While Indian's Prime Minister Narendra Modi hopes that the Indian railway network will spearhead India's economic progress, online reports claim that between April and December of 2016 traffic receipts dipped 2.3% and passenger traffic was 9.1% below target. With the railways' share of GDP dropping below 1%, news that Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is unable to meet demand for new rails must be disheartening for the Indian Government.
According to SAIL, it will only meet 78% of demand to the year ending March 2018 and this, it is feared, will delay a $15 billion safety overhaul of the Indian Railways network.
A report by Reuters quotes A K Mital, chairman of India's Railways Board, as saying that unless SAIL steps up supply, the whole upgrade programme (involving track renewal and capacity augmentation) will be at risk.
Over the past two years, track defects have been responsible for 25% of train accidents.