The initiative has been brought up to prevent touts from registering with invalid identities, a senior official said. "But it declined over the years for various reasons including global economic condition", Prabhu said after launching the policy of long term tariff agreements with key freight customers.
A pilot run - from Garhi Harsaru in Gurgaon to Murad Nagar - was flagged off from Patel Nagar railway station on Thursday by railway minister Suresh Prabhu through a videoconferencing session.
"Once the railways were the only option for freight, so it had the monopoly". To avail of this contract, customers should offer to despatch at least one million tonnes per annum, and incremental volumes and customer-based freight revenue will get discounts ranging from 1.5 to 35 per cent.
Other major initiatives in the pipeline include a policy for mobile application-based cab services, adding 6,000 point-of-sale machines and 1,000 ticket-vending machines during the year and introducing Aadhaar-based ticketing.
Some of the major plans of the railways include worldwide freight services under which a demo train run between Bangladesh and India, and a meeting of CEOs of railways of the concerned countries to strengthen intermodal regional connectivity. Through these non-fare revenue sources, Indian Railways plans to generate revenue of over Rs15,000 crore over the next few years.
"The business plan 2017-18 was formulated to cater to the requirement of stakeholders and we have changed the policy after discussion with our customers", Prabhu said.
In order to stop the bulk train ticketing at the counters, the Indian Railways introduced the new system.
The Railways hopes these measures will help protect its freight market, where it has been losing share to road transport. The reforms introduced by the Railways are in line with budget announcements and address Prime Minister Narendra Modi's broader agenda of transforming Railways into an "engine of growth".