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Last updated: 27 Feb, 2015  

indian-rail-thmb Highlights of Railway Budget 2015

Suresh Prabhu
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SME Times News Bureau
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his maiden budget for Indian Railways Thursday, promising to balance passenger needs and long-term interests of the organisation to benchmark it globally on quality, safety and reach.

He made no mention of any revision in freight tariff, as has been the norm in the past.

The following are the highlights of the Railway Budget for 2015-16 presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Lok Sabha on Thursday:

* No hike in passenger fares

* Speed of trains running at 110-130 kmph to be increased to 160-200 kmph

* Over 17,00 toilets on trains already replaced, another 17,000 to be replaced

* Toilets at stations need improvement; 650 additional toilets to be created in addition to 120 last year

* New department to keep stations clean

* Railways to Work on 'Swachh Rail - Swachh Bharat’

* Defence travel system developed to eliminate system warrants

* SMS alerts to be introduced

* Paperless ticketing system to be developed

* Wi-Fi facility to be extended to category B stations

* Suburban network in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai to be augmented

* Announcement on new trains/frequencies to be made during current parliament session

* 10 cities identified for creating fully-functional satellite terminals to reduce congestion

* All newly-manufactured coaches to be braille-enabled

* Online booking for wheel chairs to be enabled

* Over 20,000 suggestions received on improving facilities

* Railways proposes to install Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System on select routes at the earliest

* During 2015-16, 970 ROBs/RUBs and other safety-related works to eliminate 3,438 level crossings at an expense of Rs.6,581 crore sanctioned.

* Size of the plan budget has gone up by 52 percent from Rs.65,798 crore in 2014-15 to Rs.1,00,011 crore in 2015-16.

* Investment of Rs.8.5 lakh crore in next five years

* Railways to increase daily passenger carrying capacity from 21 million to 30 million, increase track length by 20 percent from 1,14,000 km to 1,38,000 km, grow annual freight carrying capacity from 1 billion to 1.5 billion tonnes.

* Seventy-seven new projects worth Rs.96,182 crore sanctioned

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

* Nine thrust areas: Railways to once again become prime mover of economy; 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 and system improvement; railways to continue to be the preferred mode of transport for the masses; sustainability

* Foreign rail technology co-operation scheme proposed to be launched

* New governance structure required; more decentralisation and deregulation; accounting system to be revamped

* Resources to be generated through public-private-partnerships

* Assets to be monetised rather than sold; land records being digitised

* Products made by self-help groups to be encouraged

* Railways cannot function in business-as-usual mode, have to keep up with changing times

* Green technology locomotives to be introduced

* Two dedicated freight corridors gathering steam

* Innovation Council and Technology Portal to be set up to invite suggestions on improvements

* MPs urged to use part of their funds for improving rail facilities

* Open bids to be invited from private parties to develop railway stations

* Operational ratio of 88.5 percent targetted

* Waste-to-energy conversion plants to be created

* 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

* Facilities not improved substantially over past few decades

* Vicious cycle of under-investment must end

* 1,219 sections on network - most of them overworked
 
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