Indian Railways News

Demand Surge seen for Cost Accountants everywhere, including Railways: Vice-President/ICAI

The demand for cost accountants is expected to be rise exponentially in the coming years with various State governments and ministries striving to improve efficiencies on the costing front. The Railway Ministry, for instance, has assigned a project to the Institute of Cost Accountants of India to study the existing costing system in the Railways and propose upgradation to ensure costing efficiency in key performance areas. H Padmanabhan, Vice-President of the institute, was recently in here to create awareness among school teachers on the ICAI-CMA course.

‘Accounting Reforms’ in Indian Railways

Padmanabhan told that the institute, after making a preliminary assessment and submitting its report, is now working to implement ‘accounting reforms’ (AR) in the Railways. The project is expected to be rolled out by the third quarter of 2018.

The Accounting Reforms project envisages transformation of the Railways’ accounting system. “We have been working on this project for 6–7 months now. Our members are working in close collaboration with the Railway team to implement the rollout,” Padmanabhan said.

ICAI through its research arm, ICAI Accounting Research Foundation (ICAI ARF) entered into an agreement with Indian Railways on February 15, 2017 for introducing the Accrual based Financial Statement as an additional set of Accounts to existing Cash based Government Accounts which will be a critical milestone in the history of Indian Railways towards embracing Accounting Standards and best practices being followed worldwide in the sphere of financial accounting and reporting. Accrual based financial statement will support Indian Railways in better utilisation of available resources, estimation of future liabilities and prioritisation of spending. It will also pave way for best financial management practices to be introduced in Indian Railways.

This agreement follows successful implementation of the pilot project for introduction of the Accrual based Financial Statement as an additional set of Accounts at North Western Railway at Jaipur and Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala by ICAI ARF. The agreement was signed by Shri V. Sagar, Director, ICAI ARF & Secretary, ICAI and Shri Sanjeev Sharma, Deputy Chief Project Manager (Accounting Reforms), Northern Railway in the presence of Shri Shahzad Shah, Financial Commissioner, Indian Railways and CA. Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey, Chairman, ICAI ARF & President, ICAI and other dignitaries.

To be called Performance and Activity Based Unit Costing, the process is expected to produce an outcome budget for the railways where it will be able to analyse stepwise costing of every asset created and services delivered.

It will also deliver train, section and rail route costing and profitability analyses. “We need to bring in cost control targets. For better financial management, there’s a need to arrive at per-unit cost of service provided or output delivered,” a senior government official said.  The railways has 16 divisions that undertake all asset creation as well as operational and management work, but there is no centralised cost-tracking system.  The railways is also proposing to set up an internal audit branch at every divisional headquarters. “If you need more investment to come or to bring in corporatisation, the only way is to introduce activity-based unit costing. That’s the only way investors will get more confidence after they see the actual results and numbers,” said Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner-infrastructure at consultancy firm KPMG.

Besides the Railway Ministry project, the institute, as a consultant to Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, submitted its reports for review of financial models for determination of tariffs at six major airports — Ahmedabad, Calicut, Lucknow, Guwahati, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram, Padmanabhan said.

In a major boost to the Rail Wagon makers, IR place Work Orders for procurement of 9493 Wagons on Private Wagon Cos.

In a major boost to the rail wagon makers, Indian Railways has issued orders for 9,493 wagons to the private sector players, many of whom are listed entities, multiple industry sources have told RailNews.

The biggest beneficiary has been the Titagarh group controlled by the Kolkata-based Chowdhury family, which, among Titagarh Wagons and Cimmco Ltd, has cornered orders for 2,338 wagons, or about 25% of the total order given out.

After Titagarh, Texmaco Rail and Engineering, owned by Saroj Poddar, has emerged second, bagging an order for 1,764 units, the single largest given to any one company.

Jupiter Wagons, part-owned by Lohia family and Tatravagonka of Slovakia, has emerged third with an order count of 1,582 wagons.

Modern Industries, Hindustan Engineering, BESCO are some of the others who got smaller order quantities.

Coming after a significant delay, the railway-based industry sees the orders as the much needed lifeline for the sector, which has been struggling for the past several quarters, with some companies plunging into losses as the government still remains the key customer for the industry.

Industry sources rubbished news reports that the ordering of the tenders was scrapped due to alleged formation of cartels pushing up bid prices.

While it is true that values of wagons to be paid by Railways have doubled over previous year’s level, industry officials said this has to do with the change in the norms for tenders.

“In this order, there is no free material component to be provided by Railways. We have to buy them ourselves, which has pushed up the bids,” an industry player said.

This is the reason, prices of, say, BOXNHL variety of wagons have gone up to Rs 24 lakh now from Rs 11.52 lakh for the 2016 order.

In the 2016 order, Railways issued all the steel required for building the wagons plus the wheels and bearings.

“No free supply items will be provided to the firm against the subject contract. Steel, bearings and wheel sets will be purchased by the firm,” a letter accompanying each order said.

The release of the order closely follows a decision of the Railway Board to stop inordinate delays in awarding of all kinds of tenders.

BACK ON TRACK

  • Titagarh Wagons and Cimmco Ltd have got order for 2,338 wagons
  • Texmaco Rail and Engineering has received orders for 1,764 units while Jupiter Wagons for 1,582 units

CMRS Team visits Maha Metro Nagpur Project, inspects Facilities and Infrastructure

NAGPUR: A three-member team of Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) visited Maha Metro Nagpur project between Airport South Station and Khapri Station, including MIHAN Train maintenance Depot and inspected various facilities provided at all levels of the project. The inspection which continued almost the entire day, was followed by presentation and meeting with the senior officials.

The three-member team was led by Arvind Kumar Jain, Commissioner of Rail Safety (CRS), Central Circle, Mumbai and an ex-IRSE officer of Indian Railways. The other members of the team included G P Garg and Uttam Prakash, both holding the post of Deputy CRS. The team, which arrived here today morning first inspected Airport South station to oversee various facilities provided there.

The team also inspected passenger facilities and other operation rooms at the station. Maha Metro MD Dr Brijesh Dixit, led by senior officials, accompanied CMRS team during their inspection. The CMRS team boarded Metro Train from Airport South Station and travelled to MIHAN Car Depot. The team checked the break system, evacuation system and other on board measures related to passenger safety during emergent situations. The team also enquired about various train features and safety provisions in the train.

The team held a meeting at MIHAN Depot and an audio-visual presentation was organized there. The progress of the project and other relevant details were shared with team during the presentation. The team also inspected shunter, hydraulic jack, traction sub-station used for feeding 25 KW traction supply for main line, and other rescue equipments procured by Maha Metro. The team of CMRS officials held another round of meeting with the Maha Metro officials at Metro House, Civil Lines and appreciated details of the project including 5D BIM project monitoring system adopted by Maha Metro Nagpur. Among the senior Maha Metro officials present during the day-long inspection included Director (Project) Mahesh Kumar, Director (Rolling Stocks and System) Sunil Mathur, Director (Finance) S Sivamathan and General Manager (Administration) Anil Kokate.

Railway Panel Mulling Increased Fare For Lower Berths, Festive Travel

Railway passengers could be shelling out more for choosing lower berths and travels during festive seasons, if the recommendations of a fare review committee are approved by the Railway Board.

The panel constituted to review the flexi-fare system in premium trains has recommended that the transport behemoth adopt the dynamic pricing model followed by airlines and hotels, sources said.

Like flyers pay more for front-row seats, railway passengers too could be paying extra for seats of their choice, the sources said.

There also could be an increase in fares of trains which have “convenient” timings and are more popular on a particular route, they said.

The committee has also recommended that instead of having flat fares, the railways should increase fares during festive seasons, and reduce them during lean months.

It has also suggested that passengers be offered discounts on trains reaching destinations at inconvenient times, for example between 0000 and 0400 hours and 1300 and 1700 hours, they said.

The committee consists of some Railway Board officials, NITI Aayog adviser Ravinder Goyal, Executive Director (Revenue Management) of Air India Meenakshi Malik, professor S Sriram, and Iti Mani, Director, Revenue, Le Meridien, Delhi.

The committee, which submitted its report to the Railway Board yesterday, has proposed these changes in the flexi-fare system which led to up to 50 per cent increase in fares of premium trains, drawing opposition from certain sections.

Under the flexi formula, base fares increase by 10 per cent (up to 50 per cent) after every 10 per cent of berths booked.

 

Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Special Train Gets Extension, Details Here

Indian Railways has decided to extend a Rajdhani Special train service between Mumbai and Delhi citing high demand. Western Railway – which caters to one of the zones served by Indian Railways – said the Superfast AC Rajdhani Special train running between the Bandra Terminus railway station in Mumbai and the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi will get a further extension of three months. In a press release dated January 15, 2018, Western Railway said the move was “to facilitate passengers and to clear extra rush”.
Here are five things to know about the extended thrice-a-week Bandra Terminus-Nizamuddin Superfast AC Rajdhani Special train:

1. The Rajdhani Special service between Bandra and Nizamuddin has been extended from January 17 to April 15, 2018.

2. The extended trips of the tri-weekly Superfast AC Rajdhani Special train will be from January 18, 2018 to April 15, 2018, according to the press release.

3. Previously, the Rajdhani Special service was scheduled to be operated till January 17, 2018.

4. The extended Rajdhani Special service will be operative with trains 09003 and 09004, according to the Western Railway.
Bandra Terminus-Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Special timetable

5. Train No. 09003 will start from Bandra (T) at 4:05 pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It will arrive at the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station at 6:00 am the next day, the press release noted.

6. Train No. 09004 will commence its journey from the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station at 4:15 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. This train will reach the Bandra Terminus station 6:10 am the next day.

7. The train service will halt at Surat, Vadodara and Kota stations in each direction.

8. The extended Rajdhani Special train service will comprise AC I Tier, AC II Tier and AC III Tier coaches.

COMMENTS9. Bookings of train tickets under the extended Rajdhani Special service will commence from January 17, 2018, according to Western Railway.

10. The Railways had introduced the new tri-weekly Superfast Rajdhani Special service between Delhi and Mumbai in October 2017. This service aimed to fulfill the long overdue demand of passengers and to provide faster connectivity to passengers between the two metros.

Indian Railways plans Roadmap for three-fold increase in Production by 2022

Eyeing large-scale expansion, the Railways’ production units have been asked to formulate a roadmap to achieve a three-fold increase in production by 2022. This comes after Railways Minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with the general managers of all the railway zones last month during which he emphasised the need for improving transport output by three times by 2022.

“It is needless to say that output of our production units has to increase substantially during this period to match the growth expectations,” a letter to the general managers of all production units of the railways said. “There is therefore, an urgent need for evaluating the performance of manufacturing facilities to assess their capability to ramp up production by almost three-times the present level with the existing workforce,” it said.

One of the most significant increase is to take place in the production of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches this year. But boosting production significantly requires a sharp increase in the present annual coach production target of 2,435 to 5,000 such coaches, officials said. The directive to the production units also says that the plan should be such that it facilitates decisions that lead to the best usage of time, financial and human resources.

The plan, it said, should be “workable” and should succeed by making suitable changes to the present processes, inducting technology and introducing a judicious mix of “make or buy matrix”. It is therefore imperative that the production units of the Indian Railways embark on the journey of a three-fold increase with a clear strategy, the directive said.

“You are requested to formulate a ‘production ramp-up’ road map with absolute clarity of resources required with cost and timeline and communicate to board latest by January 31, 2018,” the letter said.

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Bengaluru-Karwar Overnight Express speeded up further on diverted route

Responding to passengers’ anguish that diversion of Bengaluru-Karwar night express via Kunigal, the shortest route four days a week, did not reduce journey hours, the Railways has further speeded up the service, at least till Bhatkal effective February 10.

Though the train takes 17.15 hours from Bengaluru to Karwar even under the re-revised timings, the journey hours have come down at least by one hour till Kundapura because of efforts by South Western, Southern and Konkan Railways. Travel time from Bengaluru to Mangaluru Central gets reduced by one hour (total 10.45 hrs); Udupi by 1.20 hrs (total 12.40 hrs) and Kundapur 1.15 hrs (total 13.05 hrs).

The train takes a whopping 17.45 hours between Bengaluru and Karwar via Mysuru at present.

In the return journey on the diverted route, the train takes 16.20 hours from Karwar to Bengaluru as against 17.40 hours.

Campaign

Rail users launched a campaign for diverting the service on the new route after the Bengaluru-Hassan new line was opened even as Sanjay Revankar from Karwar fled a PIL petition before the Karnataka High Court seeking an exclusive overnight express train between Bengaluru-Karwar on the shortest route.

While the SWR announced diverting the existing combined night train (Bengaluru-Karwar/Kannur-Bengaluru) on the shortest route four days a week thereby speeding up the journey time, SR and KR did not reciprocate initially to receive the train with advanced timings, limiting the benefit of diversion to just 30 minutes.

Delay in receiving

Though the train arrives at Bantwal at 5 a.m., it was to be received at Mangaluru Junction, a distance of just 19 km, by SR at 5.58 a.m. Similarly, though it arrives at Mangaluru Central at 6.20 a.m, the Kannur portion was first despatched at 6.40 a.m. and Karwar portion at 7 a.m. More than an hour was wasted in the process.

Realising this, SR agreed to receive the train early at Mangaluru Junction at 5.32 a.m., at Central at 6 a.m. and despatch it first at 6.20 a.m. The Konkan Railway too reciprocated to receive the train in its jurisdiction at 6.55 a.m at Thokur.

However, KRCL has not speeded up the train beyond Bhatkal, saying the path was not available due to five oncoming trains. Hence, the train reaches Karwar at 12.30 p.m. only.

‘KRCL should have reciprocated’

While South Western and Southern Railways have made every effort to reduce the running time of Bengaluru-Karwar overnight express, Konkan Railway Corporation too should have reciprocated in right earnest, feel rail activists and sources in SWR.

“It is good that KRCL has speeded up the train till Bhatkal; but the same gesture should have been shown till Karwar,” said an activist who did not wish to be named.

Sources in SWR said Konkan Railway should have given priority to this train over others as it was the only overnight express between the State capital and Karwar. Karnataka too has contributed substantially to bring in KRCL, they noted.

KRCL Chairman and Managing Director Sanjay Gupta told that the Corporation speeded up the train as much as possible. Speeding it up beyond Bhatkal was not possible because of five oncoming trains. The issue would again be discussed by the three zones in the forthcoming Railway Timetable Committee meeting, he said.

‘Extend Chennai-Bengaluru Superfast to Mysuru’

Rail users from Mysuru region have demanded extension of Chennai-Bengaluru-Chennai Superfast Express (Train No. 12609/12610) to fill the void created by diversion of Bengaluru-Karwar/Kannur Express four days a week via Kunigal.

The Karwar Express leaving Bengaluru at 8.30 p.m. was the last service towards Mysuru and hundreds made use of it. Also, Karwar/Kannur-Bengaluru Express was the first service from Mysuru leaving at 5.30 a.m. to reach Bengaluru at 8.20 a.m, they said.

S. Yogendra from Mysuru Grahaka Parishat said Chennai-Bengaluru Express arriving at Bengaluru at 8.05 p.m. should be extended to Mysuru on the path of Kannur/Karwar Express on both up and down directions. If done so, it would also connect East Bengaluru with Mysuru region and help hundreds of travellers from areas like Whitefield and Krishnarajapuram, he felt.

SWR sources however said it was a difficult proposition as the rake has to undergo mechanical maintenance at Bengaluru upon its arrival from Chennai. Mr. Yogendra countered it saying maintenance can be done at Mysuru as well as there would be very few trains.

At majestic, two metro stations fail to connect to KSR Bangalore Railway Station

The much-delayed construction of a pedestrian bridge to provide access to the City Railway Metro station at platform number 10 of Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) railway station may take three more months for completion.

Namma Metro’s Byappanahalli-Mysore Road line has two Metro stations, each connecting the railway station from two directions. Though the stretch was opened for public in November 2015, commuters of railways, BMTC and KSRTC are yet to get safe access.

Those exiting the railway station from the western point at platform number 10, have to climb down a row of stairs to the road and walk for nearly 200 metres to reach the City Railway Metro station.

“We are waiting to see when they will complete the construction. I have asked railway officials many times but they point fingers at the Metro. The stretch is very unfriendly to pedestrians in the evenings as the street is poorly lit,” said Srujan Reddy.

Reddy, who travels between Kengeri and Jayanagar, said he avoids the Kempegowda Metro Station “as it requires walking nearly a kilometre from the platform”.

“If the government wants to decongest city, it should prioritise integration to help people who travel from suburbs every day for work,” he said.

Work on the pedestrian bridge connecting the Metro station to platform 10 is still ongoing. The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has set February as the target for completion of the work.

“The BMRCL portion (of the bridge) will be ready by February end. The portion built by the railways may take three months,” the corporation’s Public Relations Officer U A Vasanth Rao said.

Once completed, the bridge will have an escalator and a lift at the Metro station. It will connect the railway foot-over bridge where passengers can access all platforms.

The project has missed three deadlines in 2017 with the cost nearly doubling from the original Rs 95 lakh to nearly Rs 2 crore. “The railways has given clearance for the project. It is left to the BMRCL to complete the work,” a senior official in SWR’s Bengaluru Division said.

Stations Modernisation activity on Ajmer Division halted as Contractors blame on cost escalation due to GST

Ambitious Railway Stations modernisation programme on the Ajmer Division got halted at various railway stations as Contractors fume over the cost escalation in the wake of GST. One among the stations on Ajmer Division is Udaipur railway station, which still awaits modernization activity hit due to semi-finished facilities.

The face lift that was supposed to happen long back could not take place since private companies did not show interest in it. Another issue is that of escalator and lift at the railway station.

The city station was supposed to be equipped with escalator and lift for the comfort of old and disabled. The plan for escalator was approved in August 2016. This work was supposed to be completed by March 2017. But till now, nothing has been done. People were given high hopes for this facility but all went in doldrums since contractors stopped all required work for lift and escalator after the application of GST in July. Contractors blamed everything on GST saying that the prices of construction material had gone high.

Railway declared in November 2017 that GST will not be applicable on the firms which were given contract before GST came in. Now that the contractors have started working again on the escalator and lift project, it is being assumed that they will give it a final shape at the earliest.

Modernisation of Udaipur railway station does not seem to happen the way it was projected. If private parties do not take interest in the face-lift for city station, it may be a blotch on Udaipur as smart city since during tourist season trains to and fro Udaipur are mostly packed and with no proper and modern facilities public might lose interest in railways. This would cause a negative impact on income through railways in tourist season. With tariff almost at par with flights many a times, it is all the more required to enhance the standard of trains and railway stations, both.

One AC 2-Tier Coach by LTT–Gorakhpur & Panvel-Gorakhpur Exp – Bookings open from 16.1.2018

लोकमान्‍य तिलक टर्मिनस-गोरखपुर एक्‍सप्रेस तथा पनवेल-गोरखपुर एक्सप्रेस गाड़ियों मे स्थायी रूप से 1 वातानुकूलित 2 टियर श्रेणी का डिब्बा

रेलवे निम्नलिखित गाड़ियों मे 1 वातानुकूलित 2 टियर श्रेणी का डिब्बा स्थायी रूप से लगाएगी।

15064 लोकमान्‍य तिलक टर्मिनसगोरखपुर एक्सप्रेस में लोकमान्‍य तिलक टर्मिनस से दिनांक 23.1.2018 से, 15063 गोरखपुर -लोकमान्‍य तिलक टर्मिनस एक्‍सप्रेस में गोरखपुर से दिनांक 22.1.2018 से, 15066 पनवेल-गोरखपुर एक्‍सप्रेस में पनवेल से 17.1.2018 से एवं 15065 गोरखपुर-पनवेल एक्‍सप्रेस में गोरखपुर से दिनांक 16.1.2018 से स्थाई रूप से एक वातानुकूलित 2 टियर श्रेणी का डिब्‍बा जोडा जाएगा।

आरक्षण: गाडी संख्‍या 15064 एवं 15066 एक्‍सप्रेस गाडी में  वातानुकूलित 2 टियर श्रेणी के डिब्बे का आरक्षण दिनांक 16.1.2018 से प्रारंभ होगा।

सभी से अनुरोध है कि कृपया नोट करें तथा इस सुविधा का लाभ उठाए।

Railways introduces Anubhuti Coaches on Chennai-Mysuru Shatabdi Trains – Details Here!

The Indian Railways has introduced upgraded ‘Anubhuti’ coaches on its Chennai-Mysuru Shatabdi Express. The Southern Railway – which caters to one of the zones under the Indian Railways – will introduce Anubhuti coaches on the Chennai Central-Mysuru-Chennai Central Shatabdi Express sector from Friday, January 12, 2018, according to a press release dated January 11, 2018. The Southern Railway termed the move as a “Pongal Gift” to its passengers. Bookings for journey on the Chennai Central-Mysuru Shatabdi Express trains with the Anubhuti coaches – fitted with improved interiors and a GPS-based passenger system, among other features – are open, the Southern Railway said.

Here are 10 things to know about the Anubhuti coaches, introduced on the Chennai Central-Mysuru-Chennai Central Shatabdi Express:

  1. Trains 12007 and 12008 of the Chennai Central-Mysuru-Chennai Central Shatabdi Express service will be augmented by an ‘Anubhuti’ coach from Friday, January 12, 2018, according to the press release.
  2. The ‘Anubhuti’ coaches are fitted with improved interiors, ergonomically designed seats and improved modular toilets with hands-free taps.
  3. Overhead reading lights are provided for every seat and the coach has diffused LED lighting, the Southern Railway said.
  4. Besides, the coaches have a GPS-based passenger system and a special exterior painting with anti-graffiti coating.
  5. The fare for travel by ‘Anubhuti’ coach is fixed at 1.2 times of the Executive Class fare of Shatabdi trains.
  6. Other charges such as reservation fee, superfast surcharge, GST, etc. as applicable will be levied separately.
  7. Normal rules pertaining to Child Fare will apply, according to the Southern Railway.
  8. Concessional tickets and free complimentary passes which are not fully reimbursed will not be allowed, it noted.
  9. Seats remaining vacant at the time of first charting will be offered for current booking at a 10 per cet discount on last price.

“Normal Cancellation and Refund Rules shall apply,” the Southern Railway added.