New Delhi: The Railway Budget for 2016-17 on Thursday spared passengers and goods movement from any increase in tariffs while it announced introduction of three new superfast trains and creation of dedicated north-south, east-west and east coast freight corridors by 2019.
Suresh Prabhu. Pic/AFP
Presenting his second Budget in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu promised rationalising of the tariff structure by undertaking a review to evolve competitive rates vis-a-vis other modes of transport and to expand the freight basket as a means of additional revenue mobilisation.
Unlike last year when he tweaked freight rates, Prabhu made no changes either in passenger fares or freight rates. The three new superfast trains announced by him include 'Humsafar' which will be a fully air-conditioned 3AC service with option of meals. 'Tejas' will showcase the future of train travel in India with speeds up to 130 km per hour with onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine and wifi.
The two trains will ensure cost recovery through tariff and non-tariff measures while 'Uday' will be an overnight double-decker along with 'Utkrishit' double-decker air-conditioned yatri express on the busiest routes.
For improving quality of travel for unreserved passenger, a superfast 'Antyodya' express service would be introduced. 'Deen Dayalu' unreserved coaches with portable water and higher number of mobile charging points would also be introduced.
He also announced setting up of a Rail Development Authority to enable fair pricing of services, promote competition, protect customer interest and determine efficiency standards. The draft Bill in this regard will be ready after holding extensive stakeholder consultations.Outlining the Budget estimates for the coming year, the Minister put the plan size at Rs 1.21 lakh crore. The focus will be on capital expenditure with a mix of various sources of funding in order to ensure the projects are given assured funding.
Gross traffic receipts for the coming fiscal have been fixed at Rs 1.84 lakh crore with passenger earning growth pegged at 12.4 per cent and earning target budgeted at Rs 51,012 crore.
The freight traffic is pegged at an incremental tariff of 50 million tons, anticipating a healthier growth in the core sector of the economy. Goods earning is accordingly proposed at Rs 1.17 lakh crore. Earnings on account of other coaching and sundries have been projected at Rs 6,185 crore and Rs 9,590 crore respectively.
Pension outgo has been budgeted at Rs 45,500 crore in the coming year. Revenue generation has been targeted at Rs 1.84 lakh crore. Financial performance for the current year has reflected a savings of Rs 8,720 crore, neutralising most of the revenue shortfall.
Operating ratio has been targeted at 92 per cent for the coming year as against 90 per cent in 2015-16, restricting the growth of ordinary expenses by 11.16 per cent after building in impact of 7th Pay Commission recommendation, planned reduction in diesel and electricity consumption.
The three new freight corridors of North-South will connect Delhi and Chennai, East-West connecting Kharagpur to Mumbai and East Coast from Kharagpur to Vijawada. "It is proposed to put these three projects on high priority to ensure structuring, award and implementation in a time-bound manner through innovative financing schemes including PPP," Prabhu said in his more than hour long speech.
Before the current financial year ends on March 31, almost all contracts for civil engineering work would have been awarded. Contracts worth Rs 24,000 crore have been awarded since he assumed office against Rs 13,000 crore worth of contracts in the last six years.
No changes in passenger fares and freight rates in Railway Budget for 2016-17
Indian Railways to spend Rs.1,21,000 crore on capital expenditure next fiscal
Railways to spend Rs.8.5 lakh crore in 5 years on upgrade: Suresh Prabhu
Railways to borrow Rs 18,580 crore in 2016-17 fiscal
An everyday scene on Mumbai locals. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Two elevated suburban railway corridors - Churchgate-Virar and CST-Panvel to be constructed in Mumbai; Ring railway covering 21 stations to be revived with state participation
Railways to get Rs 40,000 cr budgetary support from the government
LIC to invest Rs.1.5 lakh crore at favoured terms: Prabhu
India's first railway auto hub in Chennai to be inaugurated soon
Station development and re-development, monetisation of land to raise rail revenue from non-freight sources
Railways to monetise land on tracks by leasing out for horticulture and tea plantation
Overnight double-decker trains to be introduced on business rail routes
Antyodaya Express long-distance superfast train for unreserved passengers: Prabhu
All-India 24X7 helpline for women
Rs 30,000 crore is the loss on subsidising passenger fares, says Railway Minister
Ticket cancellation via phone calls soon
Railways to install 1,780 automatic ticketing machines
Camera surveillance in all stations in phases: Prabhu
1 lakh calls made daily to get rail passengers' feedback: Prabhu
17,000 more toilets in 475 stations this fiscal: Prabhu
E-ticketing supports 1.2 lakh concurrent users now: Prabhu
Railway safety record is better this year than previous years but much more needs to be done
Railways to shift to completely paperless contract system in 2016-17, says minister
400 railway stations to be equipped with wifi, 100 this year, says Prabhu
400 stations to be re-developed through PPP
Direct procurement of diesel to help save Rs 1,500 crore in 2016-17
Time-table freight container train to be run on pilot basis
Railways to increase lower berth quota for senior citizens by 50 per cent
Ajmer, Amritsar, Gaya, Mathura, Nanded, Nashik, Puri, Tirupati, Varanasi, Nagapattinam and other pilgrim stations to be beautified
Three direct services - fully air-conditioned Humsafar to travel at 130-km per hour
Bar-coded tickets to be introduced at select stations on pilot basis
E-booking of tickets on concessional passes for journalists introduced
Cleaning of coach on demand to be introduced; Disabled enabled toilet in 11 Class-A stations this year
33 pc reservation to women in reserved quota in Railways will be introduced
Children menu to be introduced on pilot basis on trains
E-catering from 40 stations now to 408 soon: Prabhu
17 states agree to form JVs with Indian Railways for construction of rail-over-bridges
124 MPs have committed to contribute from MPLADS for passenger amenities
Overnight double-decker train Uday Express to be introduced on busiest routes, carrying capacity to be 40 per cent more, says Prabhu
Bids for setting up 2 locomotive factories finalised
Railways to generate 9 crore mandays in financial year 2017-18 and 14 crore mandays in 2018-19, says Prabhu
Outlay for railway electrification increased by 50 per cent; 2,000-km route to be electrified next fiscal
Expect operating ratio of 92 per cent as against 90 per cent in current year: Prabhu
Prabhu promises better connectivity to northeastern states
Rs 8,720 cr saving in 2015-16 budget in fuel cost like power
2,800 km of new tracks to be commission in the next year
These are challenging times, toughest time; facing dual headwinds: Prabhu
Core objective to become engine of economic growth, create empolyment and provide customer service: Prabhu
Rail Budget 2016 will transform lives, says Suresh Prabhu
We need to reorganise and rejuvenate the Indian Railways: Prabhu
Budget prepared after discussion with stakeholders, says Rail minister
My vision is to make Railways the backbone of India’s economy: Prabhu