The Ministry of Railways conducted a brainstorming conclave titled “Sampark, Samanvay, Samvad” to discuss and deliberate “Vision for New Railway – New India 2022”. The conclave was attended by the Minister of Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal, the Minister of State for Railways, Shri Rajen Gohain, and more than 250 senior members of Indian Railways from across the country.
The high level conclave focused on transforming Indian Railways to meet Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘New India’ by 2022. This was in continuation to previous conclave, Rail Vikas Shivir in November 2016 during the tenure of the Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Suresh Prabhu.
Today’s conclave was designed to break silos (sampark), improve co-ordination (samanvay) and find solutions (samvad) to the critical issues facing Indian Railways. Free and frank discussions were held, and all officers were encouraged to give their inputs and bring forth ground realities and potential impediments to implementation of new policies and reforms.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Piyush Goyal motivated Railway employees to think out of the box to enable game changing reforms and bring about transformational results. He emphasised on the need to gear up Railways for New India by 2022 and his vision of New Railways 2022, which would ensure speed, safety and service for consumers.
He laid out 10 principles, which have helped in delivering results earlier in making India a coal surplus nation as well as in the rapid electrification of around 18,500 villages including in the remotest corners of the country. These principles include (1) Partnership with all stakeholders, (2) Decisive leadership, (3) Outcome oriented action, (4) Root cause analysis), (5) Rule of law and transparency, (6) prioritization of issues, (7) Time bound execution and fast dispute resolution, (8) Innovative financing, (9) Technology focus, and (10) Accountability and close monitoring.
He stressed how time bound execution would lead to meeting of cost targets and improve performance. Contributing to the discussions Shri Goyal emphasised that there was no scarcity of resources for good ideas. He mentioned the need to scale up good projects avoiding the time lag and delay caused by extensive pilot programmes without any further implementation.
Guest speaker, Shri Sonam Wangchuk, renowned educationist, scientist and innovator, who was also the inspiration for the popular “Three Idiots” film, spoke to the audience about his personal story of facing challenges and innovating in the face of adversity. His advice to have simple solutions to complex problems struck a chord, and was widely appreciated. He felt that in the face of climate change, Indian Railways is a luxurious way to save the planet.
The focus of the presentations was to transform railways to serve the passengers and customers. Some of the topics covered included structural, process and cultural reforms to ensure highest standards of safety, punctuality and passenger comfort; improving the capacity and speed of trains; dynamic pricing including discounts in off-peak seasons; increasing freight modal share; and improving procurement to bring transparency, accountability and speed in order to reduce time and cost. Discussions were also held on how to boost the morale of the about 14 lakh railway employees in order to improve productivity as well improve their focus on consumers.
A digital chat room, which was open to all, allowed everyone to give suggestions, ideas and feedback on the various presentations.
The various subjects discussed in the conference included Transforming IR through Safety & Punctuality –Structural process & cultural reforms, Transforming IR through Passenger Comfort & aesthetics Structural processes & cultural reforms, strategies for increasing carrying capacity & speed of trains, Introducing dynamic pricing Premium & Discount, Increasing freight modal share, Streamlining procurement to reduce time & cost and Boosting morale & happiness of employees.