One could not ask for a more optimistic setting as we prepare to go into the Eleventh FiveYear Plan. The economy is on a high growth trajectory and has been clocking more than8 per cent annual growth for the last four years. The growth in railway traffic - bothfreight and passenger - has been exceeding the GDP growth rate. The outlook for thefuture is bright and opportunities for growth are abundant. But the challenges are equallyformidable, although admittedly, challenges of growth are always preferable tochallenges of maintaining
.The Railways have exceeded most of the targets set for the Tenth Five Year Plan. Theterminal year of the Plan has seen a record level of over 728 Million Tonnes of originating freight traffic, 6.24 billion of originating passengers, an enviable operatingratio of 78.7 percent and a cash surplus before dividend of over Rs 20,000 crores.Efficiency improvements and a customer-focused approach have been major drivers of the growth. It is difficult for capacity enhancement to keep pace with the growth in trafficdue to the gestation lags. Most of the major traffic-carrying routes are under severe strain.A number of initiatives have already been launched to redress the situation; these need tobe sustained and greatly expanded in both scale and scope during the Eleventh Five YearPlan. In addition, there is a need to identify infrastructural weaknesses that, if leftunaddressed, could derail the momentum of growth. This document has attempted toaddress the issue and set out a plan to prepare the Indian Railways to transform into atruly World Class Railway system.It has been our attempt to cover all the Terms of Reference comprehensively, startingfrom traffic projections to infrastructural requirements and organizational issues. I amsure that Planning Commission would find the inputs useful while preparing the EleventhFive Year Plan for the country.
(J.P.BATRA)(Chairman, Railway Board &Ex-Officio Principal Secretary to the Government of India)Chairman, Working Group