India’s Railway sector stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to self-reliant development. In its transformation to a dynamic force, private companies including Godrej Tooling are playing a vital role of infusing fresh perspectives, enhanced capabilities, and valuable resources.
India’s Railway sector echoes the nation’s pursuit of self-reliant development. Indigenous production, modernization, and innovation have underpinned this journey. By nurturing a robust ecosystem of manufacturing and technology, India has significantly reduced its dependence on foreign imports, contributing to a more self-reliant railway infrastructure. This shift from imports to domestic manufacturing required not just the establishment of manufacturing units but also the development of advanced engineering capabilities. The push for self-reliance has also brought about a transformation in research and development (R&D) efforts within the Railway sector, paving the way for innovative collaborations that are reshaping the industry.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) play a pivotal role in the transformation of Indian Railways by leveraging the strengths of both sectors to drive progress. These partnerships infuse the Private sector’s expertise, innovation, and resources into the railway ecosystem, accelerating modernization efforts and enhancing service quality. From station redevelopment to high-speed rail projects, PPPs bring cutting-edge technology and investment, helping Indian Railways overcome infrastructure challenges and operational bottlenecks. The collaborative synergy between the Public and Private sectors has paved the way for the creation of a knowledge-sharing ecosystem.
With India’s commitment to advance its self-reliance across sectors gathering momentum, Godrej Tooling, a business unit of Godrej & Boyce, has partnered with the Indian Railways to strengthen the railway network across the nation. In 2021, the business collaborated with the Indian Railways to design and develop the universal coach assembly station as an indigenous solution for coach assembly fabrication in the Marathwada Rail Coach Factory in Latur, Maharashtra. The company has been a trusted partner of Indian Railways for over 15 years.
The ultimate goal is to promote the indigenization of products, provide comprehensive solutions for major M&P investments in modern technologies, introduce the latest technology for the Rail industry from Europe and other developed countries, and indigenize it for India.
In Budget 2023-24, a capital outlay of `2.4 lakh crore has been allotted to the Indian Railways. The allocated funds will be used to build new trains and railway tracks, increase passenger facilities, and ramp up the infrastructure to a world-class level. Over the next five years, Indian Railways aims to enhance operations through modernization and 100 percent electrification, boost train speeds, involve the Private sector in station redevelopment and train operations, and monetize operational infrastructure assets. The Central Government has given the green signal for producing Vande Bharat rakes in three more railway coach manufacturing units in the country. The Railway Minister has also announced the plan to design a Vande Metro train, which is a kind of suburban train, similar to the Vande Bharat train.
The evolution of technology within the railway domain has been instrumental in shaping the sector’s transformation. India’s commitment to introducing cutting-edge trains such as Vande Bharat has led to a fruitful alliance between Godrej Tooling and Renmakch. This ten-year collaboration aims to develop depot equipment that serves as a domestic substitute under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives. The ultimate goal is to promote the indigenization of products, provide comprehensive solutions for major M&P investments in modern technologies, introduce the latest technology for the Rail industry from Europe and other developed countries, and indigenize it for India. By improving the speed, quality, and safety of railway and metro coaches during maintenance, this collaboration will undoubtedly enhance the overall efficiency of railway services. This partnership will enable private companies such as Godrej & Boyce to offer a complete value chain that ranges from design to construction for the Railways, as well as allow them to bid on larger projects.
Digitalization of Indian railways
The emergence of Industry 4.0, as well as the more recent concepts of digital railway, distinctly embodies the shift towards meeting the contemporary demands of the digital economy. From digitalization to automation, technology has permeated every aspect of railway operations, enabling greater efficiency, safety, and sustainability. For instance, digitalization has led to the implementation of smart ticketing systems that streamline the booking process, enhance passenger convenience, and enable efficient data management for improved planning. This digital transformation not only redefines how railways operate but also lays the groundwork for a future of innovation and growth in this vital sector.
To create an automated and environmentally sustainable washing system for both the Indian Railways and Metro networks, Godrej Tooling has partnered with JCW Japan, a renowned Japanese manufacturer of vehicle cleaning machines. This partnership is poised to introduce cutting-edge international technology to India while simultaneously advancing the localization and indigenization of various automated washing systems.
The project undertaken by Godrej Tooling will entail the process of indigenous adaptation at a scale of 20-30 percent. However, the long-term vision is far-reaching, aspiring to elevate domestic capabilities to a remarkable 80 percent within the next five years. This ambitious trajectory, steeped in digitization and innovation, mirrors India’s overarching mission to be at the forefront of technological self-reliance.
India’s Railway sector stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to self-reliant development. Through indigenous production, collaborative efforts, and technological advancements, the sector has evolved into a dynamic force poised for further growth and innovation. In this transformation, private companies are vital contributors, infusing fresh perspectives, enhanced capabilities, and valuable resources into the dynamic railway landscape. Their strategic partnerships with the Indian Railways have brought forth modernization, efficiency improvements, and the infusion of advanced technologies. The journey towards a self-reliant future continues, fueled by the combined efforts of Public and Private sectors, driving India’s railways towards excellence and ensuring that the tracks of progress lead to a promising and self-sufficient tomorrow.
Senior Vice President & Business Head
Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd