Railway university, the brainchild of PM Modi is all set to start from September 5 of this year. PM Modi floated the idea of National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI) in 2014 and it was incorporated in that year’s railway budget. But the idea could not take off for last three years. Finally the idea got a new lease when Piyush Goyal took the reins of the railway ministry in September last year. Ashwani Lohani, the current chairman of railway board also supported the idea and tracked its implementation. Pramath Sinha — founding-dean of Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, and co-founder of Ashoka University was brought in to advise the government to make the university world class transport-infrastructure engineering.
The Railway university will start two of its flagship courses- Bachelor of Science in Transportation Technology and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Transport Management from September 5. The formal inauguration of university will be held a day before teacher’s day and classes will start from teacher’s day. “This way the university will have a memorable day to celebrate its founding,” a senior government official told media. The university offers need blind admission (scholarship according to needs of students) and provides accommodation and food facilities. Railway floated a separate not-for-profit company named Indian Railway Education Foundation (IREF) under companies act, 2013 for management of the university. It has been given deemed university status and Ashwani Lohani, chairman of railway board is the chancellor of the university.
As of now, the Railway university university will run from the campus of National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIS) in Vadodara. Although, the university is expected to be shifted to a 100-acre plot which railways has identified for Greenfield campus. NAIS gives training to Group A and B Officers of Indian Railways therefore a good place to provide some existing educational infrastructure. The institute will also get visiting faculty from top business schools like Indian Business School, Hyderabad and XLRI School of Management. University has also signed Memorandum of Association (MoA) with Cornell University, the largest Ivy League university in United States. Cabinet cleared the railway university bill and December last year and it is going to start classes in less than a year time. This is record time for implementation for projects in ministries. This signifies that lackluster attitude in central government where an idea or a bill does rounds of parliaments for years are gone.
The opening of a new railway university to train students in transportation will bring fresh ideas and energy.
India is a vast country where transportation has very important role to play in the development of country. A university dedicated to carry out specialized and inter-disciplinary research in transportation studies will give country edge in the field. The Indian Railways traverses whole country but we have not been able provide 21st century transportation facilities to people of the country except for a few cities like Delhi. Infrastructure is backbone of any economy and this new university will help the country to advance its infrastructure. According to university website it will have many schools including transport policy and law school.