23 Million passengers travel on Indian Railways on a daily basis. Indian Railways provide approximately 1.1 million meals to passengers every day; out of these 1 million are provided on board itself.
Catering services on Indian Railways can be classified into two broad categories viz. Mobile catering and static catering services. At present, there are 360 pairs of trains with pantry cars, which include 22 pairs of Rajdhanis, 25 pairs of Shatabdis, 18 pairs of Duronto trains and 295 pairs of mail/express trains. There are about 9686 Major and Minor Static Units on Indian Railways, which include 50 Jan Ahaars outlets, 224 Food Plazas/Fast Food Units.
The Hon’ble Minister, Suresh Prabhu has announced the unbundling of Food production and Food disbursement through a revamped New Catering Policy. Under this policy, ultra modern kitchens ranging from mega to nano with partnership of private sector would be established which would use the most hygienic and latest equipment for food preparation.
The Minister in his first budget speech had also announced the launch of E-Catering services on train, which would allow passengers to order food from the brands of their choice. Now you can order Pizzas or Burgers or even Dal Makhani on train. Interestingly such a service is not available in many railways of the developed world. The Minister also instituted a Zero Tolerance policy towards catering. “In the last six months itself, we have terminated 7 contracts, blacklisted 16 contractors, taken action against 21 officers and imposed fines in excess of Rs 4.5 Crores,” he said.