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Highlights of Railway Budget 2013-14

With no fare hikes, 106 new trains and a host of proposals for travel safety and comfort, such as escalators at key stations, a new e-ticketing system and a swanky coach in select trains, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal presented his maiden annual budget.

"The growth of Indian Railways is inextricably linked with the growth of the country," Bansal said in his 80-minute budget speech in Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, that clearly bordered on populism with a fair dose of measures on fiscal discipline.

"Railways must remain financially sustainable. Resources generated must be ploughed back," he said in what was the last such annual exercise for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government before the next general elections, scheduled in 2014. 

Following are the highlights:

*22 new lines to be taken up in 2013-14

*Superfast and Tatkal charges to rise

*67 new Express trains to be introduced; 27 new passenger trains; run of 58 trains to be extended

*New debt service fund to be set up

*Will close fiscal 2012-13 with fund balance against previous deficit; need to build fund balance to Rs.30,000 crore by end of 12th Plan

*Operating ratio of 88.8 percent achieved

*Dividend reduced from 5 to 4 percent

*Electrification of 1,200 km to be completed this year

*72 additional suburban services in Mumbai and 18 in Kolkata

*No increase in passenger fares

*Rs.6,600 crore increase in earnings from fare adjustment in January

*Rs.63,000 crore investment in 2013-14 

Railway minister Pawan Bansal
Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal (Pic - AFP)

*1,047 million tonnes freight loading estimated during 2013-14

*Passenger earnings of Rs 42,000 crore estimated in 2013-14

*Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management to be set up at Secunderabad

*Chair at Delhi to promote research in reducing carbon footprint

*Winners of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Dhyan Chand awards to get free first class passes

*Complementary first class passes for parents of unmarried posthumous awardees of Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra

*Complementary passes of freedom fighters to be renewed every three years instead of annually

*New wheel factory to be set up at Rae Bareli

*Greenfiled EMU manufacturing facility at Bhilwara

*Railway energy management company to be set up to harness solar and wind energy

*1,000 crossings to be energised by solar power

*1.51 lakh vacancies to be filled up

*Locomotive cabs to be air-conditioned

*Azadi Express to be introduced to travel to places associated with
freedom struggle

*India in 1 billion tonne freight club

*By end of 2013-14, 1,500 km of contracts to be awarded for two dedicated rail corridors

*Rs.1 lakh crore target set for public-private-partnership route

*Free Wi-Fi to be provided on some trains

*Rs.100 crore for improving stations in New Delhi

*179 escalators and 400 lifts at A 1 and other select stations

*E-ticketing through mobile phones

*SMS alerts for passengers on reservation status

*Next generation e-ticketing system by end of 2013

*Seventeen bridges identified for repair

*Smoke and fire detection system envisaged

*Fire extinguishers to be kept in guard vans

*Corporate plan for 10 years to be drawn up

*Raised four companies of women RPF personnel, and another eight to be raised for women's safety

*Six more Rail Neer bottling plants to be set up

*Losses mounted from Rs.22,500 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.24,600 crore in 2012-13

*Planning Commission pegged 12th Plan at Rs.125.19 lakh crore

*Fall in accidents - per million accidents down from .41 to .13

*Aim to eliminate 31,846 level crossings 

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