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Indian Railways Budget 2015 - A Brief Insight

Railway Budget was presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 26th Feb 2015. Here is the brief insight to the much talked Railway Budget:

1. ‘Operation Five Minutes’
(a) 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.
(b) 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.
(c) In Central Railway, Western Railway and Southern Railway suburban sections, a pilot project of issuing unreserved tickets on smart phones has already started. Automatic ticket vending machines with smart cards and currency options have also been installed at many stations. It is proposed to proliferate this further and also to introduce debit card operated machines. Introduction of integrated ticketing system on the lines of rail-cum-road tickets on Jammu – Srinagar route will be expanded.
(d) For brave soldiers, a Defence Travel System has been developed for elimination of Warrants to make travel easier. This facility has been commissioned in 600 locations out of about 2,000 locations. This facility will be further expanded.

2. Speed of Nine Railway Corridors to be Increased
(a) 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.This will involve the up gradation of track including turnouts and rolling stock to higher standards as well as the adoption of improved methods of track recording, monitoring and maintenance.
(b) The average speed of freight trains, both in empty and loaded conditions, will also be enhanced. A policy of attaining speeds of 100 kmph for empty freight trains and 75 kmph for loaded trains is being put in place. The Minister said that with the objective of maximizing loading in every train, the loading density on all major freight bearing routes of Indian Railways will be upgraded to 22.82 tonne axle loads. 

3. MUTP III for Mumbai to be Taken Up
The Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), formerly the Bombay Urban Transport Project (BUTP), is a project formulated by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to bring about improvement in the traffic and transport situation in the Mumbai metropolitan region with the assistance of the World Bank.

4. Railways to Work on ‘Swachh Rail - Swachh Bharat’
He said, his Ministry wants to make Swachh Rail the driving force behind the Government’s flagship programme ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. Shri Prabhu said, the Railways now works on – ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat’, Outlining the proposals on cleanliness.the Railways proposes to create a new department for keeping stations and trains clean. Railways plans to set up ‘waste to energy’ conversion plants near major coaching terminals to dispose waste in an environment-friendly manner.

5. Railways to Promote Gandhi Circuit to attract Tourists
To mark the 100 years of the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will promote the Gandhi circuit to attract tourists. He said IRCTC will work on Kisan Yatra, a special travel scheme to help farmers to learn about new farming and marketing technique.

6. Railways for setting up a full-fledged railway university during 2015-16.
(a) A systematic Human Resource Audit would be undertaken to prepare the workforce of Indian Railways for the future and for enhancing organizational performance 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.
(b) Railways front-line staff is the first point of contact with the public and Railways intend to start a special training module on soft skills for them so that railways customers feel welcomed. Training in yoga will be imparted to Railways staff, especially from Railway Protection Force (RPF).
(c) Railways will take up the work of repair of staff quarters and also of RPF barracks. It will also improve the delivery of health services to its employees. For the recreational pursuit of its staff Railways has decided to upgrade four Holiday Homes, to begin with.
(d) Shri Prabhu informed the members that Railways is in the process of setting up a full-fledged Railway University during 2015-16.

7. Railways to Integrate Best Food Chains for E-Catering
(a) 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.
(b)The Railways is working to integrate the best food chains of the country into this project. It is also intended to set up Base Kitchens in specified Divisions to be run by highly credible agencies for serving quality food.

8. Rs 6,581Crore Sanctioned for Elimination of 3438 Level Crossings in Next Financial Year
The ultimate objective of the Railways is to eliminate all unmanned level crossings by construction of Road over Bridges (ROBs) and Road under Bridges (RUBs). In the short term, RDSO has been asked to develop a suitable device with reliable power supply system based on theft-proof panels/batteries in consultation with Indian Space Research Organization, using geo-spatial technology for providing audio-visual warning to road users at unmanned level crossings. Further, a radio based signal design project has been taken up with IIT Kanpur for warnings at unmanned level crossing.

9. An Innovation Council “Kayakalp” and setting up ‘Malaviya Chair’
(a) 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 for Innovation, Technology Development and Manufacturing.
(b) Minister informed the members that Government of India has conferred Bharat Ratna on Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and to mark the centenary celebrations of Banaras Hindu University, Railways proposes to set up ‘Malaviya Chair’ for Railway Technology at IIT (BHU), Varanasi.This Chair will help in development of new materials to be used in all assets of Railways.
(c) Railways have decided to strengthen the RDSO into an organization of excellence for applied research. RDSO would collaborate with institutions of repute. Railways will set up in 2015-16 four Railway Research Centres in select universities for doing fundamental research. Railways intends to set up a technology portal to invite innovative technological solutions.

10. “Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation scheme”
PPP cell of Railways will be revamped to make it result oriented Joint ventures will be set up with States for focused project development, resource mobilization, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects. In order to meet the requirements of new lines JVs will also be set up with major public sector customers.

11. Railways to Provide Training Centres for Skill Development
As a part of its social initiatives, now Rail stations and training centres will be made available for skill development. "Incredible Rail for Incredible India" will be launched and training of auto-rickshaw and taxi-operators as tourist-guides on the model of Konkan Railway will be taken up for tourism promotion.

Bullet points

• No increase in passenger fares
• No new trains announced
• Tickets can be booked 120 days in advance instead of 60 days to tackle tout menace
• Outlay for passenger amenities increased by 67%
• Plan expenditure to go up to a record Rs 1.1 lakh crore in 2015-16 from an estimated Rs. 61,500 crore in 2014-15.
• Central government to outlay likely to at 41 per cent (Rs 45,100 crore) in 2015-16
• The speed passenger trains across nine corridors will be increased to 160-200 km from 110 km
• SMS alert to be introduced for train timings
• To introduce air-conditioned coaches for suburban trains
• Wi-fi to be available at 400 railway stations
• To develop 10 satellite railway stations this year.
• 800 km of gauge conversion will be commissioned
• E-catering introduced in 108 trains, can order on IRCTC website
• On-board entertainment facility could be extended on Shatabdi trains
• Mobile charging stations will be introduced general class coaches
• Railways plans to spend over Rs. 8 lakh crore over five years
• Pension funds, multi-lateral banks have evinced interest in Railways
• Proposed the best operating ratio in nine years, of 88.5 per cent for 2015-16
• Railways to go through transformation in five years; to increase track capacity by 10 per cent to 1.38 lakh km
• Wagon-making scheme to be reviewed to make it easier for private investment
• All India 24x7 grievances helpline 138 to start soon
• 7,000 more toilets to be replaced by Bio-Toilets, New toilets at 650 stations, more  vaccum toilets
• Passenger travelling unreserved can procure a ticket within 5 minutes
• Centrally managed railway display network in over 2000 stations in next 2 years
• Rail-cum-road ticket to be extended to many stations
• Transport Logistic Corporation of India to be set up to aid expanding freight handling capacity and provide end-to-end logistic solutions
• PPP model will help to augment resources and generate more employment
• 6608 kms of track to be electrified
• Projects worth Rs. 96,182 crore to expand capacity of 9,420 km rail lines
• CCTVs to be introduced in select trains and suburban trains for women safety
• Train Protection Warning System, Train Collision Avoidance System
• To set up full-fledged Railway University in FY16
• Rs 2000 crore for Coastal Connectivity Program; Rs.2500 crore through BOT/Annuity route
• 917 safety work projects to eliminate over 3,000 unmanned crossings in all states
• To set up infra fund, JV with IRFC for long-term funding

Amount (Rs in crore)
Network Decongestion (including DFC, Electrification, Doubling including electrification and traffic facilities)
Network Expansion (including electrification)

National Projects (North Eastern & Kashmir connectivity projects)
Safety (Track renewal, bridge works, ROB, RUB and Signalling & Telecom)

Information Technology / Research

Rolling Stock (Locomotives, coaches, wagons – production & maintenance)
Passenger Amenities
High Speed Rail & Elevated corridor
Station redevelopment and logistic parks

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