Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced plans for the creation of a scientific and technological collaboration forum that will coordinate and collaborate with major government-run technical and scientific agencies to develop special material and technologies for improving the performance of the railways.
This forum is being seen as giving a significant boost to the Make in India Initiative of the Modi regime. The aim is to reduce the Indian Railways dependence on other countries and give impetus to creation of new technologies within India by creating an organized synergy between major government bodies in the field of technological research and production.
The move is to further development of special material and technologies for improving railway rolling stock for providing safer, more comfortable, more efficient and economical services to its customers. The first roundtable meeting, which was chaired by Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, discussed a number of possible collaborations and interactions with the heads of ISRO, CSIR, DRDO, RDSO, the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Defence Production.
The Ministry of Railways sought collaboration for structural material, paneling material for coaches, germicidal and wear resistant furnishing material, coating and special paints with better cleaning properties and pest control capability. Systems are being developed keeping in mind local conditions and needs. The railways also intends creating evolving rolling stock technology, and exportable products like coaches, locomotive, wagons, cranes, special vehicles etc.
The meeting ended with the announcement of creating a permanent Standing Intra-Government Technical Collaboration Panel (SITCOP) to converge the government's internal capabilities to create better and futuristic rolling stock for Indian Railways with minimal foreign dependence in critical areas.