The Railway Budget for 2016-17 spared passengers and goods movement from any increase in tariffs while it announced introduction of three new superfast trains and creation of dedicated north-south, east-west and east coast freight corridors by 2019.
Presenting his second Budget in the Lok Sabha, Railway minister Suresh Prabhu promised rationalising of the tariff structure by undertaking a review to evolve competitive rates vis-a-vis other modes of transport and to expand the freight basket as a means of additional revenue mobilisation.
What PM Modi said on Prabhu’s Rail Budget:
# Want to congratulate Suresh Prabhu and the entire Team Railways.
# This budget will enhance the Navnirman of the nation.
# Along with IT, investment has been given importance.
# In the last year we have seen lot of success and this budget is an effort to further improve on this.
Here are highlights from his speech:
# The Rail Budget2016 is a story of transformation. We need to reorganise and rejuvenate the Indian Railways.
# PM once said his vision is to make Indian Railways the backbone of India’s progress and economic development.
# For year 2016-17 we expect the operating ratio of 92%.
# Co-operation, collaboration and communication- hallmarks of Indian Railways’ journey forward.
# We need to re-imagine conventional ways of solving issues. We will focus on zero based budgeting approach.
# 1.21 lakh crores capital plan in Rail Budget2016, shunning conventional approach, adopting new ways.
# A saving of 8,720 crore rupees for budget estimates of last year will be effected this year.
# We will be at the forefront of infrastructure investment in the country.
# Action has been initiated on 139 budget announcements made last year.
# Budget’s 3 Rs are restructure, reorgranise, rejuvenate.
# 8.5 lakh crore to be spent over 5 years for modernisation of railway infrastructure.
Watch | Suresh Prabhu says Rail Budget 2016 based on nation’s needs
# Expect revenue growth of over 10% this year.
# Propose to electrify 2,000 km next year, increased electrification budget by 50%.
# Indian Railways to surpass ambitious target of commissioning 2,500 kms of broad gauge lines, almost 30% higher than last year.
# Broad guage Lumding-Silchar section in Assam opened, thus connecting Barak Valley with rest of the country.
# Our mission is to ensure 100% transparency. Social media is being used as a tool to ensure the same.
# North East India, especially Mizoram & Manipur, to be connected through broad gauge soon.
# 17,000 bio toilets & additional toilets in 475 stations before close of this financial year.
# The common people have always been the focus of all our initiatives.
# Cabinet approval for joint ventures with state govts. 17 consented and 6 MoUs signed with state govts.
# Introduced 1,780 automatic ticket vending machines, mobile apps, GoIndia smart cards for cashless purchase of UTS and PRS ticket.
# Enhanced capacity of e-ticketing system from 2,000 tickets per minute to 7,200 per minute.
# We will introduce WiFi services at 100 stations this year, 400 more stations over next two years.
# 2,500 water vending machines at railway stations have been provided.
# Supporting 1.2 lakh concurrent users now, as opposed to 40,000 earlier.
# Reserved middle bays in coaches for women security.
# All major stations to be brought under CCTV surveillance in a phased manner.
# Will introduce Antyodaya Express, a long-distance, superfast train, for common man to be operated on densely populated routes.
# Will introduce Humsafar Express , fully air-conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals.
# Tejas: Will showcase future of train travel in India with operating speed of 130 KMPH and above.
# E-booking ticket facility on the concessional passes available to journalists.
# Will introduce sub-quota of 33% for women in each of the reserved categories in catering.6
# Local cuisine of choice will be made available.
# Introduce Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway to help old and disabled passengers.
# Prabhu introduces Utkrisht double-decker AC yatri (Uday) Express with increased capacity of almost 40%.
# Porters to not be called ‘coolies’ but ‘sahayaks’ now; will be trained in soft skills.
# Facility of cancellation of tickets through 139 telephone line.
# Battery operated cars and paid porters services for specially able people.
# Intend sale of tickets through hand-held terminals for short-distance travellers.
# Propose to invite FM radio stations to provide train borne entertainment via PA systems.
# Baby food, hot milk and water to be available on stations.
# To capture automobile traffic, we will soon inaugurate India’s first rail auto hub in Chennai and continue to build more.