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  • India’s urban rail network has increased significantly in the last decade; up from 81 km in 2006 to about 375 km currently operational in nine cities. Average daily ridership has increased from about 0.9 million passengers in 2006 to 3.87 million in 2016. Delhi Metro’s annual ridership crossed the 1 billion passenger mark in 2016-17.

  • The outlook for the sector is promising. Over 100 projects spanning 2,000 km are planned at an investment of Rs 6.4 trillion.

  • However, this project pipeline faces risks related to financing, land acquisition, securing of regulatory clearances and geological surprises.

  • To resolve some of these issues, the Government of India approved the new Metro Rail Policy 2017 in August 2017.This new policy aims to facilitate innovative financing, revive private investment by making public-private partnerships (PPP) contracts mandatory, promote transit-oriented development and provision of last-mile connectivity, and improve project appraisal procedures.

  • In another major government initiative, norms to procure at least 75 per cent of rail cars and 25 per cent of critical equipment locally were introduced in April 2017 under the 'Make in India' initiative.The government has also standardised norms for rolling stock and signaling equipment applicable to over 90 per cent of the present imports. The move is expected to enable technology transfers, result in cost reductions, de-riskthe industry from exchange rate fluctuations, propel the establishment of ancillary units along with manufacturing hubs, etc.

  • Cities across India are experimenting with state-of-the-art technologies to make urban rail systems more efficient, reliable and passenger-friendly given the rapidly increasing ridership. Indian metro systems are steadily moving from semi-automatic to unattended train operations/driverless train operations. Most upcoming systems also have plans to deploy the highest grades of signalling such as communications-based train control (CBTC) systems. Several systems are also exploring deployment of advanced fare payment systems such as open loop ticketing and bank cards.

  • In addition, new concepts and technologies such as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), internet of trains, big data, predictive maintenance, use of renewable energy to power trains and stations, etc. are entering the Indian urban rail space aimed at transforming the sector.

  • The mission of this conference is to examine key trends, study the impact of recent policy initiatives, highlight opportunities,and discuss key outstanding issuesin the development of urban rail systems in India. The conference will also showcase noteworthy projects, latest technologies and construction techniques, and the best practices in the segment.

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