NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is one of the few government-owned enterprises which is incurring losses year-after-year. On the other hand, the state-run air carrier Air India is also running into losses following the heightened competition amid the domestic aviation sector. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, in its first term from 2014 to 2019, deliberately pushed Air India divestment programme but it didn’t turn out as expected.
In the second term, the government is keenly looking forward to restarting the Air India disinvestment process and reduce the losses of Indian Railways. The induction of private players in railways, and inviting investment from the industry are some of the possibilities which are being expected in from the Indian Railways. The Union Railways Minister
Buying train sets from private entities would be a costly affair and it's only going to increase financial burden on already cash starved Indian railways. Why government is backing off from home grown T-18 & T-20 projects is beyond my understanding? Seems corporate lobbying is playing a role here.
It could be corporate lobbying as well as the intense infighting within the Railway board members and electrical and mechanical lobbies. It could be recalled that plans to start production of these trains at MCF were opposed by ICF. Once corporatisation of these production units became evident, unions are also up in arms (different reasons, though). May take months to settle these issues. Once at least a couple of these units become corporate entities, regular production can begin.
If IR buys MEMU, EMU train sets from private players, with fast electrification DEMU rakes will get obsolete in comming days, Kolkata METRO after frequent breakdowns of MEdha rakes will in future buy rakes from Private players, already the new rakes for East-West metro is from private players. Then what will the Railway production units do which Government is bringing under 1 Nigam. Then these Production units will slowly move toward Loss as IR will not buy MEMU ( Now RCF mainly produces MEMU rakes) and EMU ( Now ICF mainly produces EMU rakes), DEMU ( will become obsolete in future), Kolkata METRO ( ICF produces coaches for KM) and maybe in future Mail/ Exp LHB coaches also being procured.