Railways on Monday announced a new policy for its catering services which shall separate the functioning of its cooking and food distribution onboard. Launching the new catering policy, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, “In this new Catering Policy food production and food distribution will be delinked. This will be a marriage between the best of both worlds. Food can be cooked anywhere like the state of the art kitchens of IRCTC in a hygienic manner using mechanized system. Food can be distributed using professionals from the hospitality industry. For making of food SHGs especially women SHGs can be used which will benefit them.”
What you can expect from this new policy:
1) One big change will be that the cooking and distribution of food will be taken up by two different service providers. Distribution would be undertaken by stakeholders from the hospitality industry.
2) The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation will be put in charge of on-board catering from here on. While they used to have this position earlier, they were removed from these duties in 2010. Now, the IRCTC will take over in a phased manner.
3) According to the ministry, the cooking will now take place in state-of-the-art kitchens. Base kitchens will be set up in major railway stations additionally.
4) Food stalls at railway stations will no longer be permanent fixtures. There will now be a 5-year tenure that all stalls would have to adhere to.
5) In a bid to ensure that there are equal and fair employment opportunities through this policy, there will be 33% of sub quota allotment for women when it comes to the allotment of food stalls.
Highlights of the New Catering Policy 2017
- Mobile Units and Base Kitchens
• IRCTC will manage catering service on all mobile units including catering services on all the trains started on short notice.
• Pantry car contracts awarded by zonal railways will also be reassigned to IRCTC.
• Meals for all mobile units will be picked up from the nominated kitchens that are owned operated and managed by IRCTC.
• All four Base Kitchens under departmental operation of Zonal Railways and all kitchen units will be handed over to IRCTC on ‘as is where is basis’.
• Kitchen structures/ land/space will be handed over by Zonal Railways to IRCTC for a period of 10 years which can be extendable for another period of 5 years.
• IRCTC will develop the Business model for the kitchens so that they can expand and enhance the service.
• IRCTC will determine the menu of standard meals and A-la-carte items.
• IRCTC may also involve Self Help groups for providing catering related services.
- Static Units
• Zonal Railways will manage the static units except base kitchens and kitchen units to be handed over to IRCTC.
• IRCTC will be responsible for catering services in static units like food plazas, food courts and fast food units.
• Allotment of all minor catering units at all category of stations will be done through open tender.
• Allotment of Milk Stalls at all stations will be done through open tender system as against calling application.
• Tenure of all static units (except kitchen units and food plaza) will be 5 years only.
• 33 per cent sub quota for women in allotment of each category of minor catering units at all category of stations has also been provided.