Indian Railways’ Mega Privatization Push In R&D Department: Key Decisions Next Week

Currently, 100% of the R&D budget of Railways lies with the public sector.
Currently, 100% of the R&D budget of Railways lies with the public sector.

The Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw, in a concluding session of a post-Budget webinar on technology-enabled development on Wednesday informed that the national transporter Indian Railways will draft and release a policy shortly, which will include private-sector R&D as a major part of the railway budget.

Currently, 100% of the R&D budget of Railways lies with the public sector. Going ahead, the Railway ministry aims to allocate about 90% of the budget in the private sector.

Railways to Allocate Most R&D Budget to Private Cos

Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated that in the next 7-8 days, Indian Railways will come up with a policy to include private-sector research and development significantly in the Railways R&D budget, targeting about 90% allocation going forward.

Just like the defence and space sector, which has broken the known cycle and opened up R&D opportunities for private sector companies, Vaishnaw believes that similar developments should be accommodated in other sectors too.

“We are starting something in the Railways soon. In another 7-8 days, we will launch a new policy where private sector R&D would become an integral part or rather major part of railways R&D budget,” Vaishnaw added.

“We do hope that going forward, probably 90% of railways R&D budget would be in the private sector compared with 100% in the public sector at present”, he said.

Vaishnaw Cheers on Spectrum Management Suggestion

Besides the railways development, the IT & Telecom minister, Ashwin Vaishnaw also appreciated the industry suggestions on spectrum management and directed the industry to start the manufacturing of tech products in the country itself.

The thought process on the use of spectrum is changing. For a long period, spectrum was viewed as a revenue-generating resource. The last two years have shown a public good element of the spectrum, Vaishnaw stated.

“I am happy to observe that there is a broad consensus on spectrum management issues which are basically leading to the public or to technology improvement or technology development. This we now need to convert in clear policy statements which can be then implemented,” he said.

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