To improve the standard of food being provided to passengers in trains, new Catering Policy has been issued on 27th February 2017 wherein inter-alia IRCTC has been mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution. In order to upgrade quality of food preparation,
Indian Railways' catering arm IRCTC will set up new kitchens and upgrade existing ones under the new catering policy announced on 27 February as the Railways steps up efforts to improve the quality of food being provided to passengers in trains.
Accordingly, IRCTC will manage catering service on all mobile units and all pantry car contracts awarded by zonal railway will be reassigned to IRCTC.
Meals for all mobile units will be picked up from the nominated kitchens owned, operated and managed by IRCTC.
IRCTC will not outrightly outsource or issue licences for provision of catering services to private licensees. Instead, it will retain the ownership and be fully accountable for all the issues pertaining to setting up and operation of the base kitchens and quality of food.
IRCTC will engage service providers from hospitality industry for service of food in trains.
All four base kitchens under departmental operation of zonal railways (Nagpur, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CSTM) , Mumbai Central (BCT) and Balharshah) and all kitchen units, ie, refreshment rooms at A1 and A category stations, Jan Ahaar, Cell Kitchens will be handed over to IRCTC on 'as is where is basis'. IRCTC will set up its own kitchens at additional stations, if required.
Zonel railways will hand over kitchen structures / land / space to IRCTC, for a period of 10 years, extendable for another period of 5 years, on a token licence fee.
IRCTC will be responsible for management of food plaza, food courts, fast food units within the ambit of this policy.
The setting up / development / refurbishment of new or existing base kitchens / kitchen units will be undertaken by IRCTC. These kitchens will be owned, operated and managed by IRCTC.
IRCTC plans to develop different types of kitchens keeping in view supply of food and usage assessed.
Accordingly, it will develop the business model for the kitchens so that they can expand and enhance the service. IRCTC will prepare a detailed concession agreement for setting up/development of the kitchens.
Zonal railway will manage static unit (catering stall / milk stalls / trolleys, etc,) except base kitchens and kitchen units will be handed over to IRCTC .
For the purpose of allotment, a refreshment room (at B and below category stations) or a stall or a trolley will be deemed as one unit. As such, a single unit is will be awarded through a single licence.
Provision of perpetual renewal has been done away with. Now it has been envisaged that tenure of all static units (except kitchen units and food plaza) will be for 5 years only. The tenure of food plaza will be for a period of 9 years.
Allotments of general minor units at all category stations will be done through open, competitive, two-packet tendering system from the eligible bidders by divisions.
For the first time, it has been envisaged that allotment of special minor units (reserved category) at all category stations will be done by divisions through open tendering system within the similar reserved category. The technical eligibility criteria has been simplified.