On Foundation Day, railway minister praises achievements of the PSU
Praggya Guptaa | November 28, 2019 | New Delhi
RailTel, one of the youngest PSUs of the railways, should now aim high; it should target to reposition itself from a Miniratna to a Navratna status and become a Rs 10,000 crore company in the next five years, railways minister Piyush Goyal has said.
“The time has come for RailTel to come out of its shell. Now the teenage of the organization is over. All of us have witnessed the cusp of change that happens from teens to adulthood. Now there must be much larger targets, much bigger ambitions and much bolder goals to achieve,” he said on the occasion of the 20th Foundation Day of the organization on November 25.
Calling the company a millennial, he said RailTel’s role in providing broadband facility across the country is incredible. He said the organization must realise its vision to become the preferred telecom services provider for the knowledge economy. “One should have high ambitions and audacious goals… the goals which others think difficult to achieve,” Goyal told the RailTel officials.
He also quoted former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had said in a conference in 2000, the year this organisation was established: “Railways are key infrastructure whose better functioning will help the economy in a big way. However, it needs urgent reforms. So the management at the railways makes radical restructuring to separate rail operations from planning and policymaking. Large investments, innovation, modernisation are required to improve safety standards. Clearly, we need to keep the investments and funds for railways for innovative and commercially oriented methods. The creation of RailTel Corporation is the first step in this direction.”
Goyal also recalled the words of American business leader Steve Jobs, who said one can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only do that looking backwards. “You have to look at the past to connect the dots and that will help us in connecting the future. New Indian Railways has a big role to play.”
He complimented RailTel for connecting over 5,000 railway stations across the country with Wi-fi. “Today India is at the cusp of the digital revolution with increasing broadband and internet penetration across the country. The exponential rise of the use of data is such that India uses the highest amount of data on mobiles as compared to another country in the world.” He added that the government focus on digitization and technology adoption in various industries, coupled with digital connectivity has the power to transform the lives of people of India.
The minister also noted the success of the recent initial public offering, saying “The IPO describes its success and oversubscribed over a hundred times and its share was trading at huge premium on the very first day.”
Minister of State railways Suresh C Angadi said RailTel has achieved a remarkable feat in the past years. It started as a Rs 15 crore company and it has become a Rs 1,000+ crore company in 20 years. He also advised RailTel to expeditiously connect gram panchayats under Bharatnet to bring Wi-Fi to the rural population.
Puneet Chawla, chairman and managing director, RailTel, elaborated on the organisation’s achievements, stressing that it is one of the very few consistently profit-making, dividend-paying, debt-free telecom PSUs in spite of the tough competition in the market. In the last financial year, RailTel achieved a turnover of Rs 1,017 crore, with an operating margin of Rs 184 crore. He also mentioned key projects like the station Wi-Fi project, Railwire Saathi, NIC e-office, Video Surveillance system, and Modern Train Control system.