Published On : Thu, Feb 26th, 2015

No tracks, no trains but no hike in passenger fares in Modi’s Govt maiden Rail budget

railbudgetNew Delhi/Nagpur: Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today presented the Rail Budget 2015 after initial fiasco caused by the Opposition demand for an apology from minister Venkaiah Naidu for ‘insult’.

Prabhu announced no increase in passenger fares or introduced any new trains.

He said new department for keeping cleanliness in railways would be created to promote the PM Narendra Modi cleanliness drive. He also announced a 24/7 railway helpline to be available on real time basis and to cut down the time taken to dispense tickets to five minutes. Railway Minister also announced the advance booking period for train tickets will be raised from 60 to 120 days. This is likely to benefit millions of railway passengers.

With Railway finances under terrible strain, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presents his maiden Rail Budget 2015 at Parliament.
India will increase investment in its overloaded railway network to 8.5 trillion rupees ($137 billion) over the next five years, the government said on Thursday, promising to modernise existing tracks and introduce faster trains.

Suresh Prabhu said the proportion of rail revenue available for investments would rise to 11.5 percent in the fiscal year starting on April 1, up from 8.2 percent in the current fiscal year.

Here are more highlights from Railway Budget, 2015:

  • “Take up one idea, make that idea of life-think of it, dream of it, live on that idea”, Suresh Prabhu concludes Rail Budget speech.
  • Skill development and self-employment to be encouraged on Konkan Railway model.
  • To impart soft skills to our staff we intend to impart regular training to our staff.
  • Will monetise rail assets rather than sell them.
  • We are launching a coastal connectivity programme this year.
  • Speed on nine corridors to be increased from 110-130 to 160-200 kms per hour.
  • Propose to get system audit conducted for all Railways in next 2 months.
  • Railway to move to paperless ticketing, to introduce hand held device for TTEs.
  • Decentralise, deregulate and delegate to make freight business simpler.
  • 917 safety work projects to eliminate over 3,000 unmanned crossings in all states.
  • Railways propose to move from preventive to predictive maintenance.
  • We are preparing 5-year safety plan which will be ready by June 2015.
  • Safety is of paramount importance. Loss of human life is too heavy a price to pay.
  • Transformation of Railways have huge opportunities for ‘Make In India’ campaign.
  • Speedier Railway: 9 high-speed corridors, high speed trains, Make in India opportunities.
  • High speed trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
  • Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Mumbai overnight trains.
  • Construction of long-loop lines will be expedited.
  • 1330 per cent increase in railway electrification over previous year.
  • By 2019, the proposed investment in Railways would be in tune of Rs 856,021 crore.
  • Meghalaya has been included in the Railway map of India.
  • Now you can book rail tickets 4 months in advance against current 60 days.
  • Committed to promote rail connectivity to northeast India.
  • National Institute of Design to design ladders for climbing to the upper berth.
  • Satellite railway terminals to be introduced in major cities in 10 select stations.
  • Now one can book rail tickets 4 months (120 days) in advance against current 60 days.
  • Govt welcomes bids from interested parties for revamp of stations.
  • AC coaches in suburban trains in Mumbai.
  • Railway cleaning will be partly outsourced.
  • Middle berth will now be reserved for women and senior citizens.
  • Trains sets similar to Bullet Trains will be introduced.
  • All newly-manufactured coaches will now be Braille-enabled.
  • We will increase number of mechanized laundry.
  • Operation 5 minutes: Passenger travelling unreserved can buy a ticket in 5 minutes.
  • Railways would utilize the Nirbhaya fund for augmenting safer travel for women.
  • Helpline number 138 to address to the problem of passengers.
  • 17000 more toilets to be replaced by Bio-Toilets.
  • Will increase track length by 20 per cent and passenger carrying capacity from 21 to 30 million.
  • Ensuring higher standards of cleanliness is our first priority.
  • No increase in the passenger fares.
  • Happy to report an improvement in our financial performance for the year 2014-15.
  • Rail will continue to be our precious national asset, people of India will continue to own the railways.
  • Will increase quota of lower berths for senor citizens.
  • One can wheelchairs for the disabled, pregnant women and senior citizens online.
  • As part of ‘Digital India’ initiative, WiFi services on platforms to be provided.
  • Facility of online booking of wheelchair for senior citizens.
  • Facility of self-operated lockers will be made available at all railway stations.
  • Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies’ compartments.
  • Onboard entertainment on select Shatabdi Trains.
  • SMS alert services for passengers to inform them about arrival and departure of trains.
  • Another toll-free number 182 to be made functional for security complaints.
  • To provide freedom to passengers to choose their meals, e-catering has been introduced in 108 trains.
  • 4 goals for transformation of Indian Railways – customer experience to receive a huge boost, safer travel, modernize infrastructure and financially self-sustainable.
  • We will work closely with the states to make railways the backbone of the nation.
  • We have fixed goals for ourselves, we will make rail a safer means of travel.
  • Rail transport must be made reliable, comfortable and should meet global standards.
  • In the next five years our priority will be to improve capacity in high-density networks.
  • Chronic underinvestment has led to poor development of Indian Railways.
  • Investment in railways will create more jobs, environment sustainability.
  • Expresses gratitude to PM Modi to serve the people of India through the Ministry of Railways, says Suresh Prabhu.