Sam Pitroda to head panel on upgrading railways

The government has constituted a committee of top financial experts and technocrats to look into ways and means for modernising Indian Railways.

Headed by Sam Pitroda, it includes HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh; former State Bank of India chairman M S Verma, Prof Raghuram of the Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad; Industrial Development & Finance Corp managing director Rajiv Lal; and Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman of Feedback Infrastructure Services.

Announcing this in New Delhi on Wednesday, railways minister Dinesh Trivedi said, ''We want a big leap forward for the railways. Pitroda, who revolutionised the telecom sector, will help us to use fourth generation technology for the railways.''

He said the economy could grow at about 8 per cent if Indian Railways grew at 10 per cent or more. ''Railways was and will definitely continue to be the engine of growth,'' he said.

Trivedi said the focus of the committee would be on tracks, signalling, rolling stock, stations and terminals; as well as issues concerning organisation, especially management, resource mobilisation and making the manpower more professional.

Looking into safe, secure and productive freight and passenger train traffic would also be on the panel's agenda, the minister said. Modern signalling technologies would be explored for maximising track utilisation and high speed operations with safety, he added.