So the much awaited Indian Railway Budget is out. It was presented by Indian Railway Minister Mr. PK Bansal in parliament today. We bring you the most important updates and highlights from 2013-14 years Railway Budget.
1) While the Freight charges are going to go up by 5 percent there is no increase in passenger fares on railways.
2) However, there will be slight increase in reservation and cancellation charges of tickets. Additionally their will be extra charges for superfast trains and Tatkal bookings.
3) 26 New Passenger Trains and 67 New Express Trains will be launched in 2013-14. [List of New Trains Launched]
4) Nine new Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains to be introduced.
5) 500 km of new railway lines to be completed in 2013-14
6) Sportsmen to get concessional fares.
7) Hike in fuel prices added Rs. 3300 crore to Railways Fuel bill
8) Railways expect 12,506 crore rupees to be in balance by end of 2013-14.
9) Indian Railways is expected to witness 5.2 percent growth in passenger traffic in 2013-14
10) New manufacturing and maintenance facilities to be set up in various places including Rae Bareli, Bhilwara, Sonepat, Kalahandi, Kolar, Palakkad and Pratapgarh
11) 5 fellowship awards to be announced by Railways to motivate students.
12) 1.52 lakh vacant positions in Railways to be filled in 2013-14. Also, 47,000 vacancies for weaker and physically disabled personnel to be filled up as well.
13) Steps will be taken to connect Manipur through railway routes.
14) New Toll free number – 1800111321 has been setup to address travelers grievances.
15) Labs will be setup to test quality of food provided in trains. ISO certification for all rail kitchens
16) Introduction of e-ticketing through mobile phones, SMS alerts to passengers (has already been done to certain extent)
17) The online ticketing portal at IRCTC to be revamped completely to improve end user experience. [Capable of handling 7200 tickets per minute against 2000 now, 1.20 lakh users simultaneously against 40,000 now]
18) Railway stations to be made friendlier for physically disabled people. Wheelchairs and Escalators will introduced
19) Special attention will be provided to Railways stations in NCR.
20) Free wireless internet facilities will be provided in select trains. 60 more ‘adarsh’ stations to come up in 2013-24
21) More ladies special trains will be launched in metros and a helpline number to be implemented
22) In 2013-14, ver 10,000 level crossings will be eliminated
23) New Indigenously developed collision avoidance system will be trialed in 2013-14 to avoid train accidents.
Updated: Feb 26th 2013, 4:11 pm
24) 72 additional services to be introduced in Mumbai and 18 in Kolkata
25) First every railway link proposed to connect Arunachal Pradesh
26) 2013-14 Railway budget has highest ever plan outlay of Rs. 63,363 crore
27) Gross Traffic Receipts – Rs. 1,43,742 crore which is an increase of 18,062 crore over previous year.
28) Executive lounge facility to come up at 7 more stations: Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bengaluru
29) Complimentary passes to be given to Olympic Medalists and Dronacharya Awardees for travel in Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains
30) Provision of hostel facilities for single women railway employees at all divisional headquarters.
Apart from these, the Railway minister also highlighted the fact that there is mounting scarcity of resources and thin spread of funds continue to be a problem. Also, even though the total passenger trains have increased from 8000 to over 12000 in 2012, the losses are mounting and are estimated to be approx. 24,000 crore in 2012-13.