Rail Budget 2014-15 Live Updates & Highlights
Railway Budget 2014-15 Live Updates
At 12:15, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge started presenting the Railway Budget to the Parliament. Here are the highlights and live updates.
- 72 News trains have been announced [See detailed list]
- 19 new lines will be taken up during 2014-15. Surveys for doubling the five existing lines will also be taken up during 2014-14. [Details of new lines]
- Considering Rail Tunnel connecting Jammu with Kashmir
- Railways need investment and it is time to take stock when UPA regime completes its 5 years
- Railways successful in countering the effects of Sixth Pay Commission
- Construction of Udhampur – Katra section has been completed. It will enable lakhs of pilgrims from all over the country to reach foothills of Vaishno Devi shrine directly, has been completed and trial runs have started.
- Passenger services up to Katra are expected to run very shortly
- Electrification of 4,556 km achieved as against the target of 4,500 km
- Electrification of another 4000 km has been planned
- Achieved the target of laying 2000 kms of new railway lines. 2027 kms achieved.
- Dedicated freight corridors to be setup to halve the transit time
- Passenger Trains will run at higher speeds
- 5,400 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated in last 5 years – 2,310 by manning and 3,090 by closure / merger / construction of ROBs/RUBs.
- Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh will be connected by trains in FY 2014-15
- Laid double gauge lines of 2,227 km versus a target of 2,000 km
- During the year 2013-14 the Railways have completed 1,532 km of New Line, Doubling and Gauge Conversion against a revised target of 1,525 km [see details here]
- Three new factories viz. Rail Wheel Plant in district Chhapra, Rail Coach Factory at Rae Bareli and Diesel Component Factory at Dankuni have become functional and commenced production during 2013-14.
- Independent Rail Tariff Authority will be set up to advise and formulate Rail Fares.
- New Premium AC trains will be setup between Delhi-Mumbai corridor with shorter reservation period and dynamic Tatkal fares based on bookings
- Railway Plan size for 2014-15 is targeted at Rs. 64, 305 crore as against 59,359 crore in 2013-14
- Gross Traffic receipts for Railways targeted in 2014-15 at Rs. 160,777 crore. Goods receipts expected to be Rs. 105,770 crore and passenger receipts Rs. 45,255 crore.
- The Budget Estimates for goods, passenger, other coaching and sundry other earnings have been kept at Rs. 1,05,770 crore, Rs. 45,255 crore, Rs 4,200 crore and Rs. 5,500 crore respectively in 2014-15.
- Here are the initiatives of bringing in Technology into Railways in 2014-14
- proliferation of cash accepting Automatic Ticket Vending Machines;
- Ticketing on mobile phones in the unreserved segment;
- PNR status update to passengers through system generated SMS;
- an update for train running information; Online booking of retiring rooms at all important stations;
- Online booking of meals on trains for selected en-route stations;
- Introduction of e-forwarding note and electronic transmission of railway receipts for freight customers, which will enable users to carry out freight business with Railways from the comfort of their homes and offices; and
- Computerisation of claims settlement process on Indian Railways.
- As agreed between Prime Ministers of India and Japan in May 2013, a joint Feasibility Study for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed corridor, co-financed by Indian Railways and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has started in December 2013, and will be completed in 18 months.
When Union railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge will start presenting the Indian Rail Budget – 2014, it would be the last budget presented by the UPA II Government before elections. There is tremendous pressure on the government to deliver several sops and discounts to please the masses, and this is an excellent opportunity to do so.
But before we predict what can be included in the budget, let’s first understand the current financial health of Indian Rail. As of now, Indian Rail is facing a revenue gap of Rs 8000 crore, with Rs 5000 crore in passenger segment alone.
Compared to last year, it’s operating expenses have increased by Rs 1000 crore and the value of it’s assets have gone down by Rs 1000 crore. Hence, it would be tight rope walk for the Rail ministry to improve its financial position and please the masses before the general elections.
Some of the announcements expected From Rail Budget 2014
– Introduction of better safety measures in trains is expected to be the first priority of the government. Focus on fire safety is the top priority of the railways as several fire related incidents have occurred recently.
– Introduction of premium trains with dynamic pricing for some of the busiest routes is expected. Especially for routes like New Delhi-Mumbai ; Kolkata-Patna; Bangalore-Chennai etc, it is expected that Rail Minister will push for these premium trains.
– Electrification of more routes is also expected to bring down dependency on diesel which costs Railways way too much. Out of 65000 kms of rail route, only 24,000 kms are currently electrified. It is expected that the Railways will electrify 1500 kms this fiscal year.
– Railways is expected to increase its share of managing cargo traffic for transporters, as it wants to reach 38% -40% share. In the last fiscal year, this share has dropped down 2 to 3%.
– As shared earlier, revenues from passenger segment is very low. Hence, we are expecting that fares won’t be touched. It cant be increased as elections are due and it cant be reduced as Railways is operating huge losses.
– In April, Railways had introduced a Fare Adjustment Component (FAC) which had affected fares of few trains in some routes. It is expected that this component could be scrapped this year to give some relief to passengers
– And the big one: FDI. Railways is expected to introduce FDI in Railways in some sectors. FDI is completely banned for Railways except Mass Rapid Transport System. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has proposed 100% FDI in Railways to increase capital and efficiency. Though it would not be implemented as of now, but reliable sources have confirmed that FDI can be allowed in “sub-urban corridor, high-speed train systems and dedicated freight line projects implemented in PPP mode”.
It would be really interesting to see what all measures can be implemented to please both the cash register and the public via Rail Budget – 2014.
We will bring you the updates as they happen, so keep tuned.