Piyush Goyal wants to put Indian Railways on fast track with private sector help

Source:  Livemint.com, Jan 12, 2020

INDORE : Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday referred to the famous ‘railgaadi’ song of actor Ashok Kumar while stressing the need for support of the private sector to accelerate development of the railways.

Piyush Goyal also announced that a special train will soon operate from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi. (PTI)

He dismissed speculations of privatisation of the railway network, but highlighted the need for a public-private partnership funding model for the sector.

“Some trains are still chugging (moving slowly) like actor Ashok Kumar’s ‘railgaadi’ song (due to lack of infrastructure),” Goyal told reporters here, referring to the song from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1968 film “Aashirwad”.

The film is remembered for the rap-like “railgaadi’ song performed by legendary actor late Ashok Kumar.

“We want to end the era of slow moving trains by making way for the fast speed-driven MEMU and electric trains, like the trains being run in suburban Mumbai (with the help of private sector),” he said while advocating for reforms in the railways.

Asked about the opposition to private investments, Goyal said, “The common public is not opposing it. You might be noticing the noise elsewhere. In fact, people are welcoming that the railway is entering a new era.”

He said the railways wants to attract an investment of ₹50 lakh crore in next 12 years to expand the facilities in passenger and goods trains through modernisation.

“This big investment is impossible through the railway and government budgets. So, the way out is to work on a public-private partnership (PPP) model,” he said.

Due to inadequate investments in railways in the past, the government machinery faced the burden, he said, adding that the demand of ticket-seekers in some trains was more than 150 per cent.

Allaying fears of privatisation of the railway network, Goyal said, “The Indian Railways is a treasure of the country and its people. This will continue and reins of the railways will remain with the government.”

Goyal also announced that a special train will soon operate from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, which is famous for the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The train will be run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, the minister said.

Before talking to reporters here, the minister offered prayers at the Mahakaleshwar Temple in neighbouring Ujjain.

A huge number of devotees from the country and abroad come tothe temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Goyal said tenders have been issued recently for the infrastructure development and revival of facilities at five railway stations in the country under the PPP model. He also said that tenders may be issued in the coming days to develop Indore and other railway stations in the country under this model.

Europe’s largest intercity bus network plans to enter Indian market

Source: Business Standard, Dec 17, 2019

Kolkata: FlixBus, largest intercity bus network in Europe, and backed by investors General Atlantic and Silver Lake, is planning to venture into India.

The company operates on the same model as cab service aggregators such as Uber or Ola.

It does not own any bus or hire drivers but facilitates operational support, like scheduling, and ticketing, among other things. The company partners regional bus operators, and offers rides across Europe and in the US. It works on the principle of dynamic pricing, through an online platform and a FlixBus app.

“We recently started our recruitment for the Indian market and the project is still in an early business development stage,” said a spokesperson of FlixBus Global over e-mail.

One of the most successful German start-ups, it was launched by Daniel Krauss, André Schwämmlein and Jochen Engert in 2013, after deregulation of the bus market in that country. FlixBus is a subsidiary of FlixMobility, which has also launched train services. The firm works with around 300 independent bus and train entities.

In 2015, FlixBus began expanding internationally, with long-distance networks in France, Italy, Denmark, Netherlands and Croatia, as well as cross-border services to Norway, Spain and Britain. It connects a little more than 2,000 destinations in 30 countries, says the company.

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India’s first inland waterways shipment to start with PepsiCo

Source: Business Standard, Oct 28, 2018

Kolkata: The country’s first container movement on inland waterways vessel post-independence scheduled on Tuesday, 30th October, from Kolkata would start with a consignment of the PepsiCo.

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) officials said the food and Beverage giant would move 16 containers from Kolkata to Varanasi on NW-1.

PepsiCo (India) will move 16 containers equivalent to 16 truckloads – filled with food and snacks in the vessel MV RN Tagore which will reach Varanasi in 9-10 days, the officials said. Read the rest of this entry »

Global logistics meet in Delhi on Sept 26

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Sept 17, 2018

Chennai: On September 26, nearly 1,000 delegates from 120 countries will congregate in Delhi to participate in the FIATA World Congress, to be hosted for the first time in India, to discuss various aspects related to logistics.

Founded in 1926, Fédération Internationale des Associations de Transitaires et Assimilés (FIATA) or International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations is a non-governmental organisation, and represents over 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms, employing around 10 million people in 150 countries.

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National Logistics Portal to help boost trade competitiveness

New Delhi: The first phase of the National Logistics Portal (NLP) — a digital platform to bring all stakeholders in the logistics sector on board to cut down transaction cost and time for businesses — is likely to be implemented by March, a government official said.

“The Department of Commerce, which is designing the portal, has already received an approval of the ‘proof of concept’ from a Committee of Secretaries and is now working on the detailed project report,” a government official associated with the project told BusinessLine.

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Govt plans to introduce direct delivery scheme at inland container depots

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jun 24, 2018

Mumbai: Buoyed by the success of the direct port delivery (DPD) scheme introduced at seaports, the Government proposes to implement a similar concept at inland container depots (ICDs) or dry ports to cut time and costs for cargo imported in containers.

Under DPD, import containers are delivered directly to pre-approved clients at the port instead of waiting at a container freight station (CFS) located outside for clearance, which reduces cargo dwell time and costs for shippers. DPD was first implemented in the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, India’s biggest container gateway, and later extended to all the gateway ports, including Chennai Port and privately-run Mundra port.

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E-way bill: Transporters can now use common enrolment number across multiple States

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jun 20, 2018

New Delhi: To help the logistics industry comply with e-way bill requirements with ease, the Finance Ministry has announced new rules for transporters running businesses in multiple States.

The Central Goods and Services Tax (Sixth Amendment) Rules, 2018, which came into effect on June 19, prescribes: “A transporter who is registered in more than one State or Union Territory having the same Permanent Account Number, may apply for a unique common enrolment number by submitting the details in FORM GST ENR-02 using any one of his Goods and Services Tax Identification Numbers, and upon validation of the details furnished, a unique common enrolment number shall be generated and communicated to the said transporter.”

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