Perform or perish: Piyush to industries

New Delhi: In a strong message to captains of the industry, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday that they have to be smart to stay in the business as the government is not going to offer the olive branch and protect them by offering a bouquet of privileges.

In reply to the demands of industry for relaxations in GST, tendering process, etc, the Railways Ministry made it very clear that those who are incompetent should either hone up their skills or better keep away from government works as his first responsibility is to improve railways and its benefits.

While speaking at the 'Smart Railways Conclave', which was organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the minister said, "The government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes in transparency and the online tendering process has been started to make everything transparent. The government

is not going to customise any tender document as per your need."

"Those who will offer low price and better technology, only they would get work orders," Goyal said. Refusing to reduce the GST rates, the minister said that the first rule of GST is to provide equal opportunity for all and in such a situation, such demand is ineffective.

Talking about the modernisation of Railways, the minister said that around 6,000 railway stations would be wi-fi-enabled in the next six-eight months.

"We believe that if we have to leverage digital technology, the basic ingredient is to ensure access to technology in the remotest part of the country. The railways is working on a programme to ensure the last mile connectivity wherever we do not have fibre optics in our network. We are hopeful that in the next six-to-eight months, all railway stations, other than the halt stations, about 6,000 stations will be wi-fi-enabled," he said.

On punctuality of trains, the minister said that between April 1 and now, punctuality has improved to 73-74 per cent as the railways has made a change by replacing the manual recording of time by station masters with data loggers placed at interchange points across the network that ensure computer generated time.

"We are working on putting a GPS device on every locomotive so that we will have every train marked on mobile phone, knowing exactly where they are," he said, adding that the railways was embarking on making itself efficient in a big way which will save $2 billion every year, which otherwise would have to be passed on to the passengers.

On the upgradation of coaches, the minister said that railways has developed more coaches in one year, compared to what it produced under 10 years of UPA rule. "In the last year alone we have produced 2,385 Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches in the country, meeting not just our domestic needs but also some exports," Goyal said.

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