘design, build, finance, operate and transfer’ model and the developer will meet the entire cost.

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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