The Railway Budget 2016 has been implemented by Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister. This is second railway budget for our Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. In this Railway Budget, Suresh Prabhu tried to balance populism with pragmatic economics as he sought innovative ways of getting the organisation on the track to recovery, and keeping the passenger fare unchanged as well as pledging cuts in freight tariffs soon.
The trains will get automatic doors and there will be entertainment systems onboard. More and more stations will get Wi-Fi as our Rail Minister announced to make train travel more appealing and business-friendly.
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Railway Budget 2016 Highlights
1. The passenger’s fare will be not hiked, so passengers should not worry about hiking of fairs.
2. The total Rail Budget is about Rs. 1.21 Lakh Crore in these challenging times when India’s economic situation is very bad.
3. This budget aims to end and eliminate all unmanned level crossings by 2020.
4. More and more bio toilets will be made i.e 17000 bio toilets and additional toilets in 475 stations will be made before the closing of this financial year.
5. The quota will be increased for senior citizens and women travellers this year.
6. About 100 stations will get wifi this year and 400 stations will get wifi next year.
7. The e-ticketing system of IRCTC will be enhanced and more and more passengers can book tickets in a minute i.e. from 2,000 tickets/minute to 7,200 tickets/minute. Due to enhancing of e-ticketing system it would support about 1.2 lakh concurrent users now as compared to 40,000 earlier.
8. CCTVs will be installed at all major stations.
9. New coaches i.e Deen Dayal coaches will be made for long distance travel for unreserved passengers. These coaches will consist of portable water and higher number of mobile charging points.
10. The IRCTC will provide catering service in a phased manner. The passengers will made local cuisine of choice.
11. The toilets can be cleaned by making a request through SMS.
12. Foods for children and baby will be made available for travelling mothers.
13. GPS displays will be installed in coaches that will show upcoming stations.
14. The candidates can cancel the tickets through 139 helpline number.
15. Bar coded tickets will be introduced to end ticketless travelling.
New Projects That Are Going To Be Implemented This Year
1. Double decker trains will be introduced for night travelling on business travel routes.
2. About 1,600 km railway track is going to be electrified this year and 2,000 km is proposed to be electrified next year.
3. Broad Gauge is going to be introduced at Lumding-Silchar section in Assam which will connect Barak Valley with rest of country.
4. Broad Gauge will also be introduced at North-East India especially at Mizoram and Manipur.
5. The introduction of Special purpose vehicle will be made for Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed corridor which will be registered this month.
If the above mentioned budget is less then additional Rs. 45,000 crore budget support will be implemented. The budget basically focuses on non-fare resource generation, which was less than 5% of the total. Prabhu’s aim is to implement 15 to 20% of total railway earnings. According to the budget there will be 12.4% rise in non-suburban passenger earnings in FY17 even as it expects almost flat passenger volumes. This will lead to mid-year hike in passenger fares in order to get the numbers add up. It is not known how the increased salary bill of about Rs. 29,000 crore is going to be implemented according to the budget.
Railway Board Chairman AK Mittal said that the Railways might put off the allowances component of this which is about worth Rs. 8,000 crore. Rs. 21,000 crore is put aside toward higher salaries. According to the theme Chalo milkar kuch naya karein(Let’s do something new together), the emphasis of the Budget was on reorganising, restructuring and rejuvenating the railways. Suresh Prabhu introduced four new trains for various types of passengers:
1. Humsafar: These trains will be fully air-conditioned with third AC coaches.
2. UDAY(Utkrisht Double-Decker AC Yatri): These trains’ carrying capacity will be higher and 40% more as compared to normal trains. This will make passengers’ journey more comfortable and pleasant. Pricing will be competitive and not subsidised.
3. Antyodaya: These trains will be superfast trains for unreserved passengers.
4. Tejas: These trains will be high speed running trains at the speed of 130 km/h with wifi and onboard entertainment.
Suresh Prabhu also announced new services for passengers which include expanded e-ticketing, bio-vacuum toilets, janani sewa which includes children’s and baby’s food, divyang-friendly toilets for the differently abled, the catering service will be improved and a “clean my coach service” will be introduced.
Railway Minister also said that the coaches would be modernised and there will be automatic door in each and every coach, there would also be ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines and entertainment screens. These coaches are SMART(Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) coaches and these coaches would fulfill each and every need of the passengers and there would be requirement of lower cost for operating these coaches due to higher capacity of carrying passengers.
400 stations will be developed again via public private participation(PPP), 400 more stations will get wifi. Suresh Prabhu also said that there is a need to rationalise the freight tariff structure. Various railway ministers were of view for increasing freight tariff to subsidise passengers, which was affecting railway finances adversely. This resulted in loss to railways.
It is happening for the first time that the freight rates will be reduced in an attempt to win back some of this market share. Railways usually get 68% of its revenue from freight but the share of loading has reduced from 63% to 38%. This thing should be restored. The target is to get 45% share till 2024.
Another plan is of setting up cross-functional directories in the Railway Board to focus on areas like: non-fare revenues, speed enhancement, use of information technology and exploring various unifying cadres for the post of officers.
What is your opinion about the railway budget 2016 by our Honourable railway minister Suresh Prabhu? Is there anything that should be included in the budget? Have you participated in giving the ideas for Indian Railway Budget at the government site? Do comment!