Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced high speed corridors and faster trains to drastically reduce intercity travel time.
“We are improving train speed in nine corridors from the existing 110 and 130 km to 160 and 200 km respectively so that inter-metro journey can be completed overnight,” Mr Prabhu said in his railway budget speech.
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project has been delayed over objections from authorities in Mumbai on land for the corridor.
Mr Prabhu has not increased passenger fares and announced no new trains in his first ever railway budget speech.
Missed the presentation of this year’s Railway Budget? Here’s a quick recap of all major announcements made by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
The key themes of the Budget were in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s initiatives – Swachch Bharat Mission, Make in India and Digital India.
1 The most-expected part about this year’s Railway Budget – there is no increase in passsenger rail fares.
2 Rs.8.5 lakh crore will be invested in Railways in next 5 years.
3 ‘Operation 5 mins’, wherein passengers travellling unreserved can purchase a ticket in 5 minutes.
4 Bio toilets and airplane-type vaccum toilets in trains.
5 Surveillance cameras in select coaches and ladies compartments for women’s safety without compromising on privacy.
6 Rail tickets can now be booked 120 days in advance.
7 Speed on nine railway corridors to go up to 200 km per hour.
8 Wi-Fi in more stations, mobile phone charging facilities in all train compartments.
9 Facility of online booking of wheelchair for senior citizens.
10 Satellite railway terminals in major cities.
11 Centrally managed Rail Display Network is expected to be introduced in over 2K stations over the next 2 years.
12 All india 24/7 helpline – 138 from March 2015 ; Toll free No.182 for security.
13 917 road under-bridges and over-bridges to be constructed to replace 3,438 railway crossings; at a cost of Rs. 6,581 crore.
14 Four Railway Research Centres to start in four universities.
15 Details about new trains and increased frequency will be announced later in this session of Parliament after review.
What is the investment plan?
The Railway Budget envisages an investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in next five years.
How is it going to be mobilized?
The Minister suggested that the money could be raised from multiple sources – from multilateral development banks to pension funds.
What is the action plan in the sphere fund raising?
Go in for partnership with key stakeholders – States, PSUs, partner with multilateral and bi-lateral organizations other governments to gain access to long-term financing. Also, get technology from overseas. The private sector could be roped in to improve last-mile connectivity, expand fleet of rolling stock and modernize station infrastructure.
What is the thrust?
The thrust will be on revamping management practices, systems, processes, and re-tooling of human resources.
What is the proposal on capacity augmentation?
1. De-congesting networks with basket of traffic-generating projects will be the priority
2. Priority to last-mile connectivity projects
3. Fast-track sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines
4. Commissioning 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8,686 crore, 84% higher Y-O-Y.
5. Commissioning 800 km of gauge conversion targeted in current fiscal.
6. 77 projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with electrification, covering almost all States, at a cost of Rs. 96,182 crore, which is over 2700% higher in terms of amount sanctioned.
7. Traffic facility work is a top priority with an outlay of Rs. 2374 crore .
8. Award of 750 km of civil contracts and 1300 km of system contracts in 2015-16 on Dedicated
9. Freight Corridor (DFC); 55 km section of Eastern DFC to be completed in the current year.
10. Preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey (PETS) for four other DFCs in progress.
11. Acceleration of pace of Railway electrification: 6,608 route kilometers sanctioned for 2015-16 ,an increase of 1330% over the previous year.