Enumerate the issues that have plagued the railway sector in India. Mention the steps taken by government to address these issues.

Indian Railways with second largest Railway network in the world caters to highest passenger and fourth largest freight traffic in the world.

Significance:

  • Mass transport.
  • Source of revenue for government.
  • Key to Linking ‘Bharat’ with ‘India’.

Concerns:

  1. Safety
    • 2019 saw human death due to Railway accident after several decades.
    • Followed by couple of rail accidents in year 2020-21, amidst covid-19 pandemic.
    • Causes – high congestion, poor safety compliance.
  2. Inadequate infrastructure
    • Despite such large network, highly inadequate, considering the passenger and freight needs.
    • Freight transport share has declined from 86 % to 18% (2020).
    • Several sectors undeserved.
    • Poor quality of train infrastructure (hygiene, toilets, tracks).
  3. Insufficient financing
    • Decisions marked by political considerations.
    • Little incentive for government to invest in already loss making Ventures.

Measures taken:

  • Railways are in focus in National infrastructure pipeline of 11 lakh crore.
  • Stations like Habibganj under National monetisation pipeline.
  • Private players’ participation in operation of private trains.

Recent decisions like encouraging private public cooperation are steps in right direction for Railways that is expected to cater to 40% of world Railway traffic by 2050.

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