Published On : Sun, Dec 24th, 2017

Indian Railways bust ‘Make in India’ by seeking to import over 7 lakh tonnes’ of rails

Indian Railways

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New Delhi: Is this a blatant case of one Ministry of the Indian government itself flouting the P.M.’s Make in India diktat? Or are their hands tied due to availability compulsions?

The steel and rail ministries are at loggerheads with Indian Railways over their decision to import lakhs of tonnes of Rail from abroad going against the Modi Government’s mandate to promote ‘Make in India’.

It is not as if Rails are not manufactured in India. Steel Authority of India (SAIL) a public sector company and private company Jindal steel are both into manufacturing of rails and they have been selling to Railways so far.

But it is learnt that SAIL, currently the main supplier of rails to Indian Railways, has struggled to supply. Indian Railways are the world’s fourth-largest rail network and it is on a mission to upgrade and expand.

A government committee on the use of locally-made iron and steel in government projects met recently and gave Indian Railways “one time exception” to buy 487,000 tonnes of rails under the global tender. The railways had earlier sought to buy 717,000 tonnes under the tender.

The steel ministry insists the tender goes against the “Make in India” manufacturing push championed by PM Modi, who is under pressure to create jobs for millions of Indians before the next general election in 2019.

“It is very disturbing that the broad message has not been appreciated by various departments,” Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to PM Modi, said in a letter to the heads of various departments.

“It should be the responsibility at the highest level in each department to ensure that the tender conditions are strictly in sync with the public procurement order and each tender must be examined from the point of view of the interest of Indian manufacturers.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office has since asked all government departments to prioritise the use of local products in state projects.