Indian Railways Minister, Suresh Prabhu has presented Railway Budget 2015 today ( 26-Feb-2015). He outlined four main goals for Railways : 1) to deliver a sustained improvement in customer experience; 2) make railways a safer means of travel; 3) modernize infrastructure of railways and 4) expand capacity and finally make railways financially self-sustainable.
He opined that PM Narendra Modi’s government will work on these four goals to get railways out of its abysmal state.
Indian Railways is the world’s largest passenger carrier (23 million a day), fourth-largest freight carrier (1 billion tonne a year) that operates 19,000 trains daily covering a 65,000 kilometers of route length, the Indian Railways truly is a story of scale.
Below are the some of the key points / highlights of Railway Budget 2015.
Highlights of Railway Budget 2015 :
- Rs 8.5 lakh crore will be invested in Railways over 5 years. Railways to raise finances via SPVs (Special Purpose vehicles)and partnerships.
- Rail fares (passenger) won’t be hiked.
- Reserved ticket booking window raised to 120 days. (We can book tickets 4 months in advance now)
- Railway will spend Rs 96,182 crore on capacity expansion in FY16 and will move towards paperless ticketing
- 9 hi-speed corridors announced.
- SMS alert for arrival-departure services.
- Railways allots 67% more funds for passenger amenities.
- Railways Initiatives – Women safety (cameras will be installed in selected mainline coaches and ladies compartments. Wi-Fi facility in 400 stations. Reserved ticket booking window raised to 120 days.
- 77 projects for expansion at cost of Rs 96,000 crore announced.
- A new mechanism for making regulations, setting performance standards and tariffs to be setup.
- 17,000 toilets to be replaced by bio-toilets; stress on ‘clean Railways’.
- Nationwide 24*7 helpline announced (24*7 helpline 138 will be effective from 1/3/2015; Toll free No. 182 for security complaints).
- Private agencies to be asked to set up waste-to-energy conversion plants.
- To increase track capacity by 14 percent to 138,000 km.
- The minister announced E-catering in 108 trains and ordering food on the IRCTC website.
- Mobile charging stations for general class coaches.
- More general class coaches will be added to select trains for benefit of the common man.
- Mr Prabhu announced the construction of road over-bridges for unmanned level crossing and the expenditure of Rs 6581 crore for level crossing safety.
- Plan Budget to go up by 52 percent to Rs 1.11 lakh crore for FY16.
- Rs 2000 cr for Coastal Connectivity Program.
- Review for new trains to be done and completed in the current Budget Session itself.
(courtesy : PTI)