New Delhi, 27 February 2015: There are lots of news and articles about Railway Budget over the internet. Its confusing to learn for you and for us too. The rail minister divided the rail budget in nine upshots, i.e. Indian Railways to become prime mover of economy once again, resource Mobilization for higher Investments, decongestion of heavy haul routes and speeding up of trains: emphasis on gauge conversion, doubling, tripling and electrification, project delivery, passenger Amenities, safety, transparency & system improvement, railways to continue to be the preferred mode of transport for the masses and sustainability. To understand it in much better way we called our intellectual to pen down what exactly presented in Railway Budget for 2015-16. Below are the points:
1. Digitized mapping of land records owned by Railways
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that encroachment on the Railway Land is a serious issue and to counter this, digitized mapping of land records has been initiated and responsibility will be fixed on officials for any encroachments.
2. Introduction of Kayakalp Council for Railways innovation
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced the Railways intends to set up an innovation council called “Kayakalp” for the purpose of business re-engineering and introducing a spirit of innovation in Railways in accordance with the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister for Innovation, Technology Development and Manufacturing. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he opined that every dynamic and thriving organization needs to innovate and re-invent its practices.
3. Budget size increased from Rs. 65,798 crore to Rs. 1,00,011 crore
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced that the size of the Plan Budget has gone up by 52% from Rs. 65,798 crore in 2014- 15 to Rs. 1,00,011 crore in 2015-16. Support from the Central Government constitutes 41.6% of the total Plan Budget and Internal generation 17.8 %.
4. Installation of Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced that Railways proposes to install Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System on select routes at the earliest.
5. Improvisation for system of accounting
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has informed that the Railways intends to set up a working group to modify the present system of accounting, to ensure tracking of expenditure to desired outcomes.
6. Rs. 6,581 crore alloted for rail bridges
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced that in the next financial year 970 number of ROB/RUBs and other safety-related works to eliminate 3438 level crossings at a total Railway expense of Rs. 6,581 crore have been sanctioned. This is more than 2600% higher than the sanctioned number of Road over Bridges (ROBs) / Road under Bridges (RUBs) during the current year and the highest ever in recent times.
7. Rs. 96,182 crore alloted for new projects
While last mile connectivity projects continue to be accorded the highest priority, the Railways intend to fast track the sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines and commission 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8686 crore. Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said this budgetary allotment under Capital is 84% higher than 2014-15. He said, “We also intend commissioning 800 km of gauge conversion. Additionally, we have sanctioned 77 projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with their electrification at a total cost of Rs. 96,182 crore which is over 2700% higher in terms of amount sanctioned in 2013-14, 2014-15 being a Plan holiday”.
8. Proposal for foreign rail technology assistance
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced the proposal to launch “Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation Scheme” in order to achieve the higher quality service for our nation.
9. Seeks support of Rs. 40,000 from Ministry of Finance
The Railway Minister has said that the Ministry of Finance has communicated a Gross Budgetary Support of Rs. 40,000 crore for the Railway’s annual Plan. Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said Rs. 1,645.60 crore has also been provided as Railway’s share of diesel cess from the Central Road Fund. He said Market borrowing under EBR is projected at Rs. 17,655 crore, an increase of about 46.5% (Rs 5,609 crore) over RE 2014-15. Balance Plan outlay includes Rs. 17,793 crore from Internal Resources and Rs.5781 crore from PPP. The Minister informed the Parliament that large amounts have been allocated towards Doubling, Traffic Facilities, Electrification and Passenger Amenities.
10. Will work on Swachh Rail – Swachh Bharat
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that ensuring higher standards of cleanliness is of utmost priority for Indian Railways. He said, his Ministry wants to make Swachh Rail the driving force behind the Government’s flagship programme ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.
11. Mumbai Urban Transport Project phase 3 for Mumbai
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced the proposal to take up MUTP III for Mumbai.
12. Train speed to increase till 160 and 200 kmph
The speed of nine railway corridors will be increased from the existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively so that inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai can be completed overnight.
13. Purchase tickets in five minutes
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that he has not increased the passenger fares in the Railway Budget 2015-16. Presenting the Railway Budget in Parliament today he said, Government is directing its efforts to make travel on Indian Railways a happy experience. The Minister said, one of the biggest problems faced by the common man intending to travel in unreserved class is purchasing a ticket. He said, the Railways is introducing ‘Operation Five Minutes’ to ensure that a passenger travelling unreserved can purchase a ticket within five minutes. Provision of modified ‘hot-buttons’, coin vending machines and ‘single destination teller’ windows will drastically reduce the transaction time.
For the differently-abled travellers, a special initiative is being launched whereby they can purchase concessional e-tickets after one-time registration. The Minister said, it is also proposed to work towards developing a multi-lingual e-ticketing portal. He said, the Railways will move towards crediting all refunds through the banking system.
14. Security for women
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that Indian Railways would utilise resources from the Nirbhaya Fund for augmenting security of women passengers.
15. Call 138, a day night helpline
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that an all – India helpline number, 138, will become functional to attend to the problems of passengers on a real time basis.
16. Proposal for joint ventures
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced the proposal to set up joint ventures with States for focused project development, resource mobilization, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects.
17. New bedding to come up
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that the Railways will launch a programme to improve design, quality and cleanliness of bed linen within the next six months.
18. SMS alerts for train arrival & departure
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that it is proposed to introduce an “SMS Alert” service to inform passengers in advance the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations. Similarly SMS alert would be sent 15/30 minutes in advance of arrival of the train at the destination.
19. Training centres for skilled personnel
Indian Railways, with its vast spread, will contribute by making available its infrastructure like stations and training centres for skill development.
20. TTE will now check online data in train
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that hand-held terminals will be provided to Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs), which can be used for verification of passengers and downloading charts. This system will help the Railways to move towards paperless ticketing and charting and expedite finalization of refund claims apart from saving of paper.
21. Incredible Rail for Incredible India
To promote tourism in the country, Indian Railways will join this effort through Incredible Rail for Incredible India. Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that successful experiment of training of auto-rickshaw and taxi operators as tourist-guides on Konkan Railway will be replicated at major tourist stations.
22. Establishment of Railway University in 2015
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced that a systematic Human Resource Audit would be undertaken to prepare the workforce of Indian Railways for the future and for enhancing organizational performance . Presenting the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he informed the members that as part of the focused Human Resource strategy, measures would be adopted to raise employee productivity in line with global standards. It is also proposed to pursue creation a separate accounting head for HRD and develop ERP based Human Resource Management System.
23. Order food online through IRCTC
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that to provide freedom to passengers to select their meals from an array of choices including local cuisine, e-catering has been introduced in 108 trains on an experimental basis from January this year. Food can be ordered through the IRCTC website at the time of booking of tickets.
24. Operating ratio for 2015-16 planned at 88.5%
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that he proposes the operating ratio for 2015-16 at 88.5% as against a targeted operating ratio of 91.8%in 2014-15 and 93.6% in 2013-14. Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today he said, not only will this be the best operating ratio in the last 9 years but the best after the Sixth Pay Commission. The Minister said, to get the most out of the additional resources that will be invested, the Railways will need to ensure the highest standards of operational and business efficiency. He said, there is an improvement on Railways’ financial performances in the year 2014-15 relative to what it had anticipated earlier.
25. Increase in passenger & goods transport
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that given the importance of rail travel for Indian citizens, Railways will increase its daily passenger carrying capacity from 21million to 30 million. Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today he said, Railways will also increase track length by 20% from 1,14,000 km to 1,38,000 km, and grow its annual freight carrying capacity from 1 billion to 1.5 billion tonnes.
26. Solar power trains proposed
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced that Railways proposes to procure power through the bidding process at economical tariff from generating companies, power exchanges, and bilateral arrangements. This initiative is likely to result in substantial savings of at least Rs. 3,000 crore in next few years. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he informed the members that although a bulk consumer, Railways pays extremely high charges for traction power.
The Railway Minister informed the members that to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, Railways is intended to expand sourcing of Solar Power as part of the Solar Mission of Railways. Work is in full swing at the solar power plant at Katra station and is slated for completion in March 2015. Further, 1000 MW solar plants will be set up by the developers on Railway/private land and on rooftop of Railway buildings at their own cost with subsidy/viability gap funding support of Ministry of Non- Renewable Energy in next five years.
27. Enhancement of management
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced the proposal to get a systems audit conducted for review of all processes and procedures being followed in Zonal Railways. Introducing the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he said that the delegation and empowerment should be accompanied with accountability and responsibility and also monitoring from the apex to ensure that the organisation’s objectives are being met.
28. Now charge mobile in general class
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that Indian Railways’ Delhi Division is taking up a project for introducing on-board entertainment on select Shatabdi trains on license fee basis. He said,depending on the response, the facility will be extended on all Shatabdi trains.
29. Dissoluting powers to general managers
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that for quick decision-making, Ministry of Railways has already delegated the power in respect of stores and works tenders to General Managers of all Zonal Railways and it intends to further delegate, de-centralise and de-regulate. Introducing the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he said that rules and regulations governing freight business will be simplified and made more customer friendly. For example, Railways has abolished the system of obtaining Rail Transport Clearance from the Ministry. It also intends simplifying the entire process of construction of private sidings.