Rail budget highlights: No hike in passenger fares, other announcements

New Delhi: Without tinkering with passenger fares, Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his maiden budget for Indian Railways in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, promising to balance passenger needs and long-term interests of the organisation and benchmark it globally on quality, safety and reach.

"There will be no hike in railway passenger fares. We will focus on improving passenger amenities including cleanliness," Railway Minister Prabhu said.


Suresh Prabhu

Emphasising that safety, quality of service, standards and efficiency all suffered due to poor financial resources available with the Indian Railways in recent decades, the minister said all this further fed into the vicious cycle of poor investment.

He also set four goals to transform Indian Railways: Improved customer experience, safer travel, modern infrastructure and financial self-sustainability. "We will also create a separate department for taking care of cleanliness."

The highlights

No increase in passenger fares

No new trains announced

Tickets can now be booked 120 days ahead of travel date, instead of 60 days now, to tackle tout menace

17,000 toilets to be replaced by modern toilets

Railway cleaning to be outsourced

CCTVs to be introduced in select trains and suburban trains for women safety

Open wi-fi to be available at 400 railway stations; proposal to revamp the station re-development scheme

New initiative: Online booking of wheel chairs

New bullet trains to run on existing tracks

Projects worth Rs 96,182 crore to expand capacity of 9,420 km rail lines

Four dedicated freight corridors to be completed this year; 6608 kms of track to be electrified

Feasibility report of high speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad expected by mid-2015

Rail budget video

Railway helpline number 138 will become operational 24x7

SMS alert service to be introduced on train arrival/ departure

More general class coaches to be added in identified trains; more AC EMU services for Mumbai suburban section

Rail-cum-road ticket to be extended to many stations; more trains to be added under scheme for ordering food while booking tickets

Option to book rail meal online from food chain outlets

'Operation 5-minute' to be introduced to ensure ticketless passenger get regular ticket within five minute of entering station

Wagon-making scheme to be reviewed to make it easier for private investment

Speed on nine corridors to be increased from 110-130 to 160-200 kms per hour

67% more funds for passenger convenience

Preparing 5-year corporate safety plan to be ready in 3 months to identify annual quantifiable targets

Focus on rail connectivity in northeast and Jammu & Kashmir

Disposable linen on payment to be available at all stations

Toll free number 182 created for security related complaints

Investment of Rs.8.5 lakh crore in next five years

Rs 6,750 crore allocated for eliminating 3438 level crossings; 970 road-underbridge and road-overbridge to be constructed

Plan size raised by 52 per cent to Rs 111,000 crore

Over 20,00 suggestions received on improving facilities

Four goals: Deliver sustained improvement in customer facilities, Make railways safer means of travel, expand substantially, make Indian Railways self-sustainable

Budget part of trilogy: White paper already tabled, this budget, vision document soon

Railways backbone of national connectivity

Will partner with private sector to improve last mile connectivity

Railways unique integrator of modern India

The functioning of Railways must conform to highest standards of governance & transparency : Railway Min

Facilities not improved substantially over past few decades

Vicious cycle of under-investment must end

1,219 sections on network - most of them overworked

In next five years, intention to substantially augment capacity

Passenger interest of foremost importance: Suresh Prabhu

New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Thursday said the interests of the passengers will be of foremost importance to the government.

“95 percent of our passengers are common people; We have to take care of their interests, priorities & grievances,” the minister tweeted minutes before presenting his maiden budget.

railwaysIndian Railways. Pic: PTI

“We will keep in mind long term interest of Railways & interests of common passenger & try to balance both,” he tweeted.

“We have to get investments & become highly competitive in quality of services we offer,” the minister said.

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