Highlights from Railway Budget 2015-16

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 26 February 2015 presented the Railway Budget 2015-16 in the Parliament. Below are the highlights of this Budget:

Railway Fares

  • No new hike in passenger fares
  • While, the Freight fares have been raised incase of urea by 10%, iron and steel by 0.8%, kerosene and cooking gas by 0.8%, coal by 6.3% and cement by 2.7%.

Railway Finances

  • Plan Budget is gone up by 52 percent Rs. 100011 crore for financial year 2015-16 compared to Rs. 65789 crore in FY 2014-15.
  • For next five year envisaged investment for railways is Rs. 8.5 lakh crore rupees.
  • Funds for railways will be raised from pension, institutional and multilateral agencies.
  • In order to improve passenger amenities, MPs requested to use part of their MPLAD funds.
  • Railways to set up an infrastructure fund and holding company to raise long-term debt.

Passengers Amenities

  • 120 days in advance ticket booking facility for passengers instead of earlier 60 days.
  • Railways is aiming to move towards paperless ticketing.
  • Operation 5 minutes– Passengers can buy railway tickets within five minutes unde.
  • SMS updates to inform passengers about any change in schedule of trains.
  • Open wi-fi facility at 400 railway stations.
  • Mobile charging units will be installed.
  • For women safety CCTVs to be installed in selected trains and suburban trains.
  • Food ordering facility food while booking tickets through IRCTC website.
  • Water-vending machines to be set up at stations.
  • 138 will be a nationwide 24×7 helpline number for railway-related queries. While, 182 will be a toll-free number for security-related issues.
  • On-board entertainment in Shatabdi Express.

Infrastructure

  • Track capacity will be increased by 10% to 1.38 lakh km.
  • Speed of passenger trains on 9 corridors will increased to 160-200 km/h from 110-130 km/h.
  • Wagon-making scheme will be reviewed in order ease private investment
  • By inviting open bids, station redevelopment policy will be revamped.
  • 10 satellite railway terminals will be developed in major cities in 2015-15.
  • PPP cell of Indian Railways will be revamped.
  • Feasibility report of high-speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad expected by mid-2015.
  • Connectivity to North-East India will be improved. In J&K rail connectivity will be on focus.

Tourism

  • Railways will promote Gandhi circuit in order to mark centenary year of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa.
  • Special travel scheme Kisan Yatra for farmers for farming and marketing technique centres.
  • Under Incredible India, Incredible Rail will be launched.

Analysis: A Modest Railway Budget

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