Revamping of Catering System in Indian Railways
In accordance with the new Catering Policy issued on 27th February 2017, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution on trains. In order to upgrade quality of food preparation, IRCTC is to set up new kitchens and upgrade existing ones. Zonal Railways are to manage minor static units (catering stall /milk stalls/ trolleys etc.) except base kitchens and kitchen units. The policy mandates the zonal railways to hand over the kitchens managed by them to IRCTC. Food Plaza, Fast Food Units and Food Court will continue to be managed by IRCTC. At present, IRCTC has taken over almost all units in phased manner. Further, the procedure /guidelines/policy laid down for allotment of contracts for running various stalls at railway platforms have been simplified.
This revamping of existing railway catering system by carrying out unbundling under Catering Policy 2017 is primarily aimed at providing quality hygienic food to our customers at affordable prices and any consequential boost to revenue earnings thereof is only incidental to the above exercise.
IRCTC has taken the following initiatives to upgrade mobile catering services:-
- Food: The menu of prepaid trains has been revised to upgrade the quality of meal served to the passengers
- Packaging of meal items: The meal Trays of bio-degradable material with air tight sealed cover for packing of meals from kitchens has been introduced initially in selected Rajdhani and Duronto trains.
- Qualification of Service staff: In order to upgrade and to bring professionalism in catering services, the qualification and experience in the relevant field for on board staff has been fixed.
- Hygiene: Provision of hand sanitizers has been introduced in prepaid trains and the same is provided to the travelling passengers before service of meal. Further, hand gloves have also been made mandatory
- Monitoring of catering services: IRCTC has deployed Supervisors for on-board monitoring of catering services in mobile units. The on board monitoring staff have been provided with pre-installed complaint/feedback monitoring application on Tablets. Further, CCTV cameras have been installed in Base Kitchens for real time monitoring.
- Up-gradation of Kitchens: 16 number of Base Kitchens have been up-graded with modern and mechanised equipments. Food Safety Supervisors have been deployed in IRCTC managed base kitchens for audit of food safety, hygiene and sampling of the cooked food and raw material used for preparation of meals.
- Service trolleys: Service trolleys have been introduced in Rajdhani and Duronto trains for smooth service in trains to the travelling passengers.
- Implementation of POS Machines: Billing by POS machines in selected mobile units initially under IRCTC to avoid overcharging of meal by service providers. Further, the other mobile units are also being covered progressively.
- Uniforms: New uniforms have been introduced for service and production staff of service providers.
- Service through Train Side Vending: Facilitating of TSV services over Indian Railways through Refreshment Rooms, Jan Aahars and Cell Kitchens.
- Ready to Eat Meals: Introduction of Ready to Eat Meals in order to enable the passengers to have variety in meals.
This information was given by the Minister of State of Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.