The Modi Govt. took a bold initiative when it decided to carry forward the proposal of setting up a railway university. The initial plans for the university were made during the UPA regime. Even though developments have been slow so far, Prime Minister Modi has put in efforts to catalyse the process. He also hopes that the university will help India become a global site for research and development in areas of management and railway engineering.
The railway university will be a full-fledged institution dedicated to understanding the Indian Railways’ 163-year-old history. The railways in India have undergone tremendous change. From being an instrument of colonial exploitation to being a lifeline for the nation. Currently, India’s humongous railway network helps 18 million people travel each day. The Indian Railways has 1.4 million employees.
I think, the Indian Railways have never been given the importance it deserves. Setting up a university will get people to think and understand the railways from a different light. The railway university could become a site for new opportunities. The campus of the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) in Vadodara, Gujarat will be where the university will initially function. However, there were also reports that the Gujarat Govt. allocated 31 acres of land for the university.
Setting up of such a university will urge people in the country to want to go beyond the usual activities of ticket booking and travelling. It’ll act as a bridge between the general and technical aspects of the railways. Experts from China visited the country to help formulate the right kind of curriculum and identify the areas that’ll need research. The MBA and M.Tech courses that the university will offer in its first phase will expose interested students to hitherto unexplored domains.
I still remember when I was part of a debate, where I argued and highlighted the benefits of having a course dedicated to the railways. My argument was countered with questions on the amount of interest it’ll generate in students and the kind of job opportunities that the course will offer.
According to me, once the university finally opens, it’ll be successful in attracting a particular section of the population that’s interested in working for/in a government institution.