Freight movement through Railways will be higher than 2019-20 level despite the pandemic, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal said, at the 74th Annual Session of Hindustan Chamber of Commerce today.
Stating that total freight movement in 2019-20 was about 1,200 million tonnes, Goyal asserted that by the end of March 2021, the Railways will exceed last year's level.
The minister noted that despite September being a lean month, for the first time during the past 10 years freight movement touched 100 million tonnes.
He said that the average speed of a freight train almost doubled to 50 km an hour from last year's level of 23-24 km. The increase in speed also helped industries bring down inventory levels.
Goyal said the Kisan Rail service for transporting perishable goods has seen a 15 per cent increase in traffic. He added that nearly 5,500 railway stations across the country have wi-fi connections. RaiTel connections are faster than those offered by private players.
Goyal, who is also Minister of Commerce and Industry, said India can surely be part of the global supply chain and a reliable partner, adding that "building capabilities, scale and good manufacturing practices are the need of the hour".
"Economic recovery will be rapid and it will be V Shape. India will bounce back strongly, though some sectors like tourism, hotels and restaurants, aviation, entertainment will take more time," said Goyal, adding that the Government has brought some game-changing reforms in agriculture, labour, capital market, space and defence to strengthen India's engagement with the world.
"We have to reform, perform and transform," said Goyal.