The Indian Railways, back in June 2022 announced the ‘Mission 3000’ under which they plan to achieve the ambitious freight loading figure of 3000 MT by 2027. A committee was constituted to draw up a comprehensive action plan to increase the carrying capacity of Railways over the next 5 years, and also to devise strategy/policy initiatives for inducing a modal shift to Rail.
Soon after, the Ministry of Railways also introduced ‘Mission Raftaar’ to achieve a target of doubling the average speed of freight trains and increasing the average speed of superfast, mail and express trains by 25 kmph. Indian Railways is constructing more than 3,000 km of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), which would enable freight trains to run at speed of 100 kmph. So far, 56% of the two DFCs of the railways are operational, with the completion of a majority of the network expected by 2023.
Coming back to Mission 3000, the multi-disciplinary committee set up by the Railway Board consists of officers from different departments of the Board to prepare a roadmap for meeting the target of 3,000 MT. As per the Report prepared by them, there will be an increase in the number of wagons, leading to an increase in freight examinations from the current average of 411 to 541 per day. To meet this increased demand, yard examination facilities will be required to be upgraded and augmented. It should also be noted that with the increase in the number of wagons, there will also be an increase in the average routine overhaul requirement per month.
The Indian Railways transported a record 1,418 MT cargo in FY2021-22, and is upping the ante to play a stellar role in meeting the logistics needs of the country. Considering the cost and sustainability parameters, it was deemed necessary by the NITI Aayog that Railways carry 40-50 percent of freight transported throughout India. The Ministry of Rail has also been working towards enhancing the modal share of Rail by creating adequate capacity ahead of demand.
Accordingly, a pipeline of capacity enhancement works has been chalked out for easing the bottlenecks/constraints and augmenting the network to make it capable of moving 3600 MT cargo by 2030-31. In the wake of rising fuel prices and the prevailing international political uncertainty, demand for rail transportation is likely to pick up further.
According to the Report of the Railway Board, the present Mission 3000MT has been formulated to identify and prioritize capacity enhancement works for implementation before 2027 and to suggest an action plan for making requisite policy and strategic interventions to induce desired modal shift to Rail.
While delivering an address at the 17th Foundation Day of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCC), Ashwini Vishnaw, the Union Minister of Railways said that the Ministry will roll out big and small scale projects worth INR 90,000 crore in the months ahead to remove bottlenecks in the movement of freight. The new projects are being closely monitored for a rollout by Railway Board Chairman V K Tripathi.
To fund the Mission, the Ministry plans to raise funding primarily via Budgetary support, after PPP didn’t work in much favour of the Railways for enhancing infrastructure.
“Through the support of the railway officials, we were able to get an additional Rs 12,000 crore from the Centre for this financial year. Now, we should aim to reach at least Rs 2 trillion as the capital support from the general budget for railways,” Vaishnaw said, in the context of the need for railways to execute more capital investment to achieve its modal logistics share aspirations of 40 per cent under the National Rail Plan. The ministry of railways was allocated Rs 1.37 trillion as budgetary support in the Union Budget for 2021-22