Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has unveiled his maiden Rail Budget, which proposes no hike in passenger fares, but only a small hike in freight charges, reservation fee, cancellation fee, tatkal charges and supplementary charges. The rail budget proposes the setting up of a Railway Tariff Regulatory Authority, which is currently at an inter-ministerial consultation stage. Here are some highlights of the Railway Budget 2013-2014:
Changes In Freight Rates / Passenger Fares
A. Fuel Adjustment Component (FAC)- linked revision of freight tariff to be effected from 1st April, 2013.
B. Supplementary charges for super fast trains, reservation fee, clerkage, cancellation and tatkal service marginally increased.
C. Increased reservation fee abolished.
3. Passenger Amenities
4. Fiscal Discipline
The minister told the Parliament that IR had entered the one billion tonne Select Club joining Chinese, Russian and US Railways. IR has also become part of the Select Club running freight trains of more than 10000 tonne load. A new Debt Service Fund is to be set up to meet the debt servicing for WB and JICA loans for DFC and other future liabilities.
1.Corporate Safety Plan for a 10-year period (2014-2024).
2. Elimination of 10797 level crossings during the 12th Plan.
3. Train Protection Warning System to be introduced on Automatic Signalling Systems.
4. Trials started of the locally developed Train Collision Avoidance System.
5. Introduction of 160 - 200 kmph Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains.
6. Comprehensive fire and smoke detection systems.
7. Introduction of portable fire extinguishers in Guard-cum-Brake Vans, AC Coaches and Pantry Cars in all trains.
8. Fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches.
9. Four new companies of women RPF personnel set up. Another 8 to proposed to strengthen security, especially that of women passengers.
Rail- Based Industries
1. A new Forged Wheel Factory at Rae Bareli
2. A Greenfield Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) manufacturing facility at Bhilwara
3. A Coach Manufacturing Unit in Sonepat (Haryana) in collaboration with State Government
4. A modern signalling equipment facility at Chandigarh through Public-Private Partnership
Passenger / User Amenities
1. More bio-toilets on trains.
2. Extension of On-Board Housekeeping Scheme and Clean Train Stations
3. Extension of Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs), Coin-operated Ticket Vending Machines (CO-TVMs) and Jan-Sadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBSs).
4. New Rail Neer bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
5. Pilot project on select trains to let passengers contact the on-board staff via SMS/phone call/e-mail for coach cleanliness and real time feedback.
6. Announcement and electronic display boards in trains.
7. Wi-Fi facilities on several trains.
8. Upgradation of 60 more stations to Adarsh Stations.
9. 'Anubhuti' coach in select trains to provide excellent ambience and the latest facilities.
10. 179 escalators and 400 lifts at A-1 and other stations to facilitate the elderly and the differently- abled.
11. Braille stickers with layout including toilets, wheel chairs and battery-operated vehicles at more stations and making the coaches wheel-chair friendly.
12.Checking malpractices in reservations including the tatkal scheme.
1. New educational tourist train 'Azadi Express' with concessional fares to connect the places associated with the freedom movement.
2. Executive lounge at 7 more stations - Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bengaluru.
1. Internet ticketing from 0030 hours to 2330 hours.
2. E-ticketing through mobile phones.
3. SMS alerts to passengers giving updates on reservation status.
4. Next-Gen e-ticketing system to be started. The system is capable of handling 7200 tickets per minute against 2000 now and 1.20 lakh users simultaneously against 40,000 now.
5. A new centralized training institute at Secunderabad - Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management (IRIFM).