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Major Initiatives as Minister for Railways

Mr. Suresh P. Prabhu is currently heading the Indian Railways, world’s third largest Rail network, transporting over 23 Million people daily and having an employee base of over 1.3 Million people. He is working on the mission of transforming India through transforming Railways aptly named as ‘Rail Badhe, Desh Badhe’

As Union Cabinet Minister for Railways, he is credited with a number of initiatives and achievements in various areas, notable of which are:

Customer Orientation

Known to be less responsive towards customers, he has changed the approach of Indian Railways towards people from “Passengers” to “Customers”

He successfully implemented, now widely acclaimed, real time customer complaint resolution mechanism through Twitter, which has given voice to the passengers of Indian Railways. Various success stories of complaints heard and resolved on war footing basis reported in media as well as social media by satisfied customers. Known to be accessible through social media, he responds in real time basis to people. Stories abound of people getting help in distress by his intervention. He has been instrumental in reuniting children with their families, protecting women from hooligans, providing medical urgency support, among others

He introduced a host of innovative customer friendly measures ranging from E-catering, water vending machines, Clean my Coach Service, ticket vending machines and significantly improved coach designs. Partnered with Google to provide high speed Wi-Fi at railway stations, which was a part of strategy to enhance travelling experience. With a target of providing Wi-Fi facility at 400 stations, Indian Railways is on way to becoming the world’s largest public Wi-Fi system. He led a major cleanliness drive Swachh Bharat, Swachh Rail to enhance cleanliness and aesthetics at trains, railway stations and tracks. First time, third party ranking of cleanliness of stations was conducted. Improved cleanliness at Railway stations and trains was widely appreciated by people and pictures of clean stations, trains are shared frequently by people on social media

 

Various specialized product offerings are on their way for passengers catering to their specific needs such as Tejas trains, Antyodya express, UDAY and Humsafar trains

Planning and Investment 

Working on a long term plan to transform Indian Railways, while solving short term issues. Effected a paradigm shift in Railways project financing by leveraging Extra Budgetary Resources including various innovative measures. It was unprecedented in IR’s history, when Extra Budgetary funding was leveraged to fuel investment growth. Negotiated a very attractive loan from Life Insurance Corporation of India for Rs 1.5 lakh Cr. For the ambitious first–of-its-kind project of High Speed Rail between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, secured a soft loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency to the tune of $12 Billion with 15 years moratorium, 50 year repayment period and 0.1% interest rate. Achieved a record of over Rs. 10,000 Cr of cost savings in 2015-16 by adopting various measures like direct sourcing of power and driving rigorous cost optimization programs. Executing his firm belief in participatory development, he led formation of Joint Ventures with States to support rail infrastructure creation 

Infrastructure Creation 

Under investment in infrastructure creation was one of the biggest bottlenecks in taking Indian Railways to the next level. He successfully led Railways to achieve a quantum jump in infrastructure creation spending and improving connectivity. The average kms of broad gauge lines commissioned was substantially increased to over 7km/day against the past six year’s average of 4.3 km/day. Achieved record performance in broad gauge line commissioning, electrification, capital investment and contracts awarded. Massive connectivity projects executed to connect difficult terrain and uncertain geology like J&K and north east. Increased annual line commissioning from an average of 100 kms to over 500 kms. Working on increasing the average speed of trains, he successfully launched India’s fastest train Gatiman Express. He is working with a vision of improving quality of connectivity by having a separate category of semi high speed rail under Mission Raftaar 

Sustainability

With his natural interest in sustainability and environment protection, he has successfully made sustainability an integral part of Indian Railways’ strategy, not an allied activity. By integrating sustainable practices with cost optimization, he has successfully made sustainability an organizational imperative. He diversified Railways’ energy consumption basket to include renewable energy sources and energy efficient equipments with a vision to source at least 25% energy use from renewable energy sources by 2020. With a production capacity of over 1000 MW, his vision is to make IR, country’s largest solar power producer. Strategy to use unutilized real estate with Railways for solar power generation already underway. Trial run of train partially powered by solar energy already underway. Under his leadership, Railways is also focusing on harnessing wind power and other non conventional energy sources. Record number of 15542 bio toilets commissioned against last five year average of 1917   

Governance and Transparency 

A staunch advocate for transparency, leveraged technology and delegation to improve governance in Railways. Spearheaded the largest ever online recruitment in the world. Delegated powers to functional levels and achieved 75% reduction in project approval duration. To improve efficiency and transparency in procurement, successfully established 100% E-procurement in Indian Railways 

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