Known as the lifeline of the Indian economy, Indian railways (IR) is today one of the largest railway networks in the world. With a staff strength of 1.4 million, IR, which completed 160 years in April this year, is the biggest employer in the country.
Having said that, a ­widening gap between demand and ­supply of trained manpower exists in the rail and Metro industry. Also, for a long time, the only training available was at Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s own training centre in New Delhi. This need to meet the growing capacity requirements in the rail/Metro industry led to the inception of the Indian Metro Rail Technology (IMRT) in Hyderabad.
A first-of-its-kind specialised institute on Metro and rail technology, IMRT aims to provide career opportunities for fresh as well as experienced engineers who want to make a career in the rapidly growing railway/Metro industry. Sudhir Krishna, secretary, ministry of urban development, says, “There are more than 19 upcoming Metro rail projects in the country, all aimed at making commuting easier and our cities more beautiful. However, to make this dream a reality, we will need a large number of skilled manpower. This institute is the need of the hour.”
The institute currently offers a one-year postgraduate programme in Metro and rail technology. A certificate course for working professionals and a short-term course on RAMS (reliability, availability, maintainability and safety) are also available. Open programmes in high-speed rail technology, Metro rail systems and technologies and heavy haul technology are being planned.
“The candidates passing out of IMRT will not only be employment-ready for the industry, but will also be creating and managing state-of-the-art rail/Metro systems,” says Sunil Srivastava, managing director, Barsyl, a railway consultants’ companyin India.
Scope in the industry
As per a report by McKinsey, by the year 2025, 38% of Indians will live in urban areas. Therefore, there has been a renewed ­emphasis on developing alternate modes of transportation to ease ­pressure off the conventional transport systems. Not just the Metro but the railway industry as a whole is on a rapid growth path for the next 20 to 25 years.
“New Metro rail projects in Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad are already ­facing a dearth of professionals. Until recently, the rail industry was synonymous with IR. But this is no longer true. The investments in other projects like DFCC, RRTS, Metro, Monorail etc is far larger than that of projects undertaken by IR. As per the ministry of urban development estimates, over the next 15 years, the total investment on urban transit rail projects is going to be `1 lakh crores in India. Apart from this, major investments are already underway in other parts of Middle East and South East Asia,” shares Gyan Prakash, director general, IMRT.
A graduate in engineering with a postgraduate programme in Metro rail technology can expect a starting package of Rs. 6 lakh to Rs. 7 lakh per annum. He/she can go up the ladder with a renumeration of Rs. 40 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh per annum.
Currently, trained railway professionals with two to three years of ­experience get a salary between US$3000 and US$5000 per month in countries such as Africa, Middle East and South East Asia. “Besides, good starting salaries, quick growth and personal advancement is guaranteed in this sunrise industry,” adds Prakash.
For your information
Eligibility: Engineers who have a good understanding of civil, mechanical, electrical, and electronics and communication concepts can apply for the one-year postgraduate course. Students are shortlisted as per their score in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). There is a qualifying test for students and a personal interview to get shortlisted. The open programmes are for working professionals and they are mostly nominated by their employers. The institute has some individual nominations as well
Teaching methods: Case ­studies based learning, simulations, individual and group work and continual assessments are part of the curriculum. Guest lectures by international faculty, field work and industry interaction is also part of the course. The institute has tied up with international universities like University of Delaware, USA, Monash University, Australia, and Lloyds Register Rail
Application date: IMRT’s ­flagship one-year ­postgraduate programme will start its first academic ­session in July, 2014. The open programmes run all through the year