Oct 16, 2016

Indian Railways to sell swadeshi goods to raise funds

Talks are on with nearly a dozen such companies that would be allowed to promote their consumer products on trains. The Railways aims to earn nearly Rs 1,700 crore by selling advertisement rights and on-board services in trains.


1. Talks with dozen companies to promote consumer products on trains.

2. Railways to raise funds by selling ad rights and on-board services in trains.

3. Patanji hopes to push Swadeshi products on trains.
THE Indian Railways is readying to roll down the 'swadeshi' route as it chalks out major economic reforms to achieve self sufficiency. Sources say Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved Limited and other Indian fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies such as Hindustan Unilever may be given advertisement and on-board promotion rights in trains as part of the Railway's long-term strategy to improve its financial health.


Talks are on with nearly a dozen such companies that would be allowed to promote their consumer products on trains. The Railways aims to earn nearly Rs 1,700 crore by selling advertisement rights and on-board services in trains.

Sources said if the plan is implemented, these companies may also be allowed to sell their products during journeys, though a final decision is yet to be taken. They said more than 100 premium trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto could be given to these companies for advertisements.


"We are in talks with some FMCGs including Patanjali Ayurved. These are Indian companies manufacturing a wide range of consumer goods that are quite popular among the Indian population," a senior rail ministry official told Mail Today. . "Apart from advertisements and on-board promotion, rights for product sampling in the train will be given."

The department also plans to offer train branding and advertisements in the form of vinyl wrapping in soon-to-be-introduced luxury trains like Tejas Express.


Patanjali, Ramdev and his followers have been promoting a stridently nationalist line, pushing for the use of swadeshi (indigenous) products. The objective is clear - breaking into the bastion of multinational companies and promoting Indian goods.

This, right-wing leaders argue, will create more employment for Indian youth, which is also the motive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious Make in India campaign.

Patanjali has grown into a company with annual turnover over Rs 5,000 crore and is targeting a Rs 10,000-crore turnover for next year.

Sources said Indian Railways has significant reach among the Indian population and hence the idea of promoting swadeshi in its trains. "This can well be the best way of promoting Indian products," said sources. Patanjali Ayurved and Hindustan Unilever are Indian companies manufacturing consumer goods such as food items, beverages and a wide range of lifestyle products.


Ramdev, who is also the face of brand Patanjali, plans to go beyond the FMCGs and to enter into textiles particularly Khadi.

The Railways has also decided to promote e-commerce on its trains for which talks are on with companies like Flipkart and Amazon. This will enable train travellers to shop during their journey, similar to the facility provided by airline companies.

"Passengers in high-end trains will be able to avail this service.

This will be a different experience altogether during train journeys. Talks are on with Flipkart and Amazon. We are hopeful of getting more players as the plan is executed," a railway board official said.


The Railways have sold the branding rights on seven premium trains for Rs 200 crore to raise non-fare revenue.

The department auctioned two Mumbai Rajdhani, August Kranti Rajdhani, Guwahati Rajdhani, two Shatabdis between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi, and a Jan Shatabdi for vinyl wrapping and other branding activities. The contract has been given for five years. "We have nearly 100 premium trains including Rajdhani, Duronto and Tejas Express. All these trains would be auctioned on long-term contract. But the payment would be upfront," the official said. The Railways will also start auctions for Radio Rail, an onboard entertainment system.

"The service will be started on 1,000 trains. We are in touch with all major players to provide speakers and equipment for 60,000 coaches in a phased manner," the official said. The Railways wants to raise about Rs 10,000 crore a year through nonoperational revenue route.
Source - India Today

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