The railways has introduced new technology, Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said (File)
The Indian Railways utilised 59 per cent of its total capital expenditure in the first six months of the financial year 2023-24, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Saturday.
This was possible as the railways carried out 38 structural and procedural reforms in these six months, which helped improve its overall performance, he told reporters.
"Our total budget for 2023-24 is Rs 2.4 lakh crore, out of which we have already spent Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the first half of the current financial year. This is 59 per cent of the total budget," Vaishnaw said.
On the structural reforms carried out by the railways, he said the whole system of project execution, finance, and monitoring process has been revamped to bring in transparency and quality control.
The Item Rate Contract system has been changed to Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contracts, which is better and more accountable, he added.
"Earlier, detailed project reports (DPRs) were made, which was more like a formality. Now, we have laid down a process for a very authentic and detailed DPR," Mr Vaishnaw said.
The flaw in the earlier system was that the DPR process was based on a table-top survey and the real field situation used to be dealt with later on during the field survey, he said.
Today, he said, the railways has introduced new technology such as drone and satellite-based surveys for preparing DPRs.
"It is uploaded on the PM Gati Shakti portal. Then, we look at the various conflict areas such as mines, schools, highways, transmission lines, canals, etc., and resolve all these conflicts at the DPR stage only. After that the final estimate is prepared," Mr Vaishnaw said.
Changes were introduced in project management to enhance the quality by engaging companies such as TCS.
In the past six months, according to Vaishnaw, the railways has introduced electronic management systems to ensure that data remains intact for a long time.
"We have computerised the entire project completion process starting from its initiation to sanction, design approval, DPR, tender process, selection of contractors, and the award of the completion certificate," the minister said.
"The GCC (General Condition of Contracts) was as old as 1952, which we have modified and updated as per the needs of today," he said.
Besides structural reforms, Mr Vaishnaw said, procedural reforms have been carried out that have expedited the project completion process.
"I think today we have improved our performance because of all these reforms," he said.
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