The Indian Railways has asked the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to shortlist firms which will supply ready-to-eat food services on trains running across the country. Since 2010, the Indian Railways has employed catering services through its own means but has recently began the process of transferring its food services back to IRCTC. In lieu of the transfer, IRCTC has begun to aggregate firms which will supply RTE services to passengers with quality and hygiene at the forefront.
Transfer Of Catering Services
The decision to transfer catering services back to IRCTC was decided as part of the rail budget of 2016-2017 and would employ the board to take over the catering services in a phased manner. According to Economic Times, IRCTC will employ firms which will have validity across all railways for a period of five years. “We are looking into totality of the issue and IRCTC will take over catering services in phases. However, a policy decision will be taken soon,” added Girish Pillai, member of the Railway Board.
Lack Of Infrastructure
Even with the transfer of catering services, IRCTC currently does not have the infrastructure to provide quality meals across all railways lines. Due to the lack of management, IRCTC will sought out help from food-tech startups and other food service firms to provide catering services to Railway passengers. Speaking to ET, an official noted that “IRCTC still doesn’t have enough staff to efficiently manage a huge catering business. Thus, after taking over the base kitchens, it plans to rope in food majors in the city who will supply RTE food based on e-orders.”
According to ET, IRCTC will take over the central kitchens in Nagpur and Ballarshah, part of the Nagpur Division of Central Railways, and will employ firms to provide hygienic and quality meals to passengers travelling on these lines. Even with the transfer of catering services to IRCTC, there are no plans to transfer the running of stalls on Railway platforms to IRCTC, according to ET.