Delivering the inaugural address of the seventh edition of the Times LitFest on Saturday, railways and communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw gave a glimpse into the evolution of the ambitious Vande Bharat train project, and how it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who exhorted the teams working on the assignment to go for indigenisation of core technology as well as local manufacturing, instead of looking to the West for ideas. “That reflects his zeal for nation-building,” said Vaishnaw.
Times Litfest: Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw interacts with India’s ‘aspirational generation’
As he walked down the aisles to interact with the audience, Vaishnaw regaled them with several anecdotes. Striking a parallel between the ambitious task of building the Vande Bharat train from scratch, and the school CGPA scores of students, he said, “What do your parents say when you get a seven, eight, nine or even ten in the CGPA score? They want more. My boss (PM Modi) is like that. He says ‘this is good, but do better’… he keeps raising the bar… the expectations are set so high that sometimes we are looking at the roof.”
Vaishnaw, who has been instrumental in modernising the railways while also working on next-gen digital and telecom policies, said the made-in-India train was better than its European and Japanese counterparts when it comes to in-cabin vibrations or the noise levels. “It’s as quiet as a maths class,” he quipped. While rapidly rolling out Vande Bharat, the railways is also looking to expand the global footprint of the semi-high speed train and is eyeing the export market.
Times Litfest: ‘Whatever work we do, Modiji keeps raising the bar’, says Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
The minister, an engineer who joined the civil service before moving to the private sector, listed the Vande Bharat project as one of the key foundational pillars of the Atmanirbhar Bharat and localisation effort of the government. Speaking to an audience brimming with young faces, he asked the students to develop further on the theme further as they move ahead in life. “We are laying a strong foundation for society. As you move ahead in your career and life, you will get the foundations of a developed country, and the opportunity to make it even more developed.”
Speaking about the challenges of developing the train right from scratch, Vaishnaw said, “It was tough, it was complex. But in January 2019, we had the first Vande Bharat roll out. All the world’s top manufacturers were literally shaken at our achievement… We did the testing, made the requisite modifications, and I am pleased to tell you that the first two trains did a run that was equivalent to almost 18 rounds of the earth’s circumference. The PM still said, ‘the train is good, but make it even better’.”
The minister, whose speech was repeatedly applauded by the audience, also spoke to the “aspirational generation” about their social media habits. He asked how many of them had seen a video of the Vande Bharat train traveling at a speed of 180 kmph, with a glass full of water staying undisturbed while placed on a table. “This is not (Instagram) reel, but real,” he said after the audience gave an overwhelmingly positive response.
The post is published through a syndicated feed and attributed to Times Of India