In this article we will discuss about Rail-Road Competition and Co-ordination in India. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Rail-Road Competition 2. Causes of Rail-Road Competition 3. Need for Rail-Road Co-ordination 4. Measures Adopted for Proper Rail-Road Co-ordination.

Rail-Road Competition:

In India, Railways is facing increasing competition from road transports. As for example, the share of road transport in respect of freight has increased from 11 per cent in 1950-51 to 58 per cent in 1985-86 and then declined to 40 per cent in 1992. But the share of railways in respect of freight has come down from 89 per cent in 1950-51 to 42 per cent in 1985-86 and then again increased to 60 per cent in 1992.

Same is also the case in respect of passenger traffic. Thus through evil competition road transport in India is expanding its network over railway transport. Although such competition has enhanced the level of efficiency and productivity but it has also generated various problems in the transportation system.

Causes of Rail-Road Competition:

Factors which are mostly responsible for growing rail-road competition include:


(a) Flexibility of time table of road transport as compared to railways;

(b) Facilitating door to door service by road transport which the railways could not provide;

(c) Time consuming system of booking and other formalities in railway which the road transport system are not adopting;

(d) Higher operational cost of railways due to increasing expenditure on overheads as compared to lower operational cost of road transport;


(e) Increasing involvement of railways in social welfare programmes leading to higher overhead cost as compared to lower overhead cost of road transportation; and

(f) Increasing facility of route changing both for passenger and freight traffic under road transport as compared to railways.

Need for Rail-Road Co-ordination:

In order to remove such a wasteful competition, there should be proper rail-road co-ordination in the country so that one can supplement the other services accordingly. Thus there should be a balanced growth of both these two modes of transport.

Thus proper rail-road co-ordination is recommended on the following grounds:


(a) Huge investment in the fixed assets of railways should be utilised optimally for gaining maximum return;

(b) Lack of proper co-ordination between road and rail transport leads to the establishment of dual system of competitive transportation leading to huge wastage;

(c) Rail-road co-ordination is an important pre­requisite for all-round development of the country; and

(d) Rail-road co-ordination is very important for the development of new projects such as construction of river bridges, new railway lines etc.

Measures Adopted for Proper Rail-Road Co-ordination:

In order to attain proper rail-road co-ordination the Government has instituted various committees like:

(a) Mitchel Kirkness Committee, 1932,

(b) Rail-road conference, 1933,

(c) Central Transport Advisory Conference,1935,

(d) Wedgewood Committee, 1939,


(e) Road Transport Enquiry Committee, 1959 for avoiding rail-road, evil competition and to have a better understanding between these two modes of transport.

With that purpose, a Committee on Transport Policy and Co-ordination was set up in 1959 which suggested the following recommendations:

1. National Policy:

The committee suggested to enforce a national policy for the development of transportation so as to meet the growing transport needs of the country.


2. Appropriate Co-ordination:

Appropriate standards for co-ordination be developed for sharing the traffic between road and rail transport and also to reduce the competition.

3. Co-ordinated Development of different modes:

Different modes of transport should be made complementary rather than to make them competitive and a rational proportion be maintained for all modes of transport.


4. Transport Co-ordination Council:

Steps should be taken to establish a transport co-ordination council for establishing co-ordination between rail and road transport.

5. Documentation:

Steps should be taken for maintaining statistical record of different modes of transport. Such documentation would help in the formulation of required transport policies of the country. Thus there is an urgent need to develop two modes of transport simultaneously so as to have co­ordination between the two. There should therefore be balanced growth of both these two modes of transport.