[Answered] Critically analyze the current state of railroad safety in India. What steps can be taken to improve this situation?

Introduction: What is the recent incident regarding rail safety

Body: Explain reason for rail accidents and what steps could be taken to improve it.

Conclusion: Conclude with a positive statement.

The current state of railroad safety was once again in the news following the recent incident of rail derailment in Balasore, Odisha which resulted in the tragic loss of lives of many people. The number of railroad accidents and people dying from these incidents has steadily increased over the years and such incidents account for 8% of total accidental deaths in India. A government railway safety report for 2019-20 found derailments were responsible for 70% of railway accidents, up from 68% the previous year.

What are the reasons for rail accidents?

  • Effect of temperature: Rail tracks undergo expansion in summer and contraction in winter which requires regular maintenance, and onsite inspection.
  • Tracks maintenance: This is a major reason for the derailment of trains. Various reports have found that there is a continuous need to assess the geometrical and structural conditions of the tracks.
  • Human Error: There have been reports of bad driving and overspeeding in cases of derailments.
  • Mechanical reason: It has been found that more than a third of derailments have been due to poor structures of coaches and wagons.
  • Signal System error: The recent incident in Balasore highlights the error in electronic signaling which was responsible for sending wrong signals to change tracks.

What steps can be taken to improve the situation?

  • Kavach System: This is an automated accident prevention system that works by applying brakes automatically even if a driver fails to do so and it can help prevent collision on tracks.
  • Budgetary allocation: More and more allocation of budget is being allotted to railway infrastructure every year to improve passenger safety.
  • Modernization of Railways: The government has been committed to the modernization of railways by attending to the suggestions of the Kakodkar committee, and Bibek Debroy committee and launch of programs like Vande Bharat, Tejas Express, and PM Gati Shakti.
  • Railway Vision 2020: The railway vision of India railways remains the guiding document to make Indian railways accident-free and make use of technologies to achieve the vision.
  • Global Systems for Mobile Railways (GSM-R): This advanced railway traffic management system provides voice and data communication between trackside and onboard systems, which are being deployed.
  • Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA): This indigenous digital wireless technology developed by C-DAC is used to transmit voice and data more efficiently.
  • RailTel: It was formed as PSU to provide free high-speed Wi-Fi at Railway stations for digital inclusion.


The safety of railways should be the prime focus of the Government after recent incidents of derailment. There should be a focus on keeping the railways affordable, safe and enhancing connectivity.

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