Agencies, New Delhi
The Modi Government today went in for a what it called a ‘course correction’ in its first Railway Budget, announcing plans for massive involvement of the private sector, including FDI, to modernise the world’s fourth largest rail network which carries 23 million passengers a day but had slowed down due to cash crunch.
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowada, who tabled the Budget in the Lok Sabha, did not announce any fare and freight hike as the government had already over a week before the start of the Budget session increased both by a hefty 14.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively.
He,however, indicated future hikes depending on the increase in oil prices. ‘’Here, I point out that periodic revision in passenger fare and freight rates, as approved by this August House, will be linked to revisions in fuel prices in order to insulate the Railway revenue from fuel cost escalation,’’ Mr Gowda said in his Budget speech.
Some of the highlights of the Budget,which proposes highest ever plan outlay of Rs 65,445 crore, were proposals for introducing a bullet train on Mumbai-Ahmedabad route and setting up a network of High Speed Rail connecting major metros and growth centers of the country with initial fund of Rs 100 crore for the purpose, which was described as Quite insufficient by leader of the Opposition Congress in the House Mallikarjun Kharge.
Under this plan, the speed of trains will be increased to 160 to 200 kms per hour on nine select sectors.
As many as 58 new trains have been proposed in the budgets including five new Jansadharan trains, five premium trains and 27 new express trains.
Besides, eight new passenger trains, 5 DEMU services and 2 MEMU services would be introduced and run of 11 trains would be extended. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while welcoming the Rail Budget said it would set the direction not just for the Railways, but through the railways, for the entire country.
The Rail Budget will speed up the development of the country, modernise Indian Railways, and provide greater security and services to the people, he said.
However, the Opposition described the Budget as directionless, lacking in vision, having nothing new and nothing for the poor and backward regions.
There was a general feeling among experts that the Budget was lacking in specifics.
The Railway Minister, while underlining that internal revenue sources and government funding were insufficient to meet the requirement, said the Ministry was seeking Cabinet approval to allow FDI in rail sector.
Highlights of the Railway Budget 2014-15
Major challenges facing Indian railways
– The Tariff Policy adopted lacked rational approach.
– Loss per passenger/km increased from 10 paisa/km (2000-01) to 23 paisa/km (2012-13)
– Surplus revenues declining. Hardly any resources for development works.
– Rs 5 Lakh Cr required for ongoing projects alone.
– Share of Railways in Freight traffic coming down consistently
– Course correction and initiatives
– Our vision is to make Railways the largest freight carrier.
– There will be a near Plan-holiday approach.
– Prioritising amnd setting timelines for completion of ongoing projects
– Aggressive idigenisation of imported products
– Foreign Direct Investment and Public Private Participation.
– Decision Support System for project implementation and Strategic partnerships & transparency in procurement.
– The recent fare and tariff hike to mop additional revenue of about Rs.8000 cr.
– Passenger amenities/services and station management- including cleanliness and catering
– Very high emphasis to be given to improve cleanliness at stations & trains.
– 40% higher allocation, outsourcing at 50 major stations.
– Onboard housekeeping to be extended to more trains
– Increasing mechanized laundries for quality bedrolls in AC coaches, introduction of RO drinking water.
– Launching feedback service through IVRS on the quality of food.
– Food can be ordered by SMS & phone.
– Multi-pronged approach to eliminate Unmanned Level Crossings
– E booking of Railway retiring rooms
– Introducing ready-to-eat meals of reputed brands in a phased maner
– Measures for improving safety and security at stations
– Provision of Rs.1785 cr for Road-over/under bridges
– Multi-pronged approach to eliminate Unmanned Level Crossings
– Women RPF Constables to escort the ladies coaches.
– Mobile phones for all RPF escort teams in trains.
– Green Initiatives
– USe of bio-diesel up to 5 per cent of total diesel fuel consumption
– Increasing bio-tiolets in sufficient number in trains
– Eco tourim and educvation tourism in North eastern states
– Speacial traik n featuring life and works of Swami Vivekananda
– Revamping Reservation System into Next Gen e-Ticketing System.
– Realtime tracking of all trains & rolling stock
– Wifi in A1 and A category stations and in select trains.
– Internet-based Platform and Unreserved Tickets
– Future E-Ticketing to support 7200 tickets per minute and to allow 120,000 simultaneous users
– Paperless offices in indian Railways in 5 years.
Mughalsarai – Bhabua vai Naughar
Hoshiarpur-Amb – Andaura
Aurangabad – Chalisgaon
Singrauli – Ghorawal Lusa
Gabbur – Bellary
Shimoga – Sringeri – Mangalore
Badovan – Jhargram via Chandil
Jind – Hissar
Gadag- Harphanhalli (Updating)
Rail connectivity to Char-Dham, Kedarnath, Badrinath, etc.
Rail connectivity to Iron ore mines between Nayagarh-Banspani
Ahmedabad – Darbhanga Jansadharan Express via Surat
Jaynagar – Mumbai Jansadharan Express
Mumbai – Gorakhpur Jansadharan Express
Saharasa – Anand Vihar Jansadharan Express via Motihari
Saharasa – Amritsar Jansadharan Express
Mumbai Central- New Delhi Premium AC Express
Shalimar – Chennai Premium AC Express
Secunderabad- Hazrat Nizamuddin Premium AC Express
Jaipur – Madurai Premium Express
Kamakhya – Bengaluru Premium Express
AC Express Trains
Vijayawada-New Delhi AP Express (Daily)
Lokmanya Tilak (T) – Lucknow (Weekly)
Nagpur – Pune (Weekly)
Nagpur – Amritsar (Weekly)
Naharlagun – New Delhi (Weekly)
Nizamuddin – Pune (Weekly)
Ahmedabad – Patna Express (Weekly) via Varanasi
Ahmedabad – Chennai Express (Bi-weekly) via Vasai Road
Bengaluru – Mangalore Express (Daily)
Bengaluru – Shimoga Express (Bi-weekly)
Bandra (T) – Jaipur Express (Weekly) Via Nagda, Kota
Bidar – Mumbai Express (Weekly)
Chhapra – Lucknow Express (Tri-weekly) via Ballia, Ghazipur, Varanasi
Ferozpur – Chandigarh Express (6 days a week)
Guwahati – Naharlagun Intercity Express (Daily)
Guwahati – Murkongselek Intercity Express (Daily)
Gorakhpur – Anand Vihar Express (Weekly)
Hapa – Bilaspur Express (Weekly) via Nagpur
Hazur Saheb Nanded – Bikaner Express (Weekly)
Indore- Jammu Tawi Express (Weekly)
Kamakhya – Katra Express (Weekly) via Darbhanga
Kanpur – Jammu Tawi Express (Bi-weekly)
Lokmanya Tilak (T) – Azamgarh Express (Weekly)
Mumbai _ Kazipeth Express (Weekly) via Balharshah
Mumbai – Palitana Express (Weekly)
New Delhi – Bhatinda Shatabdi Express (Bi-weekly)
New Delhi – Varanasi Express (Daily)
Paradeep – Howrah Express (Weekly)
Paradeep – Visakhapatnam Express (Weekly)
Rajkot – Rewa Express (Weekly)
Ramnagar – Agra Express (Weekly)
Tatanagar – Baiyyappanahali (Bengaluru) Express (Weekly)
Visakhapatnam – Chennai Express (Weekly)
Bikaner – Rewari Passenger (Daily)
Dharwad – Dandeli Passenger (Daily) via Alnavar
Gorakhpur – Nautanwa Passenger (Daily)
Guwahati – Mendipathar Passenger (Daily)
Hatia – Rourkela Passenger
Byndoor – Kasaragod Passenger (Daily)
Rangapara North – Rangiya Passenger (Daily)
Yesvantpur – Tumkur Passenger (Daily)
Bengaluru – Ramanagaram 6 days a week (3 Pairs)
Palwal – Delhi – Aligarh
Bengaluru – Neelmangala (Daily)
Chhapra – Manduadih (6 days a week) via Ballia
Baramula – Banihal (Daily)
Sambalpur – Rourkela (6 days a week)
Yesvantpur- Hosur (6 days a week)