Railway Minister Nitish Kumar announced lowering of passenger fares in the popular Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi trains and said there would be no hike in freight charges.
Presenting the Railway Budget in Lok Sabha, Kumar also announced a host of new concessions. Kumar also announced 2003-04 as the passenger satisfaction year, proposing concessions for senior citizens, accredited journalists and cancer and heart patients in various trains.
Railway Budget Highlights
No increase in passenger fares.
Fares of Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains to be linked to rationalised fare structure of Mail/Express trains, fixing basic fare for each class of Rajdhani and Shatabdi 15 per cent higher than fares of corresponding class of super-fast Mail Express trains.
Basic fares of different classes of Rajdhani and Shatabdi will now be lower for most pairs of stations.
Basic fare of Jan Shatabdi Express to be reduced from existing mark up of 10 per cent to 5 per cent over fares of corresponding class of super-fast Mail Express trains; Catering services on Jan Shatabdi to be made optional.
Reduced fares in selected trains in non-peak period to be introduced-10 per cent reduction in basic fares of AC-I and AC-II tier in all Rajdhani trains between July 15, 2003 and September 15, 2003 proposed as an experimental measure.
50 additional Express trains to be introduced.
Frequencies of 13 popular trains to be increased.
24 services to be extended.
MEMU/DEMU services to be introduced in 11 sections.
Un-reserved Ticketing System to be extended.
Refund against reserved ticket after departure of train to be permitted from any PRS center three hours after train reaches destination.
Charge for issuing duplicate ticket to be refunded at PRS center at destination on completion of journey.
Minimum age for men to avail Senior Citizens concession reduced from 65 to 60 years.
Concessions to Cancer, Thalassemia major patients, heart patients extended to some other classes of travel. Kidney patients traveling for treatment also to get concession.
Distance limit and restriction on place of residence for Accredited Press Correspondents availing concession, to be removed. Further, 30 per cent concession in Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains also to be given.