In what can be described as a major innovation by the Indian Railways in order to ensure proper food quality on trains, the Railways have reportedly started printing barcodes on food packets. Other steps taken to tackle poor quality of food include printing details such as the name of the kitchen and date of packaging. This will go a long way in ensuring standardization and fixing responsibility as far as the quality of food served on the trains is concerned.
As per Union Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal, who was replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, this step which has already been initiated in some places, will be taken across the country. Goyal also said that some other steps have also been taken to improve quality of food such as bringing branded food providers on board, providing e-catering services on trains, posting food safety supervisors in kitchen units to monitor food safety and hygiene practices and also carrying out surprise inspections by railway officers, including food safety officers.
It must be noted that in order to improve the catering services and provide safe and high-quality food to rail travelers, a new catering policy had been issued on February 27, 2017. The Railways have also taken a number of other steps in its commitment towards ensuring a better quality of catering and food services. The IRCTC has also upgraded 46 kitchen units in the last two years. Moreover, CCTV cameras have also been installed in 38 base kitchens for monitoring food preparation.
With Piyush Goyal at the helm of affairs, the Railways seem to be taking all possible steps in order to ensure that the rail travelers are able to enjoy high-quality food in trains. Special care is being taken to ensure that poor food quality is tackled. As per Piyush Goyal, web-based live streaming is being extended to kitchens. Moreover, menus are being rationalized by the IRCTC in order to ensure that quality of meals served to the passengers is upgraded. He also stated that while no committee has been set up to enquire into quality, third-party audits are being conducted by IRCTC to ensure proper quality of food served in trains. He acknowledged that “some complaints” are received from time to time concerning meal quality which is “appropriately addressed”.
This is in sharp contrast to the kind of popular impression about the miserable food quality that was served in the Railways around five years ago before the Modi government transformed the experience of rail travel in India. The way the Railways is setting high standards for itself, it seems that it will be able to achieve world-class standards as far as food quality is concerned, sooner than expected.