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Railways aims to earn Rs40,000 crore by monetising soft assets

LiveMint logoLiveMint 04-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The railway ministry on Thursday spelt out a target of Rs40,000 crore revenue from monetizing its soft assets in the next 10 years.

In a two-pronged strategy, the railway ministry aims to increase earnings through traditional as well as non-traditional sources, while at the same time reducing expenditure. “Earlier the railways used to focus on traditional sources for revenue earnings, that is passenger fares and freight. Now, we have firmed up the non-fare revenue policy aiming to earn about Rs40,000 crore in the next 10 years,” railway minister Suresh Prabhu said.

Railways has formulated the non-fare revenue (NFR) policy to perk up earnings from advertisements on trains, putting up large LCD screens on its premises and monetising data. All soft assets of the railways will be monetised, he said. More than two crore passengers travel in about 11,000 trains in a day in the rail network. Passenger-related data would be monetised under the NFR strategy. Besides data, the railways will be allowing branding of trains and launching a mega app as part of the monetisation of soft assets in a big way.

Noting that railways witnesses more than eight billion footfalls and eyeballs in a year, Prabhu said, “If we can monetise it, the railways can capture the immense value from it.” Railways is putting up about two lakh big LCD screens at 2,000 stations across the country to operationalise the rail display network disseminating rail-related informations besides advertisements. That apart, railways will be reducing its huge energy bill through the maximum use of alternative energy such as solar and wind power. Railways is aiming to save Rs41,000 crore in the next 10 years on energy bills as it has already saved about Rs4,000 crore in 2016-17 by replacing many diesel locomotives with the electric ones.

In order to increase its freight earnings, railways has diversified its freight basket from 10 major commodities to about 40 goods. The public transporter, which has lost chunk of its loadings to the road sector, has reduced the freight rate in the recent past to attract more business.

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