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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Railway Budget 2015 by Modi Government - Key 30 Highlights


Railways is an important asset in growing India's economy to next level. Every year we wait to hear Rail Budget and what it has in store for the countrymen. While every Government's focus is towards security, safety & cleanliness in railways but we hardly see anything change on ground. One reason is because the VVIP hardly travel in trains and secondly there are very limited Audits to traveller grievances.

Getting to know about Railway Budget 2015

With the new Govt. in power in India, the expectations are sky rocketed. We believe three major issues that railways need to address on priority: Safety - Cleanliness Punctuality.

Railway has a very poor track records in all these departments which forms the very basic framework of railways services. Reasons like lack of funds etc. are unacceptable. Its all about setting right processes in place and replacing incompetent workforce by more smart folks.

KEY 30 Excerpts from Railway Budget 2015

1. No increase in passenger fares

2. 67% more funds allotted for passenger amenities

3. 17000 more toilets to be replaced by Bio-Toilets

4. State of the art perishable cargo center under completion for farmers

5. Now you can book rail tickets 4 months ( 120 days) in advance against current 60 days

6. All India 24 X 7 helpline 138 from 1/3/15 ; Toll free No.182 – for security complaints

7. SMS alert on mobile, customer portal promoting digital India campaign - Rly display network

8. SMS alert service to inform about the upgraded arrival & departure timing

9. Unreserved ticket purchase made simpler through smart phones; debit cards - OPN 5 Min

10. Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies compartments

11. Modern facilities for disabled citizens, senior citizens, patients through IRCTC

12. Online booking of wheelchairs to be available for the elderly

13. Satellite railway terminals in major cities - 10 select stations

14. 24 to 26 coaches in certain identified trains, more general class coaches, ladders to be replaced

15. 120 crore provided for lifts and escalators to facilitate movements

16. Fast track highest priority works. Investment 84% higher; 77 new projects -Doubling, tripling/quadrupling/ electrification

17. 1330% increase in railway electrification over previous year.

18. Newly manufactured coaches will be Braille enabled & have wider entrances for differently-abled  passengers

19. Station to be redeveloped through simpler processes - faster redevelopment. Monitoring cell constituted

20. TRANSLOC – new PSU – end to end logistics solution

21. The average speed of freight trains both in empty and filled condition will be enhanced

22. Plan to double and triple railway tracks over 7000 km, 686 cr over the next year for the project

23. Automatic freight rebate system launched and to be expanded

24. Corporate safety Plans; ISRO to be involved; 3438 level Xings to be eliminated, Rly expense increased by 2600 %

25. Malaviya Chair at IIT/BHU for Railway technology

26. 970 of road over bridges will be built over unmanned railway crossings

27. Framework to facilitate pvt investment has been readied; MUTP-III, JV with states,PSUs

28. We propose to get a system audit conducted for all Railways in next 2 months

29. 1000MV Solar plants to be set-up by developers on Rly/Pvt. Land and on Rly Building at own cost

30. To expand water vending machines to most railway stations to ensure availability of clean drinking water at very low cost to people

General Observation & Verdict

Good budget with no increase in fares but how much will it be delivered is the question. We are deeply disappointed by booking window extended upto 4 months instead of 2 months. Now if somebody have to travel with a month notice will never find a booking and will have to rely on Tatkal. This is very narrow approach by the Govt. Overall we would rate this budget at 2.5 out of 5.

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