Indian Railways decides to brand trains for revenue – ‘Pepsi Rajdhani’ & ‘Coke Shatabdi’?
NEW DELHI: Cash crunch is forcing Indian Railways to become creative. Move over Chetak and August Kranti; you could soon be boarding a ‘Pepsi Rajdhani’ or ‘Coke Shatabdi’. The railways has readied a plan to brand trains and stations to augment revenues without raising passenger fares or freight rates.
The proposal is ready and is expected to get the approval of the railway board next week.
Under the new policy, a company can buy consolidated media rights for branding the entire train. It can then advertise both inside and outside the bogies.
“The railways has shunned the earlier approach of selling advertisement rights on a piece-meal basis and is ready with plans to award media rights for the entire train (both inside and outside) and stations on a long-term basis to big corporate players,” said a senior official.
The plan was accelerated after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a recent meeting, asked the railway brass to mop up revenues from alternative sources like tapping advertisement potential.
Similar plans were announced during the previous UPA governments, but they did not materialise.
Faced with a financial crunch, the state-run transporter is desperate to scramble funds through advertisements because a hike in passenger fares is ruled out for the time being, given upcoming assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
The transporter has set an ambitious target of raising around Rs 2,000 crore in ‘nonfare’ revenue.