Key takeaway of Railway Budget 2016

By | February 25, 2016

No Hike in Passenger Fare

65,000 Additional Berths and 17,000 Bio Toilets to be Installed 

Operations Audit to Improve Punctuality of trains Proposed 

Wi Fi Facilities in 400 more Stations 

Stations to be Developed Under PPP Mode 

Award of Civil Contracts for Dedicated Freight Corridor to be  Over by the end of this Financial Year 

Capacity of E-Ticketing System to be Enhanced 

Increased Quota of Lower Berth for Senior Citizens and Women

820 Robs / Rubs constructed 

 Operating  Ratio to Increase from 90% to 92% Proposed 

Nargol- Hazira Port Connectivity to be taken up under PPP Mode

There is no hike in passenger fare in this year’s Railway Budget.  Presenting the Railway Budget 2016-17  in the Parliament today Railway Minister Shri Suresh  Prabhakar Prabhu said   the budget seeks to fulfil the  long-felt desires of the common man such as   reserved accommodation on trains available on demand, time tabled freight trains, high end technology to improve safety record, elimination of all unmanned level crossings, improved punctuality, higher average speed of freight trains, semi high speed trains running along the golden quadrilateral, zero direct discharge of human waste by the year 2020. He said  Cabinet approval has been received for re-development of stations under PPP mode.

Shri Suresh Prabhu said the Indian Railways budget  proposes to   overcome challenges by Reorganizing Restructuring and  Rejuvenating Indian Railways  with the Slogan “Chalo, Milkar Kuch Naya Karen”.  The strategy  for this will have  three pillars  i.e. Nav Arjan – New revenues, Nav Manak – New norms, and Nav Sanrachna – New Structures. 

In order to make travel on Indian Railways more comfortable, the Indian Railways proposes to give more facilities to the passengers . 65,000 additional berths will be provided in the trains and 2500 water vending machines  will be installed .  The railways have developed world’s first Bio-Vaccum toilet and 17,000 Bio-toilets will be provided in the trains.  With the purpose of improving  punctuality of trains  operations audit  from Ghaziabad to Mughalsarai section will be introduced.   The Indian Railways  proposes  to introduce  1,780 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines all over the country with  mobile apps and  GoIndia smartcard for cashless purchase of UTS and PRS tickets. The  capacity of  e-ticketing system will be enhanced  from 2,000 tickets per minute to 7,200 tickets per minute to support 1,20,000 concurrent users as against  40,000 earlier.  400 more stations will be provided  with Wi Fifacilities.

As a part of social initiatives, online booking of wheelchairs and Braille enabled new coaches will be introduced for the Divyang. Increased quota of lower berths for senior citizens and women and reserving  middle bays for women in reserved  coaches has been proposed.   Passengers security will be enhanced through more helplines and CCTVs.

To reduce accidents at level crossings, the budget proposes to eliminate 1000 unmanned level crossings and closures of 350 manned level crossings.  820 Rail Over Bridges (ROB)/ Rail Under Bridges (RUB) will be completed during the current financial year and work is going on in additional 1350 of them.

Referring to the progress of  Dedicated Freight Corridor Project the Railway Minister said that almost all contracts for civil engineering works will be awarded by the end of this financial year.  He said Rs.24,000 crore worth contracts  were awarded since November 2014 as against Rs. 13,000 crore contracts awarded during the last six years.   Shri Prabhu said Railways proposes to take up  North-South, East-West and East Coast freight corridors through innovative financing including PPP.

Underlining the importance of Jammu and Kashmir and North East the Minister said work on Katra-Banihal section of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project  is progressing satisfactorily and 35 kms of tunnelling out of total of 95  kms has been completed.  He said decongestion work on Jalandhar – Jammu section is in full swing and doubling of two bridges will be over  by next month, while the other two bridges will be completed by 2016-17.  In North East ,  Mizoram and Manipur will  shortly come on BG map of the country with commissioning of the Kathakal-Bhairabi and Arunachal-Jiribam Gauge conversion projects. 

Giving the progress card of port connectivity projects the Minister informed that  Tuna Port  connectivity project has been commissioned and rail connectivity projects to ports of Jaigarh, Dighi, Rewas and Paradip are  under implementation.  He said implementation of rail connectivity for the ports of Nargol and Hazira  will be taken up under PPP in 2016-17.

Referring to the financial performance the Minister said during  2015-16  a saving of Rs.8720 crore could be achieved  neutralizing the most of the revenue  shortfall with operating ratio of 90%.  He said the budget proposes operating ratio of 92%,  restricting  growth of ordinary working expenses by 11.6% after building in immediate impact of 7th PC, reduction in  diesel and electricity consumption and Revenue generation  of Rs. 1,84,820 crore for 2016-17.  He said during 2015-16 investment would be close to double of average of  previous five years.

Shri Suresh  Prabhu said  Railways would be able to achieve annualized  savings of  Rs.3000 crore in the energy sector during the next financial year itself, a year earlier than announced.  He said this could be achieved by procuring  power directly at competitive rates.

The Railway Minister said social media will be used  as a tool to bring in transparency. All procurement including procurement of works  will be moved  to e-platform.  He said  the trial of awarding tender electronically  was successful and it will be rolled out  on Pan India basis  in 2016-17.

Giving an outline of the way ahead, the Minister informed Parliament that his  Ministry proposes to take various measures to improve quality of travel which will include introduction of unreserved superfast Antyodaya Express Trains, introduction of Tezas train with the speed of 130 Km. and above  with onboard entertainment and Wi Fi  etc., unreserved Deen Dayalu coaches  with portable water and higher number of mobile charging points and introduction of AC and non AC double decker trains on busy routes with the potential to  increase carrying capacity by almost 40%.  Sale of tickets through hand held terminals; e- ticketing facility to foreign debit/credit cards; bar coded tickets,   expansion of Vikalp – train on demand to provide choice of accommodation in specific trains to wait-listed passengers. E-booking of tickets facility on the concessional passes available to journalists;      facility of cancellation through the 139 helpline post verification using ‘One Time Password’ sent on registered phone number,  CCTV cameras on tatkal windows  and periodic audit of PRS website will also be introduced.

Shri Suresh Prabhu said it is proposed to convert all operational halts into commercial halts for the benefit of common man.  The Minister said  Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway will be expanding  to help the old and disabled passenger. The existing services for enabling passengers to book battery operated cars, porter services, etc. on a paid basis in addition to the existing pick up and drop, and wheel chair services will be strengthened. All stations under redevelopment  will be accessible forDivyang. There will be at least one Divyang friendly toilet at each platform in A1 class stations during the next financial year and  availability of wheelchairs in sufficient numbers at these stations will be ensured.  Children’s menu items, baby foods, hot milk and hot water would be made available underJanani Sewa.

SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) Coaches  will be introduced to ensure higher carrying capacity and provision of new amenities including automatic doors, bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines, entertainment screens, LED lit boards for advertising, PA system.   It is also proposed to  integrate all facilities into two mobile apps dealing with ticketing issues and for receipt and redressal of complaints and suggestions.  With a view to improve customer interface   information boards in trains enumerating the on-board services and  GPS based digital displays will be installed  inside coaches to provide real time information regarding upcoming halts. Work  is underway  for the  installation of a high-tech centralized network of 20,000 screens across 2000 stations for enabling real time flow of information to passengers and also to unlock huge advertising potential. All A1 class stations will be manned with duly empowered Station Directors supported by cross functional teams, to make one person accountable for all facilities on trains. 

Shri Suresh Prabhu said it is proposed  to take up on priority the provision of passenger amenities and beautification on stations at pilgrimage centres including Ajmer, Amritsar, Bihar Sharif, Chengannur, Dwarka, Gaya, Haridwar, Mathura, Nagapattinam, Nanded, Nasik, Pali, Parasnath, Puri, Tirupati, Vailankanni, Varanasi and Vasco. Aastha circuit trains will be introduced  to connect important pilgrim centres.

He said  optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking  and clean my coachthrough sms will also be introduced in due course.  High speed passenger corridor from Ahmedabad to Mumbai  will be developed  with the financial assistance from Government of Japan.  FM Radio Stations will be invited to provide train borne entertainment,  Rail Bandhu Mazagine  will be provided in all reserved coaches in all regional languages.

Referring to the financial performance of 2015-16  the Railway Minister said Stringent economy and austerity measures adopted to contain the Ordinary Working Expenses (O.W.E.) due to whichbudgeted OWE  of Rs 1,19,410 crore decreased in the Revised Estimates 2015-16 to Rs. 1,10,690 crore i.e. by Rs 8,720 crore. BE provided for an appropriation of Rs. 34,900 crore to the Pension Fund. However, based on trend, the pension outgo moderately decreased to Rs. 34,500 crore in RE. Internal resource generation diminished and appropriation to DRF moderated to Rs. 5,500 crore in RE from the BE 2015-16 provisioning of Rs. 7,900 crore.  Excess of receipts over expenditure in RE 2015-16 stands at Rs. 11,402.40 crore.  Plan size for 2015-16 is currently estimated at 1,00,000 crore i.e. the BE level.

Regarding Budget Estimates 2016-17 the Minister informed that the Gross Traffic Receipts are  kept at Rs 1,84,820 crore . Passenger earnings growth has been pegged at 12.4 % and earnings target budgeted at Rs. 51,012 crore. The freight traffic is pegged at incremental traffic of 50 million tonnes, anticipating a healthier growth in the core sector of economy. Goods earnings is accordingly proposed at Rs. 1, 17,933 crore. Other coaching and sundries projected at Rs. 6,185 crore and Rs. 9,590.3 crore respectively. OWE provides for the implementation of the 7th CPC.Pension outgo budgeted at Rs 45,500 crore in 2016-17.  Higher staff cost and pension liability impacts the internal resource position of the Railways. Accordingly, appropriation to DRF from revenue placed at Rs 3,200 crore and that from Production Units at Rs 200 crore. A withdrawal of Rs 3,160 crore from DRF on net basis proposed though the gross expenditure to be met from DRF in the Annual Plan estimated at Rs 7,160 crore. Rs 5,750 crore proposed to be appropriated to the Capital fund. With a draw-down of Rs 1,250 crore from previous balances in the fund, plan requirement of Rs 7,000 crore for repayment of principal component of lease charges to IRFC have been met.  Railways are preparing a Plan size of Rs. 1,21,000 crore in 2016-17, the Minister added.

Source Ministry of Railways 25-February, 2016


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