Railway Budget 2015-16 Presented, Priority on Safety, Modernisation

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New Delhi, Feb 26: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu unveiled his maiden Budget on Thursday incorporating a lot of suggestions from Prime Minister's office. Giving much priority to security, cleanliness, and passengers' conveniences, he prepared the budget and presented it in Lok Sabha today.

The chartered-accountant-turned politician whose induction as the Railway Minister three months ago can be touted as the analyst of the crisis that the Railway has been facing in the country. Taking all the suggestions from people into account, he tried to shut the opposition parties' mouth up with pro-passenger and pro-development railway budget. However, no new train was announced in the budget. The focus is on the clean India, and upgradation of technology.

He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for showing all the Indians to build a prosperous nation. He began his speech referring to Mahatma Gandhi, who took a train voyage before he started the freedom movement in India. He said that the Railway Ministry will directly interact with public after Budget on web. This budget is a reflection of our vision for the future, he said.

The budget could be lauded by the common people as there will be no increase in passenger fare. Prabhu announced that the government has set four goals for the next five years in the railway: 1. Customer experience to receive a huge boost, 2. Safer Travel, 3. Modernize infrastructure, 4. to make railways financially self-sustainable. And all 4 goals will be achieved through 5 drivers.

Driver 1: Plan as presented by white paper and budget

Driver 2: Building Partnerships

Driver 3: Leveraging additional resource

Driver 4: Revamping management practices, process and human resources

Driver 5: Highest standards of Governance and Transparency

He announced to increase the number of Advanced Booking to 120 days. In next 5 years, the priority will be to improve capacity on high density networks. He said that the gauge conversion, electrification will be on priority to improve the existing line. 

The ministry will invest Rs 8.5 lakh crore over 5 years in Indian railways, to increase track capacity by 14% to 138,000 km. "Since People are the real assets. It is important to harness the human resource assets through training Operating ratio proposed at 88.5%. It is the best ever in 9 years", he said.

The ministry will spend Rs 96,182 crore on Capacity Expansion the fiscal 2015-16 for 77 new projects for doubling, tripling/quadrupling/ electrification.

There will be system to move Towards Paperless Ticketing. There will be an Mobile App to address passenger complaints and Online booking for wheelchairs.

Suresh Prabhu allotted 67% more funds for passenger amenities, and Rs 120 crore for lifts and escalators to facilitate movement. The ministry will develop satellite train terminals for decongestion and suburban dwellers. In collaboration with NIFT and NID, passengers will be provided better bed rolls and inner coach designs.

The rail coaches entrances will be widened for specially-abled, trains will save 20% journey time within next 2 years. There will have wi-fi in all the B-category stations. There will be modern facilities for disabled, senior citizens, patients through IRCTC.

The minister allocated Rs 2000 cr for Coastal Connectivity Program; Rs.2500 cr through BOT/Annuity route. 1000 MWSolar plant; 100DEMUs to dual fuel.

Here is the Highlights of the Railway Budget of this Fiscal 2015-16

- Trains will be made more punctual

- Need to made Railways self sustainable, we have fixed goals for ourselves. Will make Rail a safer means of travel

- Good governance emerges out of participative governance – people's involvement very high with railways

- 492 section of IR -running at a capacity of more than 100%; 228 running between 80-100%

Railways Minister sets 4 goals:

- Goal 1: Sustained and measurable growth/efficiency

- Goal 2: Improve Safety

- Goal 3: Expand capacity and modernization

- Goal 4: To make Railways financially independent

All 4 goals will be achieved through 5 drivers

Driver 1: Plan as presented by white paper and budget

Driver 2: Building Partnerships

Driver 3: Leveraging additional resource

Driver 4: Revamping management practices, process and human resources

Driver 5: Highest standards of Governance and Transparency

- In next 5 years our priority will be to improve capacity on high density networks

- To look at gauge conversion, electrification. Priority in next 5 years to improve existing line capacity

- To tap other sources for funding railway projects, revamping management practices. Transforming Railways will require us to partner with key stakeholders. We will work close with the states. 

- To invest Rs 8.5 lakh crores over 5 years in indian railways, to increase track capacity by 14% to 138,000 km

- No Increase in Passenger fare. 

- Clean India is top priority.

- New toilets to be built, bio-toilets to be seated in coaches. 17000 toilets to be replaced and vacuum toilets will be looked at.

- An all India toll free number 138 to be operational from now

- Security related complaint helpline no. 132 to be initiated

- A Mobile application to address complaints of people will be launched
 
- Food can be ordered from the IRCTC website at the time of booking. E-catering has been introduced on some trains on experimental basis, depending on the response, it will be extended

-Water vending machines to be introduced in more stations
 
- SMS alert services to be introduced for informing delays and departures

- Charging facilities for mobile phones to be extended in all trains and stations

-Online booking of retiring rooms has already been initiated; booking of locker rooms will also be initiated soon

- Will allow wheel chairs to be booked at the time of reservation

- Propose to increase the quota of lower berths for senior citizens

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

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

- More general class coaches to be added to the trains for common people

-All new coaches to be brail enabled for visually impaired and have broader gates for the differently abled

- A Multilingual e-Ticketing System to be created

- MPs to be appealed to donate from their MPLAD funds for the Railways

- Surveillance cameras on select trains and women's compartments for safety measure

- Selected stations will be improved

- Number of Advanced Booking will be increased to 120 days

- System to reflect the Indian culture

- Satellite railway terminals in major cities to be set

- National Institute of Design to design ladders for climbing to upper berth

- North east region and Meghalaya to be brought on the Railway map of India
 
- Railways must expand freight handling capacity

- For the benefit of the farmers, a state of art perishable cargo centre under completion at the Azadpur Mandi

- Speed of 9 freight corridors to be increased to complete inter-city travel overnight.

- To consider lighter design for new wagons for fuel efficiency

- 750km of civil contracts will be awarded on DFC In FY16

- Condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in rail accidents

- To avert accidents, Audio-Visual warnings at unmanned level crossings to be implemented

- Freight trains speed to be enhanced
 
- "Kayakalp" to help in Technology Upgradation of the Railways

- Malaviya chair for Railway technology at IIT (BHU) Varanasi to be set up to help in metal research
 
- Corporate safety Plans; ISRO to be involved; 3438 level Xings to be eliminated, Railway expenses increased by 2600 %

- Propose to install train collision avoidance systems

- Rs 2000 cr for Coastal Connectivity Program; Rs.2500 cr through BOT/Annuity route. 1000 MWSolar plant; 100DEMUs to dual fuel

- Yoga training to be given to RPF staff
 
- 5-year corporate safety plan to be ready in 3 months to identify annual quantifiable targets

- Focus on good governance and transparency in the system

- Skill development and self employment to be encouraged on Konkan Railway model

- IRTC to promote Gandhi tour journey to celebrate anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's return from South Africa

- To increase annual passenger capacity to 30 million from 21 million

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