Rail Budget 2016 Highlights: No Passenger Fare Hike & More…
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today presented PM Modi Government’s second railway budget at Parliament. Intense speculation and anticipation existed for the budget, considering the fact that around 2.5 crore passengers use Indian Railways daily; and every little change can impact a huge population with a single stroke.
Thankfully, no passenger fare was increased in this budget, and only 4 new trains were introduced: all for the needy and appropriate. Unlike previous rail budgets, wherein several new trains were announced, just for voter appeasement (especially in Bihar and West Bengal), this budget was more humane, matured, and targeted for the long term.
Three most striking announcements which touched my heart, as a hardcore Rail-fan are:
a) Coolies would be called as ‘Sahayaks’ from now on. Its a brilliant decision to say the least, as it impacts psychologically. The coolies, who form an important aspect of the overall Railways operation, would feel more connected, and more appreciated.
b) Divyaangs (handicapped) would have specialized toilets inside trains. We wonder what stopped previous Railway ministers to take this extremely important step.
c) 1,00,000 calls are made to passengers everyday seeking feedback on cleanliness. Coaches would now be cleaned on demand, just by sending an SMS. By combining PM Modi’s Swatch Bharat mission, this is an excellent initiative to keep the trains clean.
Other announcements which were made during #RailBudget2016:
– WiFi would be provided at 400 more stations; 100 stations already have WiFi as of now
– Railways would work with eCommerce companies to increase revenue via freight route
– Railways receives around 100 terabytes of data every year. They will now use Big Data to analyse and use this enormous data
– Social media would be now used more prominently for customer care and outreach
– Indian Railways is expecting an operating ratio of 92% this year
– Rs 1.21 lakh total capital planned for Railways Budget 2016
– Rs 8720 crore was saved last year, which would be used this year
– Rs 8.5 lakh crore would be spent on Railways modernization
– 2000 km of rail line would be electrified this year; which is an increase of 50% compared to last year
– 2500 kms of rail line would be converted into broad-gauge this year; its an increase of 30% compared to last year
– 17,000 bio-toilets would be created; 475 new toilets across various railway station
– Mizoram and Manipur would be connected via broad gauge
– IRCTC website would now handle 7200 tickets per second, which is an increase from 2000/second right now
– 1.2 lakh online users would be now able to access IRCTC website at a given time, compared to 40,000 right now
– 2500 water vending machines would be installed at railway stations
– All major railway stations would be monitored by CCTV camera
– Antyodaya Express would be launched, which would be unreserved long distance train across major routes
– Humsafar Express would be launched, which would be completely 3AC coached, for long distance routes
– Tejas Express trains would be launched, which will have speed of more than 130 kms/hour (starting with Agra-Delhi-Agra route)
– Reservation for women and aged citizens would increase; women will get 33% reservation in catering
– IRCTC will soon take over catering services across all trains; local cuisines would be preferred
– Cancellation of tickets can now be accomplished on phone using 139
– Exclusive Radio and FM service would be launched for passengers
– Baby food would be available for new mothers who are travelling
– India’s first Rail Auto Hub would be launched in Chennai
– All unmanned crossing shall be abolished by 2020
Minister also announced that 139 key actions have been taken, which were promised last year.
Here is the full copy of Railways Budget 2016.