On 25th February 2016, Railway Budget for the fiscal year 2016-17 has been presented by Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu.
- The key budget document dubbed “Annual Financial Statement” aka “Budget Statement”, showing estimated receipts and expenditure, has to be laid before Parliament in respect of every financial year which runs from 1st April to 31st March w.r.t Article 112 of the Constitution.
Before heading towards the complete highlights of the rail budget let’s take a brief view on the history of rail budget:
- In 1920-21, a 10 member Acworth Committee headed by British railway economist William Acworth made a “Acworth Report” which led to separation of railway finances of India from the general government finances in 1924.
- The first live telecast of railway budget took place on 24 March 1994.
- Lalu Prasad Yadav presented the railway budget 6 times in a row, as he remained the Railways Minister from 2004 to May 2009.
- In 2000, Mamata Banerjee became the first women Railway Minister of India.
- In 2002, she also became the first female Minister of Railways to present the Railway budget.
- In 2014 railway budget, Railway Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda announced the first bullet train and 9 High-Speed Rail of India.
Here are the complete Highlights of Railway Budget:
- Slogan for all – “Sabka saath sabka vikas”
- 3R’s of Budget – Restructure, Reorganize and Rejuvenate
- Capital expenditure – Rs 1, 21,000 crore
- Expected Operating Ratio – 92%
- Expected Revenues – Rs 1,84,820 cr next year
- Budgetary support from Govt – Rs 40,000 crore
- Saving from last year’s estimates – Rs 8,720 crore
- Innovation grants to start-ups – Rs 50 crore
- Head of innovative council of Indian Railways – Ratan Tata
- Insurance company agreed to fund Rs 1.5 lakh – LIC
- Expenditure on Modernization of railway infrastructure in 5 years – Rs 8.5 lakh crore
- Elimination of unmanned level crossing – By 2020
- Proposed freight corridors – Delhi-Chennai, Kharagpur-Mumbai, Kharagpur-Vijayawada
- Location of India’s first rail auto hub – Chennai
- New name for coolies – Sahayaks (will be trained in soft skills)
- North East India states to be connected through broad gauge – Mizoram & Manipur
- Cabinet approval for joint ventures with state govts – 6 MoUs signed with state govts
- Sub-quota for women in each of the reserved categories in catering – 33%
- Increase in seat quota for senior citizens – 50%
- Number of bio toilets & additional toilets in 475 stations – 17,000
- Publishing of magazine in all regional languages – Rail Bandhu
- Initiation of WiFi services – 100 stations this year
- Commissioning of new tracks – 2800 km
- Electrification – 1,600 km in this year and 2,000 km proposed for the next year.
For Unreserved Passenger:
- Antyodaya Express – A long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service to be operated on dense routes.
- Two to four Deen Dayalu coaches will be introduced in some long distance trains for unreserved travel to enhance our carrying capacity for the masses.
For the reserved passenger – Humsafar, Tejas and UDAY:
- Humsafar – Fully air-conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals.
- Tejas – Will showcase the future of train travel in India by operating at speeds of 130 kmph and above, it will offer onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine, Wi-Fi, etc.
- UDAY – Utkrisht DoubleDecker Air-conditioned Yatri (UDAY) Express on the busiest routes, expected to increase carrying capacity by almost 40%.
- New SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) coaches would cater to emerging needs of customers and also ensure lower unit cost of operations due to higher carrying capacity.
Plan to introduce bar-coded tickets on pilot basis to tackle menace of ticketless travel.
Ticket vending machines – Initiating sale of platform tickets through ticket vending machines which would be made compatible with cash and credit/debit cards
- Intend sale of tickets through hand-held terminals for short-distance travellers.
- Introduced 1,780 automatic ticket vending machines.
E-ticketing facility – Railways will open the e-ticketing facility to foreign debit/credit cards for foreign tourists and NRIs.
- Enhanced capacity of e-ticketing system from 2000 tickets/min to 7,200/min.
- E-booking ticket facility on the concessional passes available to journalists.
- Facility of cancellation of tickets through 139 telephone line.
Improving customer interface:
- FM Radio stations for providing train borne entertainment by installing PA systems in trains.
- GPS based digital displays inside coaches to provide real time information regarding upcoming halts.
- Wireless enabled “Rakshak” devices to intimate gangmen about approaching train.
- Drones to be used for remote monitoring of ongoing projects.
- 2,500 water vending machines at railway stations have been provided.
- Clean my Coach Service – A passenger can request cleaning of his/her coach/toilets on demand through SMS.
- Installation of additional 30,000 bio-toilets in the next financial year.
IRCTC services & food availability:
- IRCTC will extending e-catering services from existing 45 large stations to all 408 ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ class stations.
- Local cuisine of choice will be made available to passengers.
- Railwats will look at pilot availability of children’s menu items on trains.
- Baby foods, hot milk and hot water would be made available on stations and changing boards for babies would be provided in train toilets.
Rail Mitra Sewa & Accessible India:
- Expanding of Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway to help the old and disabled passengers requiring assistance at stations.
- To provide at least one Divyang friendly toilet at each platform in A1 class stations.
- To ensure availability of wheelchairs in sufficient numbers at A1 class stations.
- Battery operated cars and paid porters services for specially able people.
Last but not the least – NO FARE HIKE!!!!