Goyal says govt considering small-scale privatisation in Railways

New Delhi: There is no proposal for privatisation of Indian Railways. However, there is a proposal to outsource some commercial and onboard services to private players but no large-scale privatisation, the Ministry of Railways said on Friday. The news came days after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the privatisation of five Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).

Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal denied that the Railways was considering privatisation of railway routes in a written response to a question asked in the Rajya Sabha recently. He said that the government is allowing only some private players to induct modern rakes to run trains on selected routes with the objective to provide improved service delivery to passengers. 'Tejas Express' is India's first train which is being run by IRCTC, Indian Railways' catering arm and a subsidiary company of the Railways.

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The project has been handed to IRCTC on a pilot basis and depending on the outcome, the government will look at handing the operation of a few trains to the private sector. Goyal also added that the responsibility of train operations and safety certification rests with the Indian Railways. Outsourcing of certain services like station cleaning, pay and use toilets, retiring rooms, parking and platforms maintenance etc. is being done on a need-based manner to improve cleanliness and other services.

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